Prather Leads U.S. Open After First Round of Match Play With Butturff Not Far Behind in Second
by Jerry Schneider | Monday, October 29, 7:47 PM
By Aaron Smith, USBC Communications
WICHITA, Kan. – Kristopher Prather may have given up his lead for a moment at the 2018 U.S. Open, but the 26-year-old right-hander finished strong in match play to return to the top of the standings.
Prather posted a 6-1-1 record during his eight matches at Northrock Lanes on Monday, averaging more than 221 to finish with a 9,125 total, including bonus pins.
Jakob Butturff of Chandler, Arizona, briefly took the overall lead after a 5-0 start in match play but settled into second after dropping his last three games to finish with 9,062. The 24-year-old left-hander was runner-up at the 2017 U.S. Open in Liverpool, New York, falling to Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, in the title match, 256-222.
Both Prather and Butturff have built a sizeable lead over the field heading into Tuesday’s final rounds of match play and lead England’s Dom Barrett (8,715) by nearly 350 pins. Jason Sterner of Covington, Georgia (8,675), and 2015 U.S. Open champion Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York (8,672), round out the top five.
Page is in 15th place with 8,476.
After struggling during Sunday’s third round of qualifying, Prather walked into Northrock Lanes with a new mindset and was ready to attack the 43-foot oil pattern being used for the remainder of the tournament.
The 2018 U.S. Open has featured four different lane conditions. Three oil patterns were used during the first three rounds of qualifying, and the final condition was introduced during the cashers’ round.
“I was much more confident this morning,” Prather said. “This pattern definitely suits my game better, and I had a pretty simple game plan – control the pocket and make it into match play with as many pins as I could.”
Prather wasn’t surprised by Butturff’s run toward the top of the standings, but he credits his performance in match play in putting him in a favorable spot heading into the final two rounds.
“I knew Jakob was going to catch up to me,” Prather said. “He was striking so much, and I thought he was going to start to run away with it. Being able to keep up with him when he starts striking like that gives me even more confidence heading into tomorrow.
“Winning six matches and tying another was a huge bonus, since I normally don’t have match-play rounds like that. For tomorrow, I’m going to just keep doing the same thing and try to get as many pins as I can and do whatever I can to stay at the top to guarantee myself a shot at the title.”
The 144-player field was cut to the top 36 players after Sunday’s third round of qualifying, and all advancers returned to the lanes Monday morning for a cashers’ round, which included an additional eight games to determine the 24 players for round-robin match play.
Prather led the field heading into match play, finishing with a 32-game total of 7,160. Dallas Leong of Las Vegas earned the final spot with a 6,601 score, a 206.28 average.
Match play will resume Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern with the final two blocks, including a position round. The five finalists will be determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.
The stepladder finals will take place Wednesday and air live on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Eastern, awarding the champion the $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket.
The U.S. Open is the fourth and final major championship on the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America.
Each round of the 2018 U.S. Open leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame on FloBowling.
U.S. OPEN RESULTS AFTER FIRST MATCH PLAY ROUND
(Includes match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins after 40 games)
1, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 6-1-1, 9,125.
2, Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 5-3, 9,062.
3, Dom Barrett, England, 3-5, 8,715.
4, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 4-4, 8,675.
5, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3-5, 8,672.
6, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 4-4, 8,666.
7, JoJoe Yannaphon, Thailand, 4-3-1, 8,620.
8, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 4-4, 8,596.
9, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 3-5, 8,591.
10, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 5-3, 8,556.
11, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 5-3, 8,514.
12, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 6-2, 8,506.
13, n-Dallas Leong, Las Vegas, 6-2, 8,496.
14, Stuart Williams, England, 6-2, 8,477.
15, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 4-4, 8,476.
16, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 7-1, 8,445.
17, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 4-4, 8,418.
18, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 4-4, 8,417.
19, Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas, 4-4, 8,399.
20, Zacharay Wilkins, Canada, 3-5, 8,338.
21, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 2-6, 8,284.
22, Brad Miller, Lees Summit, Mo., 1-7, 8,261.
23, n-Alex Hoskins, Pocatello, Idaho, 1-7, 8,198.
24, n-Tom Adcock, Decatur, Ill., 1-7, 8,122.