Third title event of 2024 season heads to Bowlero Mt. Prospect

Less than 24 hours after donning the elusive green jacket, Kyle Troup wore a blue-and-purple uniform as he prepared to chase another PBA Tour title at the PBA Illinois Classic.

With 12 titles and two majors to his name, plus a record-setting Player of the Year campaign in 2021, Troup’s brilliance demands to be included among the top tier of players.

The 32-year-old looks as driven, focused and committed as ever — a terrifying proposition for the rest of the tour.


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After the 48- and 56-game marathons of the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers and the U.S. Open presented by GoBowling, this week’s PBA Illinois Classic could see parity play a more prominent role. The tournament features 18 games of qualifying and elimination, best-of-seven-games match play.

The elimination match play format was last used during the three standard title events of 2022’s World Series of Bowling XIII.

Two players brought home their first career singles titles — Kyle Sherman defeated Cristian Azcona for the Cheetah Championship, while Keven Williams bested AJ Chapman in the Shark Championship — and two heavyweights battled in the third title match as Jason Belmonte took down Anthony Simonsen in the Scorpion Championship.


Only eight players have made match play in both events this season: Bill O’Neill, Jason Belmonte, EJ Tackett, Tom Smallwood, Graham Fach, Justin Knowles, Zach Wilkins and David Krol. All eight will be in the field again this week as Krol advanced through Monday’s pre-tournament qualifier.

O’Neill, the only player to make both championship rounds, is off to the probably-too-early-to-even-say-it lead in the Player of the Year race. The 42-year-old has been on a tear since switching back to 15-pound equipment last season, posting eight consecutive top-20 finishes and five straight top-eight finishes, which includes four major championships.

Among the players who’d like to turn their season around this week are PBA Tour champions Tommy Jones, AJ Johnson, Jakob Butturff, François Lavoie and Matt Ogle, who have yet to make match play this season.

Players to Watch

Plenty of players call the greater Chicago-land area home these days, including Johnson, Kris Prather and Sean Rash.

Rash had more than a dozen family and friends in attendance for Monday’s PBA Elite League presented by Snickers matches. He won a title the last time the PBA came to town, winning the FloBowling PBA Summer Swing Wolf Open. Simonsen and Jason Sterner also won titles that week.

Marshall Kent spent his early 20s ravaging college bowling at downtown Chicago’s Robert Morris University (IL). Kevin McCune of Munster, Ind., which lies just east of the Illinois-Indiana border, won the 2023 PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers in a Chicago Cubs-inspired jersey.

Detroit natives, like Smallwood, Knowles and Andrew Anderson, could benefit from finally eating quality pizza this week, or they could struggle as the deep-dish delicacy overwhelms their starved taste buds. Only time will tell.


Competition begins on Tuesday with two six-game qualifying rounds on the 39-foot Don Carter oil pattern. Following a third six-game qualifying round on Wednesday morning, the top 24 players will advance to elimination match play. The top eight players will receive a one-round bye.

All matches will be the best of seven games. The four winners following Thursday’s Round of 8, plus the highest-eliminated player during that round, will advance to the championship round.

The PBA Illinois Classic finals will be held Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. local (8 p.m. ET) on FS1. Tickets are available here.

All qualifying and match play rounds will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

More information on the PBA Illinois Classic is available here.

PBA Illinois Classic Schedule

Bowlero Mt. Prospect | Mt. Prospect, IL

All times Eastern

Tuesday, Feb. 6
11 a.m. — Qualifying Round 1 (six games)
7 p.m. — Qualifying Round 2 (six games)

Wednesday, Feb. 7
11 a.m. — Qualifying Round 3 (six games)
Cut to top 24 players for elimination match play
7 p.m. — Round of 24 (best-of-seven-games matches)

Thursday, Feb. 8
11 a.m. — Round of 16 (best-of-seven-games matches)
7 p.m. — Round of 8 (best-of-seven-games matches)

Four winners plus highest-eliminated qualifier in Round of 8 advance to championship round

Saturday, Feb. 10
8 p.m. — PBA Illinois Classic finals