Tackett Outduels Belmonte to Take Top Seed For PBA Players Championship Finals

by Jerry Schneider  |  Thursday, February 13, 8:52 PM

Tackett Outduels Belmonte to Take Top Seed For PBA Players Championship Finals

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thirteen-time Go Bowling PBA Tour winner EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, compiled a 13-3 match play record and averaged 231 in Thursday’s final two match play rounds to earn the top seed for Saturday’s PBA Players Championship stepladder finals as he tries for his third major title.

After posting a 6-2 record in Wednesday’s first match play round, Tackett finished with a 19-5 overall record in match play and 10,242 42-game pinfall total including match play bonus pins to earn the top spot. He defeated Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte 213-201 in the final position round match to clinch the top seed.

“It feels good to get back to the finals especially in a major,” said the 27-year-old Tackett, whose previous major wins came in the 2016 PBA World Championship and 2017 PBA Tournament of Champions. “The season has been kind of a progression to this point bowling a little better each week. I’ll prepare the best I can for Saturday night and hopefully it will be enough to bowl a great game for the title.”

The stepladder finals for the season’s second major will be televised live on FS1 Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Having to bowl one match for the title, Tackett and his opponent in the title match will bowl for a $1 million bonus if the winner of the match bowls a 300 game.

Belmonte posted a mediocre 12-11-1 overall match play record but was boosted by a 6-2 record and 229 average in Thursday’s final match play round on his way to the No. 2 seed for the finals. He finished 58 pins behind Tackett with a 10,184 pinfall for 42 games.

The 36-year-old Belmonte, who earned his fifth PBA Player of the Year award in 2019, will be trying for his third Players Championship and 12th career major title. The all-time majors leader with 11 wins previously won the Players Championship in 2011 and 2017. He finished second in the 2019 Players Championship losing to Anthony Simonsen 232-212 in the title match.

Entering the finals as the No. 3 seed, last week’s Tournament of Champions runner-up Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, posted a 13-8-3 overall match play record and 9,889 pinfall for 42 games. The 11-time tour winner will again try for his second major title with his first major win coming in the 2010 U.S. Open.

Four-time PBA Tour winner Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington will be trying for his first major title from the No. 4 seed after posting a 12-11-1 overall match play record and 9,865 pinfall total.

As the No. 5 seed, last week’s Tournament of Champions winner Kris Prather of Plainfield, Illinois, will once again have to win four stepladder matches to win a second consecutive major title and will face Kent in the opening match.

Prather, who was the No. 4 seed for the Tournament of Champions finals and won all four matches including his 280-205 title match win against O’Neill, also posted a 12-11-1 match play record and finished with a 9,857 pinfall.


(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)

Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Thursday

Sixth Round Standings

(after 42 games. Includes match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins. Top five players advance to Saturday’s stepladder finals live on FS1 at 5:30 p.m ET)

1, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 19-5, 10,242.
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 12-11-1, 10,184.
3, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 13-8-3, 9,889.
4, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 12-11-1, 9,865.
5, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 12-11-1, 9,857.
6, Nicholas Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 13-11, 9,739, $8,000.
7, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 12-12, 9,703, $7,000.
8, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 12-12, 9,693, $6,000.
9, Brad Miller, Lees Summit, Mo., 13-11, 9,682, $5,500.
10, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 13-10-1, 9,662, $5,000.
11, Stuart Williams, England, 12-12, 9,634, $4,800.
12, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 13-11, 9,604, $4,600.
13, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 12-12, 9,600, $4,400.
14, Zacharay Wilkins, Canada, 14-10, 9,593, $4,200.
15, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 11-13, 9,589, $4,000.
16, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 13-11, 9,550, $3,800.
17, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 13-11, 9,516, $3,700.
18, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 11-13, 9,514, $3,600.
19, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 10-14, 9,462, $3,500.
20, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 10-13-1, 9,358, $3,400.
21, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 7-17, 9,308, $3,300.
22, Greg Ostrander, Brick, N.J., 9-15, 9,293, $3,200.
23, Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., 9-15, 9,245, $3,100.
24, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 9-15, 9,241, $3,000.