Prather, Simonsen Win to Advance to PBA Playoffs Semifinal Round
by Jerry Schneider | Monday, May 20, 7:59 PM
PORTLAND, Maine – No. 4 seed Anthony Simonsen and No. 9 seed Kris Prather have clinched semifinal round berths in the inaugural PBA Playoffs and will continue their bids to win the $100,000 top prize after winning their Round of 8 matches at Bayside Bowl. The first of two Round of 8 matches aired Monday on FS1.
Prather and Simonsen will be joined in the semifinals by the winners of the No. 7 Bill O’Neill vs. No. 15 Wes Malott and No. 6 Sean Rash vs. No. 14 Dom Barrett Round of 8 matches which will air May 27 on FS1 at 9 p.m. ET. The four remaining players will battle in the Race to 2 Points format semifinals Saturday, June 1 live at noon ET on FOX with the winners returning for the live finals on June 2 that will determine the inaugural PBA Playoffs champion who will celebrate the largest payday of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.
Prather, who won the PBA Scorpion Championship at World Series of Bowling X earlier this year for his first PBA Tour title, beat No. 1 seed Jason Belmonte in both games of the Race to 2 Points format match – 197-165 and 224-214 – to advance to the semifinals.
In the second game, Prather finished with four strikes in a row to eliminate Belmonte, who left a 3 pin as result of a high hit on his second shot of the 10th frame to end his bid for the win.
Belmonte, who led the PBA Playoffs points race to earn the No. 1 seed, won three titles including the PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA World Championship for his 10th and record 11th major titles leading up to the Playoffs.
“I went into the match determined not to get comfortable,” said the 27-year-old Prather. “I know that if I let up, he’s (Belmonte) going to take advantage of that. That’s why he’s the best bowler in the world.
“I wanted to use the momentum from the first game to put as much pressure on him as I could,” Prather said of the second game. “Even though he’s the best in the world I didn’t want that thought to creep into my mind where I would lose focus. I don’t think those last four shots were the best I could throw but they got the job done.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been a crowd favorite, but I sure feel like it here,” Prather said of the support he was getting from the raucous Bayside Bowl crowd. “I hope I can continue to use that energy to my advantage.”
As the No. 9 seed, Prather advanced to the Round of 8 by winning a single-game Round of 24 match against No. 24 seed Darren Tang and a Round of 16 Race to 2 Points match against No. 8 seed Tom Daugherty.
In the second match, Gomez, a three-time tour winner, beat Simonsen, 234-207, but Simonsen rallied in the second game to defeat Gomez, 243-215, to force a ninth and 10th frame roll-off.
Despite a slow start by Simonsen in the second game with two spares after leaving seven counts, the two-hander came back with five consecutive strikes and took advantage of a missed 10 pin by Gomez in the fifth frame.
The 22-year-old Simonsen, who won the PBA Players Championship in February for his second career major, struck on his first three shots of the roll-off to win, 56-39.
“One good thing about this format is that if you’re struggling you have some time to figure it out,” said Simonsen, who advanced to the Round of 8 by beating Rhino Page in the Round of 16 after earning a first-round bye. “The turning point probably came when he missed the 10 pin, but I could see he was struggling with ball reaction. I was finally getting the ball reaction I needed and felt I could probably put some pressure on him. Everything seemed to be going my way at that point.
“It’s very rewarding to make it this far but there’s a lot of work left to do,” Simonsen said of his return trip to Portland. “One thing I know is, it’s going to be fun to watch. I’m going to do the bowling and let the crowd do the rest.”
To view a PBA Playoffs bracket click on
PBA PLAYOFFS ROUND OF 8 RESULTS
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine
(aired Monday on FS1. Race to 2 Points format. Winners advance to semifinals. Losers earn $8,000)
No. 9 Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill. def. No. 1 Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2-0.
Game 1 – Prather def. Belmonte, 197-165 (one point earned for Prather).
Game 2 – Prather def. Belmonte, 224-214 (one point earned for Prather).
No. 4 Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas def. No. 21 Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2-1.
Game 1 – Gomez def. Simonsen, 234-207 (one point earned for Gomez).
Game 2 – Simonsen def. Gomez, 243-215 (one point earned for Simonsen).
Roll-off - Simonsen won roll-off, 56-39 (one point earned for Simonsen).
Remaining Round of 8 Pairings (Race to 2 Points format)
Match 19 – No. 7 Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa. vs. No. 15 Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas (airs May 27).
Match 20 – No. 6 Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill. vs. No. 14 Dom Barrett, England (airs May 27).
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