After the first two rounds of the season-opening PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers, PBA Hall of Famer Tommy Jones sits in the pole position.

Jones averaged nearly 245 to lead the 88-player field through 12 games at Bowlero Northrock in Wichita, Kan. Jones shot 1,412 and 1,523 in the first and second six-game rounds, respectively, for a total of 2,935 (+535).

Jones said he made an adjustment to his urethane ball to be more aggressive during the second round.

“I played a little safer this morning than I probably should have. Once you learn and realize that everybody’s able to score, you know it’s out there and you’ve got to figure it out,” Jones said. “During practice yesterday, it just didn’t seem like (balls) would consistently hook off that spot to the right and they did today. I don’t know if that was because some guys put more surface on their ball and broke the lanes down a bit more today. There’s a lot of different variables, like what time they oiled the lanes and the temperature, so it is what it is.”

Tom Smallwood, Graham Fach, BJ Moore and Kris Prather round out the top five. Moore, despite missing the practice session due to weather-related travel issues, led the opening round of qualifying with 1,566.

“I may never come to a practice session again if it continues like this,” Moore said. “I had an idea of what I was going to do before walking in here. That’s what I try to do before every event, make a gameplan and hope it works out. Fortunately, this time it did work out.”

Much like Jones, Moore also opted to play it safe with urethane to start. However, Moore’s cautiousness earned him games of 268, 268 and 288. As transition hit, Moore said he switched to a bigger ball, which was not how he had played the 38-foot Wayne Webb pattern in the past.

“I really never liked throwing the bigger pieces on this pattern,” Moore said. “In the past, I was able to stay in IQ Tours and symmetric balls pretty much the whole time. But I saw the urethane balls looked pretty good and there was plenty of launch angle through the fronts, so I was able to use a bigger ball.”

While Moore said he had never bowled at Bowlero Northrock before this event, Ryan Barnes boasts four years worth of Northrock experience and said he has notes on almost every pair in the 48-lane center. The Wichita State senior sits in sixth place at +471.

“I have a lot of comfortability, especially pair to pair. It’s a little bit of an unfair advantage,” joked Barnes, the son of PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes.

Ryan is one of four current members of the Wichita State defending national championship-winning collegiate team who earned a commissioner’s exemption to compete in the pre-tournament qualifier. Barnes, along with teammates TJ Rock, Spencer Robarge and Brandon Bonta, all advanced through the PTQ.

Through 12 games, Barnes, Rock and Bonta are each inside the cut. Rock (+408) sits in 13th place with Bonta (+402) just behind him in 15th.

"It’s pretty awesome. I’m super, super excited to get out and bowl tomorrow,” Barnes said. “I’m just going to try and take it one shot at a time and try not to let the pros intimidate me too much. I’m sure for me (the intimidation) is a bit less than most guys, but I still look up to them and have watched them my whole life.”

After two more six-game rounds on Thursday, the field will be trimmed to the top 24 players for round-robin match play.

The 2023 top qualifier and PBA Player of the Year, EJ Tackett, sits just inside the current cut at +377. Sam Cooley is in 24th place at +365, holding a slight advantage over the active major title leaders Jason Belmonte (+354) and Anthony Simonsen (+353).

Defending champion Kevin McCune is in 64th place at +204.

Qualifying resumes at 11 a.m. Eastern Thursday. All rounds of qualifying and match play will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

Tickets for Monday’s televised finals, which includes entry to the PBA Jr. National Championship finals, are available here.

Leaders after Round 2

  1. Tommy Jones, 2,935 (+535)
  2. Tom Smallwood, 2,892 (+492)
  3. Graham Fach, 2,886 (+486)
  4. BJ Moore, 2,883 (+483)
  5. Kris Prather, 2,873 (+473)
  6. Ryan Barnes, 2,871 (+471)
  7. Tim Gruendler, 2,867 (+467)
  8. Frank Snodgrass, 2,860 (+460)
  9. Packy Hanrahan, 2,845 (+445)
  10. Bill O’Neill, 2,840 (+440)
  11. Mitch Hupé, 2,840 (+440)

Full standings are available here.

PBA Players Championship Schedule

All times Eastern

Bowlero Northrock | Wichita, Kan.

Thursday, Jan. 11
11 a.m. — Qualifying Round 3 (six games)
7 p.m. — Qualifying Round 4 (six games)
Cut to top 24 for round-robin match play

Friday, Jan. 12
11 a.m. — Match Play Round 1 (eight games)
7 p.m. — Match Play Round 2 (eight games)

Saturday, Jan. 13
11 a.m. — Match Play Round 3 (eight games)
Cut to top five for stepladder finals

Monday, Jan. 15
5 p.m. — Stepladder finals