EJ Tackett Wins His Second Barbasol PBA Tour Finals for 13th Career Go Bowling! PBA Tour Title
by Jerry Schneider | Sunday, July 21, 8:03 PM
LAS VEGAS – EJ Tackett defeated Jakob Butturff 2-1 in the “race-to-2 points” format title match to win his second Barbasol PBA Tour Finals presented by Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa title in three years for his 13th career Go Bowling! PBA Tour title Sunday. The title match wrapped up nine hours of CBS Sports Network live coverage of the tournament over two days at Red Rock Lanes.
The 25-year-old Butturff, who was trying for his fourth win of the season, got off to the early lead with a 247-225 win in the first game of the title match but Tackett, the 2016 PBA Player of the Year, rebounded in game two winning 238-220 to force a 9th and 10th frame roll-off for the deciding point.
In the roll-off, Butturff started with a spare after leaving a 7 pin and Tackett with a strike in the ninth frame but on his first ball in the 10th frame, Butturff left the 4-6-10 split which opened the door for Tackett. Tackett took advantage of the opportunity by striking on his first ball in the 10th to clinch the roll-off win 45-26.
“As well as Jakob has been bowling you certainly don’t expect him to throw a bad shot in that situation,” said Tackett, who also won his first title of the 2019 season. “At that point it was up to me not to do anything stupid in the 10th frame and stay behind the (foul) line.
“Winning big tournaments in the 10th frame like this against the all-time greats is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” Tackett added. “I’ve built up a lot of confidence because of my experience in these situations and today it paid off.”
Tackett, making his third consecutive PBA50 Tour Finals title match appearance, won the inaugural PBA Tour Finals in 2017 against four-time PBA Player of the Year two-hander Jason Belmonte of Australia but Belmonte came back to beat Tackett in 2018.
The PBA Tour Finals featured the top eight Go Bowling! PBA Tour players in points during the past two seasons ending with the 2019 USBC Masters in April. The eight finalists were split into to two four-player groups with competition consisting of two rounds of total pinfall positioning rounds Saturday followed by Sunday’s semifinal stepladder round for each group. The winner of each semifinal stepladder advanced to the title match. The final match of each stepladder also used the race-to-2-points format.
“It’s almost like winning a major which makes it very rewarding to win,” said Tackett, who also owns two major titles. “You’re bowling against eight of the top players on tour not just over a regular season but for nearly two seasons. If you’re bowling well and you’re making the right decisions, in a way it doesn’t necessarily have to be especially difficult to win because you’re only bowling against seven other players, but on the other hand it can be very hard to win because of the talent that makes it here.
In the Group 1 semifinal stepladder round, Tackett advanced to the championship match by beating 10-time tour winner Bill O’Neill 2-0 in the race-to-2 points final match, winning the first game 265-237 and the second game 210-198.
Butturff advanced to the title match by beating two-hander six-time tour winner Anthony Simonsen in the Group 2 stepladder final 2-1. Butturff won the first game 249-157 but Simonsen came back in game 2, winning 259-234 to force the 9th and 10th frame roll-off which was won by Butturff, 39-38.
In the Group 1 semifinal opening stepladder match Kris Prather, trying for his second tour title, defeated Belmonte, trying for his 23rd tour title, 254-248, to meet Tackett in the second match. Tackett then beat Prather, who won the 2019 Scorpion Championship for his first tour win, 237-224, in the second match to face O’Neill in the Group 1 final.
In the Group 2 opening stepladder match four-time tour winner Marshall Kent beat 2018 PBA Player of the Andrew Anderson 224-189 to advance to the second match against six-time tour winner Anthony Simonsen. Simonsen beat Kent in the second match 246-214 to advance to the Group 2 final against Butturff.
The eight players earned their positions in the stepladder semifinal rounds in four-game qualifying rounds bowled on Saturday.
BARBASOL PBA TOUR FINALS
Presented by Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, Sunday
Group 1 Stepladder Results
Match One – Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill. def. Jason, Belmonte, Australia ($3,000), 254-248.
Match Two – EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind. def. Prather ($3,000), 237-224.
Final Match (race-to-2-points format) – Tackett def. Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., ($7,500), 2-0
Game 1 – Tackett def. O’Neill, 265-237
Game 2 – Tackett def. O’Neill, 210-198
Tackett advanced to championship match against Jakob Butturff.
Group 2 Stepladder Results
Match One – Marshall Kent, Yakima Wash. def. Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich. ($3,000), 224-189.
Match Two – Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas def. Kent ($3,000), 246-214.
Final Match (race-to-2 points format) – Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz. def. Simonsen ($7,500), 2-1
Game 1 – Butturff def. Simonsen, 249-157
Game 2 – Simonsen def. Butturff, 259-234
Butturff won 9th and 10th frame roll-off 39-38 to advance to championship match against EJ Tackett
Championship Match (race-to-2 points format)
EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind. ($30,000) def. Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz. ($18,000), 2-1
Game 1 – Butturff def. Tackett, 247-225
Game 2 – Tackett def. Butturff, 238-220
Tackett won 9th and 10th frame roll-off 45-26.