Jason Sterner leads the PBA Pete Weber Missouri Classic through two rounds of qualifying in large part due to his spare shooting. Sterner has achieved a total pinfall of 2,794 (+394) through 12 games on the 45-foot Dragon pattern at Enterprise Park Lanes in Springfield, Mo.

On Valentine’s Day, Sterner discovered a newfound love for the spare game. Before this week’s tournament, the fourth title event of the 2024 season, Sterner recalibrated his spare-shooting angles.

“I found some things in my own spare game that I needed to adjust and got to apply this week and, so far, I’m almost 100% on splits,” Sterner said. “To me, that's huge. I just want to improve the little things that I can make better. I’m making better decisions, doing things strategically that allow me to be where I need to be and comfortable. So all in all, I feel pretty good with the direction we're going.”

Sterner came out firing to start the evening round, shooting 269 and 267 his first two games. His plan was to play farther right and straighter than most players on the longer pattern.

“The field usually goes left when they don't feel hold or they feel (the pattern) is too flat,” Sterner said. “With my ball roll, it lets me use that to my advantage versus being kicked out to the left. I didn't know if I could commit to it, but I definitely wanted to see it through the first block and I felt like it was there. Tonight, that's what I did to the fullest and it paid off tremendously.”

Graham Fach, EJ Tackett, Jesper Svensson and Zach Wilkins round out the top five. 

Wilkins, sitting eighth on the PBA Tour points list through three events, is in the midst of a potential breakout season. He said he committed to bowling year-round in January 2021 and the long-time Canadian national team player added the one thing missing on this résumé is a PBA Tour title.

With the top 43 players earning exemptions for the 2025 PBA Tour, Wilkins has his sights on securing an exempt spot before the season finale at the PBA Tournament of Champions.

“I’m focused on getting as many points as possible because I know the last event is the TOC," said Wilkins, who is not eligible to compete in the TOC until he wins a PBA Tour or PBA Regional Tour title. "I need to be well in the top 43 to even have a chance because so many people can pass me because they're all champions.”

One six-game qualifying round remains before the field is trimmed to the top 32 players.

Then three six-game elimination rounds, with cuts to the top 24, 12 and five after each respective round — will determine the five players advancing to Sunday’s stepladder finals.

The current cut is Tom Smallwood at +131, a 210.92 per game pace.

The third round of qualifying begins at 10 a.m. Central (11 a.m. Eastern) time on Thursday.

All qualifying and elimination rounds will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

Leaders after Round 2

  1. Jason Sterner, 2,794 (+394)
  2. Graham Fach, 2,785 (+385)
  3. EJ Tackett, 2,727 (+327)
  4. Jesper Svensson, 2,717 (+317)
  5. Zach Wilkins, 2,710 (+310)
  6. Kim Bolleby, 2,708 (+308)
  7. Anthony Simonsen, 2,695 (+295)
  8. DJ Archer, 2,694 (+294)
  9. BJ Moore, 2,688 (+288)
  10. Jakob Butturff, 2,672 (+272)

Full standings are available here.

PBA Pete Weber Missouri Classic Schedule

Enterprise Park Lanes | Springfield, MO

All times Central

Thursday, Feb. 15
10 a.m. — Qualifying Round 3 (six games)
Cut to top 32 players; pins carry over
6 p.m. — Elimination Round 1 (six games)
Cut to top 24 players; pins carry over

Friday, Feb. 16
10 a.m. — Elimination Round 2 (six games)
Cut to top 12 players; pins carry over
6 p.m. — Elimination Round 3 (six games)
Top five players advance to championship round

Sunday, Feb. 18
12 p.m. (1 p.m. ET) — PBA Pete Weber Missouri Classic stepladder finals


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