Ten years after winning his second Professional Bowlers Association major title in the 2007 Tournament of Champions
, Tommy Jones
of Simpsonville, S.C., was in position to end his “majors” dry spell in the 52nd FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.
Jones (left and above), a 38-year-old 18-time PBA Tour title winner, averaged 240 for the first 16 qualifying games at FireLake Bowling Center to take the second round lead Thursday by 19 pins over PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber (right) of St. Ann, Mo., who is trying for a PBA-record 11th major title.
Weber missed an opportunity a week ago when he fell four pins short of making the stepladder finals in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
Jones, who won the 2006 U.S. Open for his first major title, rolled games of 279, 196, 279, 243, 191, 232, 244 and 247 in Thursday’s eight-game round to finish with 3,848 pins.
With 23 more qualifying games on tap Friday and Saturday, Jones was in a good position to reach Sunday’s live ESPN stepladder finals, but he wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“Scores are pretty high, so early in the round you can play the right side of the lane and depending on which players you follow (as you move across the 24-lane bowling center), you have to change equipment to match up with the conditions as they change,” Jones said.
“I had to change balls six times to stay ahead of the moves, but because there are only 12 pairs of lanes at FireLake, you kinda know what to expect because year after year, the characteristics of each pair of lanes don’t change that much.
“I threw a lot of strikes, but I had quite a few open frames, too,” he added. “You can’t afford opens when scores are like this, so that’s something I need to work on.
“We’re not halfway done yet, so the goal is to stay ahead of the moves and keep striking. At this point, you have to think game to game, pair to pair and not worry about anything else.”
After two rounds, the leader board also included 37-time PBA Tour titlist and Hall of Famer Norm Duke (left) of Clermont, Fla., in third place with 3,824 pins; last year’s qualifying leader Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn., in fourth with 3,804 pins and 2016 GEICO PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett (right) of Huntington, Ind., in fifth place with 3,799 pins.
England’s Dom Barrett was 17 pins behind Tackett in sixth place, but defending champion Jesper Svensson of Sweden was in danger of missing Friday’s cut, sitting in 60th place.
Friday’s schedule includes a seven-game qualifying round for all players, after which the top 24 based on 23-game pinfall totals will advance to a fourth eight-game qualifying round Friday night. The top 16 after 31 games will bowl a final eight-game qualifying round Saturday morning to determine the top five for Sunday’s finals.
Fans can follow scoring as it happens on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature. All qualifying rounds also are covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service. For subscription information, click here. The live stepladder finals will air on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and will be live streamed simultaneously on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
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52nd PBA FireLake Tournament of Champions – Second Round Standings
Players with position, hometown and 16-game total; w-denotes woman
1, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,848
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,829
3, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,824
4, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,804
5, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,799
6, Dom Barrett, England, 3,772
7, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 3,750
8, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights,, Mo., 3,748
9 (tie), Matthew O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., and Stuart Williams, England, 3,745
11, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,726
12, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 3,719
13, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,710
14, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,708
15 (tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,686
17, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,679
18 (tie), DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, and Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 3,675
20, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,659
21, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,658
22 (tie), BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., and Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,648
24, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,634
25, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 3,626
26, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,613
27, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 3,612
28, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,598
29, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,591
30, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,585
31, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,582
32, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 3,581
33, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,575
34, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,573
35, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3,571
36, Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 3,568
37, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Redford, Mich., 3,566
38, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,565
39, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,563
40, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,551
41, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3,539
42 (tie), Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Francois Lavoie, Canada, 3,538
44, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz, 3,512
45, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 3,509
46, Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, 3,504
47, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,475
48, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,468
49, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,459
50, w-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,451
51, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 3,443
52 (tie), Darren Tang, San Francisco, and Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,439
54, Mike Bailey, Irving, Texas, 3,413
55, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,409
56, Graham Fach, Canada, 3,397
57, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 3,393
58 (tie), Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., and Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 3,385
60, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3,375
61, w-Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 3,369
62, Paul Brewbaker II, Midwest City, Okla., 3,360
63, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 3,353
64, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 3,308
65, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,292
66, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 3,265
300 games (6) – Pete Weber, Kyle Troup, Sean Rash, Matt O’Grady, Jakob Butturff, Dom Barrett.