PBA Spare Shots: Bill O’Neill’s “on the Bubble” in 8th Qualifying Spot for 2018 PBA Clash

by Bill Vint  |  Thursday, October 04, 11:12 AM

PBA Spare Shots: Bill O’Neill’s “on the Bubble” in 8th Qualifying Spot for 2018 PBA Clash

The PBA International-WBT Thailand, which concluded Friday in Bangkok, at least temporarily shuffled the top eight qualifying positions on the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour earnings list heading into the end-of-season PBA Clash, and Bill O’Neill is now “bubble boy” in the eighth spot.

Following the Thailand tournament, the top four on the 2018 PBA Tour earnings list remain the same: Jason Belmonte, Anthony Simonsen, Dom Barrett and Andrew Anderson. After a fourth-place finish in Thailand, Kyle Troup has moved up two spots to fifth; EJ Tackett drops one spot to sixth, Marshall Kent is seventh (down from sixth) and O'Neill is now on the bubble in eighth place, moving up two spots after finishing 15th in Thailand. Jesper Svensson has advanced to ninth ($1,470 behind O’Neill) followed by Jakob Butturff and Tom Smallwood.

Attention now turns to the FloBowling PBA Fall Swing (including the Wolf Open, Bear Open and Tulsa Open) at The Lanes at Coffee Creek in suburban Tulsa, Okla., Oct. 15-20, followed by the U.S. Open at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan., Oct. 24-31, which will decide the earnings race.

PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling will cover the PBA Fall Swing live from start to finish. Subscriptions are available at FloBowling.com. The preliminary rounds of the U.S. Open also will be live-streamed by Xtra Frame on FloBowling, Oct. 26-30, before the finals air live on CBS Sports Network on Oct. 31.

The WBT Thailand was also a WBT points event. The top three men and top three women in WBT points for the 2018 season will compete in the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA which will be contested at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, for airing on FS1 on Sunday, March 10, at 10 p.m. EST.

The current top five in men’s WBT points are: Anthony Simonsen, Stuart Williams, Kyle Troup, Andrew Anderson and Sean Rash. The women’s top five are WBT Thailand winner Danielle McEwan, Liz Johnson, Daria Pajak, Siti Safiyah Amirah and Shannon O’Keefe.

The final three events to earn WBT points in 2018 will be the PBA Tulsa Open, the U.S. Open and the all-events division of the World Bowling Men’s World Championships Nov. 24-Dec. 5 in Hong Kong.


Several PBA stars from around the world will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in the World Bowling Men’s World Championships Nov. 24-Dec. 5 in Hong Kong, including Team USA members Andrew Anderson, Chris Barnes, Jakob Butturff, Tommy Jones, EJ Tackett and Kyle Troup. Barnes and Jones are the veterans on Team USA, having made their debuts in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Butturff along with Barnes and Jones were members of the 2017 gold-medal U.S. men’s team in the combined men’s and women’s World Bowling Championships in Las Vegas. Anderson, Tackett and Troup will be making their debuts as members of adult Team USA.

The Men’s World Championships are held every four years. Competition includes singles, doubles, trios, five-man team, all-events and Masters events.


Top qualifier Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz., defeated Josh Blanchard of Mesa, Ariz., 259-206, to win the PBA Double Decker Lanes West/Northwest Open presented by Roto Grip at Double Decker Lanes Sunday, continuing his unprecedented domination of PBA Regional competition in the west.

The win, which was covered live by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling, was Butturff’s 19th regional title in his three-year PBA career, and earned the $2,000 top prize.

Blanchard defeated Wayne Garber of Modesto, Calif., 232-222, in the semifinal match after Garber defeated Tim Cagle II of Hercules, Calif., in the opening match, 223-174,

● In Bluffton, Ind., EJ Tackett gave his family’s newly-purchased bowling center, EZ Bowl, a successful initiation Sunday when he defeated Patrick Dombrowski of Parma, Ohio, 235-199 to win the Bluffton Central/Midwest Open.

Tackett re-located from Huntington, Ind., to Bluffton when his family recently acquired the bowling center that was subsequently renamed “EZ Bowl” based on the initials of the Tackett brothers, EJ and Zach.

The title was Tackett’s first of the year in the PBA Central Region and his seventh career PBA Regional title. He earned $2,500 along with his title.

Dombrowski defeated Michael Davidson of Versailles, Ohio, 223-204, to advance to the championship match after edging Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., 182-181, in the first stepladder match.

Keith Lesko of Prosper, Texas, defeated Mac Sanders of Taylors, S.C., 223-216, to win the PBA50 J&L Sports Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday.

Lesko won $1,900 along with his fifth career regional title. After rolling a strike in the ninth frame, he needed another on his first shot in the 10th frame to take the title and he delivered the shot he needed.

In the semifinal round, Lesko eliminated Craig Auerbach of Sunrise, Fla., 244-178, while Sanders disposed of Tim Regan of East Northport, N.Y., 280-183.

● October’s PBA Regional events get underway this weekend with the PBA50 Mel Westrich Memorial/Ebonite Central/Midwest Open at Delphos Recreation in Delphos, Ohio; a PBA50 Southwest/Midwest two-day, two-tournament program at Junction City Bowl in Junction City, Kan.; the Albany Strikers South Open in Albany, Ga.; the 13th annual Battle at Black Oak Casino West Open in Tuolumne, Calif., and the DHC Japan Cheetah Mixed Doubles and Japan Queens at Nagoya Grand Bowl in Nagoya, Japan.

● The PBA Regional schedule for the Oct. 12-14 weekend includes the PBA50-PBA60 Central Doubles Open presented by Columbia 300 at Park Centre Lanes in North Canton, Ohio; the PBA-PBA50 Station 300 Baker Doubles in Bluffton, S.C., and the PBA50 and PBA60 Dick’s Pro Shop Northwest/West doubleheader presented by Boulder Falls at Linn Lanes in Portland, Ore.

● The Oct. 19-21 PBA Regional calendar includes the PBA50 Waxahachie Southwest Open at Hilltop Lanes in Waxahachie, Texas, and the Jackson Central/Midwest Open at Dave Small’s Jax 60 in Jackson, Mich.

● The final PBA Regional events of October take place over the Oct. 26-28 weekend, including the PBA50 Bryan’s Bowling Center East Open presented by the Hopkins Automotive Group and 900 Global in Laurel, Del., and the South Point West Challenge and PBA Member-Nonmember Doubles, both presented by Radical, at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple device users using the PBA app).


● PBA’s list of all-time regional title winners suggests no PBA member has come close to Jakob Butturff’s record in regional competition in his first three years as a member. Unofficially – because the PBA has never created record categories for its regional program – the closest to Butturff’s performance would be newly-elected PBA Hall of Famer Patrick Allen who won 10 of his 30 career PBA Regional titles between 2000 and 2002, his first three years of PBA membership.

A quick check suggests no other PBA member has even reached double figures in regional wins in a similar three-year span to start a career. Among the all-time regional title leaders, Chris Warren is no. 1 with 47 titles, but he won only five times in his first three years. Pete Weber (second with 46 regional titles) won three times; Steve Jaros (43) won five times and Walter Ray Williams Jr. (33) won two regional titles in his first three years.

The PBA has previously noted that Butturff, a 24-year-old left-hander, won a record nine regional titles in his rookie year (2016), four in 2017 and six times as of Sunday in 2018.