Fort Myers, Florida – Overcoming adversity has the ability to will athletes to the finish line. For the first time all week, Tom Hess rolled back-to-back games under 200, during the four-game Advancers Round at the 2024 PBA50 Fort Myers Classic, to see his 97-pin lead in the tournament completely evaporate.   

He admits he didn’t execute very well as he fell out of the top seed for the first time after 16 games at Lightning Strikes Bowl. Now behind John Janawicz, Hess roared back with a great ball change and a 297 game to close his deficit. He then beat Janawicz to get back on top by just nine pins.

“Old Tom Hess would have gotten upset and really let that bug him,” Hess admitted. “I just kept fighting and fighting and I was able to overcome. It was a big confidence boost to get back to that No. 1 seed.”

After winning his match play rounds over Bill Rowe and Christopher Keane, he remained No. 1 in the stepladder finals. In the championship match against Brad Angelo, Hess started off with a 7-10 split, changed balls and confidently went on to earn the 227-192 win, defending his title as well. He watched the players in front of him use balls with a lot of surface, while also playing further right of where he wanted to play throughout the stepladder. He knew that would make the championship pair better for him.

“Brad had an early double, but then never really got anything going,” Hess said. “It was a good win.”

This is Hess's seventh career PBA50 title, and second win out of four tournaments this year. His successful season began immediately after his induction into the PBA Hall of Fame.

“After that induction speech, everything just felt different. I’m one of the Hall of Famers to beat every week,” he said. “I’ve said it all the time, this is a Hall of Fame Tour and there’s not very many stepladders that don’t have a Hall of Famer or two on it. It’s just great to be part of the club.”

In the opening match of the stepladder finals, Janawicz defeated James Campbell 236-190. Paul Koehler beat Janawicz 227-193 then Angelo topped Koehler 230-202 in the semifinals. Next up, the PBA50 Tour heads to Clearwater, Florida for the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open that begins on Monday only on BowlTV.


Match 1: John Janawicz def. James Campbell, 236-190
Match 2: Paul Koehler def. John Janawicz, 227-193
Match 3: Brad Angelo def. Paul Koehler, 230-202
Championship match: Tom Hess def. Brad Angelo, 227-192


  1. Tom Hess, $8,000
  2. Brad Angelo, $4,000
  3. Paul Koehler, $3,200
  4. John Janawicz, $2,600
  5. James Campbell, $2,200

Final standings - PBA50 Fort Myers Classic

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