Jakob Butturff Holds Off Jason Belmonte to Earn Top Berth for Sunday’s PBA Hall of Fame Classic Finals

by Bill Vint  |  Saturday, January 05, 10:39 AM

Jakob Butturff Holds Off Jason Belmonte to Earn Top Berth for Sunday’s PBA Hall of Fame Classic Finals

ARLINGTON, Texas – Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz., held off a hard-charging Jason Belmonte of Australia to earn the top berth for Sunday’s Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame Classic finals at the International Training and Research Center.

The finals will air live on FOX Sports’ FS1 channel at 11 a.m. EST. The Hall of Fame Classic will be the first title decided in the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.

Butturff, a 24-year-old left-hander who is trying for his fifth PBA Tour title, led the tournament through all three qualifying rounds, finishing with an 18-game total of 4,284 pins, 11 ahead of Belmonte. After scoring at a 252 clip for the first 12 games, Butturff slowed down Saturday, rolling games of 268, 214, 215, 138, 215 and 203 while Belmonte steadily closed in. A split in the 10th frame, which he converted, prevent Belmonte from overtaking the young left-hander.

“It was a bit of a struggle today. There were fewer bowlers and a different crossing pattern, so the lanes played differently, “Butturff said. “But I was able to hold on to the lead and tomorrow’s a different day.”

Belmonte, who finished with 4,273 pins, wasn’t disappointed about his finish. The Australian two-hander and four-time PBA Player of the Year had games of 185, 260, 247, 228, 253 and 244 to close the gap.

“I got off to a slow start, but I bowled well after that,” the 18-time titlist said. “I have no goals this year. I’m just going to try to be the best bowler I can every week. I want to be bowler of the year again, but if I start to focus on things like that, I get in my own way. If I bowl my best, good things will happen.”

Rounding out the top five are Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., who finished with 4,111 pins; Swedish two-hander Jesper Svensson with a 4,091 total and veteran left-hander Rhino Page of Orlando with 4,076 pins.

The GoBowling! PBA Tour’s next events will be the PBA Oklahoma Open and Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla. Qualifying, which will run concurrently for both events, begins Tuesday. FloBowling will live-stream all qualifying rounds. The finals of the Oklahoma Open will air live on FS1 on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m. EST. The Roth-Holman Doubles finals will air on FS1 on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. EST.

PBA HALL OF FAME CLASSIC
International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas, Saturday

Final Qualifying Standings (after 18 games, top five advance to Sunday’s FS1 stepladder finals)
1, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 4,284.
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 4,273.
3, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 4,111.
4, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 4,091.
5, Rhino Page, Orlando, 4,076.
6, Jason Sterner, Fayetteville, Ga., 4,022, $4,800.
7, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 3,980, $4,300.
8, Sam Cooley, Australia, 3,971, $3,900.
9, DJ Archer, Spring, Texas, 3,970, $3,600.
10, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 3,930, $3,400.
11, Stuart Williams, England, 3,884, $3,200.
12, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,881, $3,000.
13, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,871, $2,800.
14, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,863, $2,600.
15, Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 3,842, $2,400.
16, Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, 3,827, $2,200.
17, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,822, $2,100.
18, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,810, $2,000.

300 Game: Bill O’Neill.