Darren Tang Earns Top Seed for PBA Hall of Fame Classic Finals; Jones Earns No. 2 Seed in Same Weekend of Hall of Fame Induction

by Jerry Schneider  |  Friday, January 17, 8:36 PM

Darren Tang Earns Top Seed for PBA Hall of Fame Classic Finals; Jones Earns No. 2 Seed in Same Weekend of Hall of Fame Induction

ARLINGTON, Texas  – Darren Tang of Las Vegas rode a 10-4 match play record, including two match wins with 300 games Friday, on his way to earning the top seed for Sunday’s live FS1 finals telecast of the PBA Hall of Fame Classic, the first tournament of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season.

The 26-year-old Tang, who is trying for his first PBA Tour title, beat reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte 300-191 in the second match of the final match play round and Anthony Lavery-Spahr 300-247 in the sixth match. A 246-202 win over Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona in the position round match vaulted him to the top spot with a 6,299 26-game pinfall total including bonus pins. As the top seed, he will only have to win one match on Sunday’s telecast from the International Training and Research Center which gets underway at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT).

“I didn’t let the bad games get me discouraged,” said Tang, who owns two PBA Tour runner-up finishes. “I just stayed focused, stuck to my process and didn’t think about what else was going on around me. I’ve always been a believer that anything’s possible in this game and when it’s your day, it’s your day.”

In what is turning out to be a dream weekend for Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, who will be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame Saturday, the former PBA Player of the Year and 19-time PBA Tour winner, qualified for the 14th and final match play position Thursday, but posted an 11-3 record Friday, that included a 300-240 win over Ryan Ciminelli in Friday’s first match play round, to earn the No. 2 seed. He finished 15 pins behind Tang with a 6,284 pinfall.

“This has made a special weekend even more special, but what’s offsetting that is I can’t help thinking about a lot of single pin spares I missed in the tournament,” the 41-year-old right-hander said. “With all the excitement of this weekend I’m trying to approach everything the same as I would for any other tournament. For the most part I’ve been successful doing that but I’ll need to make sure that something like missing easy spares doesn’t ruin the party.”

Three other players have made a TV final in the same weekend that they were inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame: Earl Anthony in 1981, Mike Durbin, who won his third PBA Tournament of Champions in 1984, and Mark Roth in 1987.

Five-time PBA Tour winner Osku Palermaa of Finland will be trying for his first title since the 2015 World Open in Tokyo and his first win on TV since the 2011 PBA World Championship. The 36-year-old two-hander entered match play in 11th and despite a 7-7 record in match play was still able to climb to the No. 3 seed finishing with a 6,264 pinfall.

Sunday’s stepladder will begin with Butturff, who earned the No. 4 seed taking on No. 5 seed hometown favorite PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas.

The 25-year-old Butturff, a seven-time tour winner who finished second in the 2019 Hall of Fame Classic, finished the day with an 8-6 match play record and 6,237 pinfall while the 49-year-old Barnes, also a 19-time tour winner, went 8-6 in match play and finished with a 6,198 pinfall to take the final stepladder slot.

PBA HALL OF FAME CLASSIC

(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour event)

International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas, Friday

Final Match Play Standings

(after 26 games, including match play record, total pinfall including bonus pins and money earned. Top five players advance to Sunday’s live finals on FS1 at 1 p.m. ET)

1, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 10-4, 6,299.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 11-3, 6,284.
3, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 7-7, 6,264.
4, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 8-6, 6,237.
5, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 8-6, 6,198.
6, Ryan Ciminelli, Lancaster, S.C., 8-6, 6,154, $4,800.
7, Patrick Hanrahan, Wichita, Kan., 7-7, 6,127, $4,400.
8, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 6-8, 6,061, $4,100.
9, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 4-9-1, 5,980, $3,800.
10, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 6-8, 5,975, $3,600.
11, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 5-9, 5,921, $3,400.
12, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3-10-1, 5,853, $3,200.
13, Patrick Girard, Canada, 5-9, 5,834, $3,100.
14, x-Tom Hess, Granger, Iowa, 3-1, 5,626, $2,750.
15, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 7-4, 5,206, $2,750.

x-Tom Hess replaced Norm Duke who withdrew because of injury after third match in the final round

300 games – Darren Tang (2), Osku Palermaa

Third Round Standings

(after 19 games. Including match play record, total pinfall including bonus pins. All players advance to final match play round)

1, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 4-3, 4,525.
2, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 5-2, 4,477.
3, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 4-3, 4,471.
4, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 4-3, 4,466.
5, Ryan Ciminelli, Lancaster, S.C., 4-3, 4,465.
6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 4-3, 4,438.
7, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 4-3, 4,432.
8, Patrick Hanrahan, Wichita, Kan., 3-4, 4,375.
9, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 2-4-1, 4,327.
10, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 5-2, 4,320.
11, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 2-5, 4,315.
12, Patrick Girard, Canada, 3-4, 4,300.
13, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3-4, 4,292.
14, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1-5-1, 4,257.

300 games – Tommy Jones