Five finalists own a combined 89 PBA Tour titles, 28 major championships and 10 Player of the Year awards

Top-seeded Anthony Simonsen will make the sixth U.S. Open championship round appearance of his young career on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

Sitting one game away from an unprecedented sixth major title, the 27-year-old’s opponent will be one of four future PBA Hall of Famers.

The 2024 U.S. Open presented by GoBowling finals — perhaps the most loaded championship round in PBA history — will feature Simonsen, Jason Belmonte, Kyle Troup, defending champion EJ Tackett and Bill O’Neill.

The five players own a combined 89 PBA Tour titles and 28 major championships. They’ve won 10 of the past 11 PBA Player of the Year awards. Since 2015, Simonsen’s first year on tour, the quintet have a combined 73 top-five finishes in major championships.

“I'm willing to bet this is going to be the most stacked show I've ever bowled on and will ever bowl on,” Simonsen said.

With a total pinfall of 12,848 (+1,648), Simonsen led the field at Indianapolis' Royal Pin Woodland through 56 games of qualifying and match play by 221 pins.

Simonsen has made the show in five consecutive U.S. Open appearances. He finished fourth last year, first in 2022, second in 2020 and third in 2019. He did not bowl in the 2021 event.

In his nine U.S. Open appearances, Simonsen has finished lower than eighth place once.

“History tells us that this event is pretty brutal,” Simonsen said. “Knowing that there are 56 games, it’s a long grind. It’s easy to give away pins in a hurry. I really just try to plug along, not do any silly stuff and give away pins. I think it's easy for me to understand that and get into that mindset.”

When Belmonte completed his first Super Slam by winning the 2020 U.S. Open, he was the No. 2 seed and defeated top-seeded Simonsen in the title match.

“Part of me feels like there’s a little deja vu happening here,” Belmonte said on Groundhog's Day. “Hopefully, come that first match on Sunday, I'm able to see the lane right, use the right ball and execute really well. I'd love to set up another match with Anthony.”

With a win on Sunday, Belmonte would become the first player to win each PBA major championship twice. The 40-year-old owns four PBA Tournament of Champions and USBC Masters titles and three PBA World Championship and PBA Players Championship titles.

After finishing 70th in last year’s U.S. Open, which was contested on the same oil patterns as the same center, Belmonte said he felt a lot sharper this week than last year.

“Last year, I was really tired from flying in the day before and I had a little less practice going into this tournament than I would have liked to,” Belmonte said. “This year, I had a good week and a half being over here in the U.S., getting my feet underneath me and bowling the Players Championship.”

Unlike Belmonte, Troup displayed the best performance of his career at last year's U.S. Open, finishing second to Tackett. After failing to make the 24-player match play round in his first eight U.S. Open appearances, Troup advances to his second consecutive championship round at the event.

“I'm very proud of myself. I can remember for about six years straight that I bowled this tournament, I never got within 200 pins,” Troup said. “I always think I belong out here, but after a rough first week in Wichita to come back here and keep up with the scoring pace of the top five, there are a lot of positives and confidence moving forward into Sunday.”

Despite winning four matches en route to reaching last year’s title match, Troup said there isn’t much to glean from his experience.

“I feel like every TV show is its own tournament, its own show,” Troup said. “I’m not really going to take too much from last year, other than to make my spares because I missed one in the title match.”

Tackett, the defending champion, will make his fourth career and third consecutive U.S. Open championship round.

“It definitely was way more difficult for me this year,” Tackett said. “I didn't have the free-will striking ability this week like I did the last two years. Two years ago, I led by a bunch and it was tough. Last year, I barely led and it was tougher. And this year, I was barely on the show with a game to go. The U.S. Open is always a grind no matter how you bowl. It’s exhausting.”

Tackett had all the motivation in the world when he won last year’s U.S. Open to complete the Triple Crown, win a PBA Tour title in his home state, and avenge his 2022 title match loss. He feels the same level of drive entering Sunday’s finals as he looks to become the first repeat U.S. Open champion since Dave Husted in 1996.

“This year, it's like trying to prove to everyone that last year wasn't a fluke,” Tackett said. "Even though I've won so many times, I always feel like I need to prove to myself that it didn't happen by accident.”

Tackett will face O’Neill in the opening match of Sunday’s stepladder finals. O’Neill staved off David “Boog” Krol’s late charge to hold onto the final spot on the show.

“Luckily for me, we only played eight games tonight. Boog (Krol) just ran out of games,” O’Neill said. “I didn’t quite have it tonight. I didn’t see the lanes right and just played them really poorly. I got fortunate in that I had built up enough of a cushion to where I could have a block like that and still hang on.”

When O’Neill ended qualifying with a score +14, he thought he would be heading home. After sneaking into the cut by four pins, O’Neill surged into his third consecutive major telecast dating back to last season’s PBA Players Championship.

“Normally for me, when I sneak into cuts like that, it's because I'm not bowling well. And then I get into the cut and it stays not going well," O'Neill said. "Sometimes when I get in a little bit of a rut, I need a couple of days off to practice to get out of it. (But this time), I just showed up the next day and things just fell into place. I saw the lanes really well for three consecutive blocks and that really propelled me up the leaderboard.”

O’Neill, who won the season-opening PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers, will look to become the first player to win back-to-back majors since Belmonte in 2020 and the fourth active, full-time player to win four or more major titles.

The prelude to the historic U.S. Open finals will be Round 2 of the PBA Elite League presented by Snickers, featuring the Waco Wonders vs. Motown Muscle; Portland Lumberjacks vs. New Jersey KingPins. The matches will air at 4 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

More information on the 2024 U.S. Open is available here.

Match Play Standings

  1. Anthony Simonsen, 12,848 (+1,648)
  2. Jason Belmonte, 12,627 (+1,427)
  3. Kyle Troup, 12,410 (+1,210)
  4. EJ Tackett, 12,402 (+1,202)
  5. Bill O’Neill, 12,310 (+1,110)
  6. David Krol, 12,270 (+1,070)
  7. Dom Barrett, 12,172 (+972)
  8. Trevor Roberts, 12,096 (+896)
  9. Marshall Kent, 12,048 (+848)
  10. Sam Cooley, 12,038 (+838)

Full standings are available here.

U.S. Open Schedule

Royal Pin Woodland | Indianapolis, IN

All times Eastern

Saturday, Feb. 3
4 p.m. — PBA Elite League Round 2 Matches — Tickets

Waco Wonders vs. Motown Muscle; Portland Lumberjacks vs. New Jersey KingPins

Sunday, Feb. 4

3:30 p.m. — U.S. Open Finals — Sold out


A post shared by PBA TOUR (@pbatour)