World’s Best Bowlers Set to Return to Shawnee for FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions
by bvint | Wednesday, February 08, 11:17 AM
SHAWNEE, Okla. – The most accomplished bowlers from around the world will return to FireLake Bowling Center, FireLake Arena and the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Shawnee Feb. 11-19 for the 52nd FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions and the Professional Bowlers Association’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
The TOC is the second of three consecutive PBA major championships that will air live on ESPN in February. The TOC finals will be the only finals in 2017 held in an arena setting. The telecast begins at noon on Sunday, Feb. 19.
The nine-day TOC tournament program begins Saturday and Sunday with the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Winter Open, a PBA Southwest Regional tournament, which also is a qualifying event for PBA Regional, PBA Women’s Series and PBA50 Tour title winners who will try to earn berths in the 96-player Tournament of Champions field.
Monday night, the PBA will induct former PBA Commissioner Mark Gerberich and three highly-successful PBA players – Bryan Goebel of Shawnee, Kan.; Steve Hoskins of Tarpon Springs, Fla., and Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas – into the PBA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Grand Casino, starting at 7 p.m. EST. The program also will include presentations to the PBA’s 2016 award winners: GEICO Chris Schenkel Player of the Year EJ Tackett, Harry Golden Rookie of the Year Francois Lavoie, Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner Tom Smallwood and Tony Reyes Community Service Award winner Rhino Page.
TOC competition gets underway on Valentine’s Day when half of the field bowls its first eight-game qualifying round at 9 a.m. with the other half of the field bowling their opening round at 5 p.m. All players will bowl two more eight-game qualifying rounds Wednesday and Thursday before the field is trimmed to the top 24 qualifiers. After a fourth eight-game round Friday morning, the top 16 will bowl a final eight-game round to determine the five stepladder finalists for Sunday’s ESPN telecast.
Among the players in the star-studded field will be past TOC winners Jason Belmonte (2014 and ’14), Pete Weber (1987 and 2013), Sean Rash (2012), Kelly Kulick (2010), Patrick Allen (2009), Tommy Jones (2007), Chris Barnes (2006), Bryan Goebel (1998), Norm Duke (1994) and defending champion Jesper Svensson of Sweden (2016). Kulick is the only woman ever to win a PBA Tour title.
PBA Hall of Famers in the field will be Weber, Duke, Goebel, Scroggins, Parker Bohn III and 57-year-old Walter Ray Williams Jr., who needs a TOC title to complete the PBA Triple Crown and Grand Slam.
The TOC also will feature the Tour’s rising young stars who will try to extend a streak six consecutive major championships won by players age 25 and younger (2015 PBA World Championship by Gary Faulkner Jr., 25); 2016 TOC (Svensson, 20); 2016 United States Bowling Congress Masters (Anthony Simonson, 19); 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship (Graham Fach, 24); 2016 U.S. Open (Francois Lavoie, 23) and 2016 PBA World Championship (EJ Tackett, 24).
All qualifying rounds of the TOC, plus the PBA Hall of Fame and Award ceremonies, will be covered on PBA’s live streaming service, Xtra Frame (visit xtraframe.tv for subscription information). The live ESPN stepladder finals also will be live streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN mobile app.
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS SCHEDULE
FireLake Bowling Center and FireLake Arena, Shawnee, Okla., Feb. 11-19
GRAND CASINO HOTEL & RESORT WINTER OPEN AND TOC QUALIFIER
Friday, Feb. 10
3 and 5 p.m. – A Squad and B Squad practice sessions.
Saturday, Feb. 11
8 a.m. - A Squad, 8 qualifying games.
2:30 p.m. – B Squad: 8 qualifying games.
Top 1/3 of qualifying field advances to cashers round; minimum of 24 eligible PBA title-holders earn the right to enter the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.
Sunday, Feb. 12
8:30 a.m. - Cashers Round, 5 games.
Top 16 based on 13 games advance to single-elimination match play.
Noon – Single-Elimination Match Play finals begin.
Round 1: Qualifiers 9-16, best-of-three games matches.
Round 2: Round 1 Winners and Qualifiers 5-8, best-of-three games matches.
Round 3: Round 2 Winners and Qualifiers 1-4, best-of-three games matches.
Round 4: Round of 8 Winners, one game matches.
Round 5: Semifinal Round winners, one game matches.
Winners advance to championship match, one game.
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Monday, Feb. 13
1 p.m. – Official practice session
6 p.m. – PBA Hall of Fame and Awards dinner, Grand Casino
Tuesday, Feb. 14
10 a.m. – A Squad, 8 qualifying games.
4 p.m. – B squad, 8 qualifying games.
Wednesday, Feb. 15
10 a.m. – A Squad, 8 qualifying games.
4 p.m. – B Squad, 8 qualifying games.
Thursday, Feb. 16
10 a.m. – A squad (bottom half of field after 16 games), 8 qualifying games.
4 p.m. – B squad (top half of field after 16 games), 8 qualifying games.
Top 24 after 24 games advance to Round of 24
Friday, Feb. 17
10 a.m. – Top 24, 8 qualifying games
Top 16 based on 32 games advance to Round of 16
5 p.m. – Top 16, 8 qualifying games
Top five after 40 games advance to ESPN stepladder finals
Saturday, Feb. 18
3 p.m. - PBA TOC Experience Pro-Am
Sunday, Feb. 19, FireLake Arena
Noon (1 p.m. EST) – Live ESPN stepladder finals.