, a 21-year-old two-handed bowler from Austin, Texas, got creative to win his fourth career PBA Tour title in the 10th anniversary PBA Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic at Mid-County Bowling and Entertainment Center in Middletown, Delaware, Sunday.
Simonsen – who normally plays the lanes from the right side – resorted to a reverse hook, bowling like a left-hander and targeting the 1-2 pocket, to defeat left-hander Matt Sanders of Indianapolis, 216-194, for the title.
Featured photo: Champion Anthony Simonsen, center, with Gene Carter, left, and proprietor Kim Bowers, right.
Simonsen (right) made a dramatic change after scoring conditions proved more than a little difficult, forcing many of the right-handed players to move to a deep inside angle that was unmanageable for most.
“To be honest with you, I’m a bit speechless,” he said. “These guys are the best bowlers in the world, and to beat them, sometimes you’ve got to be creative. I didn’t have any (kind of consistent shot) on the right, so I had to try something different.”
Simonsen said he had tried the so-called “backup ball” technique in a couple of recent PBA Regional tournaments, with limited success, “but I did it enough to think it might work if I practiced a little. I actually practiced three times last week, which is three times more than I usually practice, and I decided to try it in game 10 of match play, and it worked.”
Simonsen became the second-youngest player ever to win a PBA Tour title when he won the 2016 Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship with partner Connor Pickford as an 18-year-old, and shortly thereafter won the 2016 USBC Masters at age 19. He won his third PBA Tour title in the 2017 Xtra Frame Wilmington Open, but several other opportunities have escaped him.
“It’s been frustrating, but if you keep knocking, they’re eventually going to let you in,” he said. “You never know if (the reverse hook) will have to come out again, but I’m going to practice and see if I can get better at it.”
In the opening match, Sanders (left), PBA’s 2017 Rookie of the Year, had a string of six strikes in an otherwise error-free game, eliminating two-hander Kyle Troup (right) of Taylorsville, N.C., who failed to convert a 2-4-8-10 split in the third frame and a 2-10 split in the eighth, 256-210.
In the semifinal match of the four-man stepladder finals, Sanders converted a 2 pin in the first frame and threw four strikes in a row, threatening to blow open his match against 20-year-old PBA Rookie of the Year contender Kamron Doyle (left) of Brentwood, Tenn.
But Sanders missed a 7 pin in the sixth frame, giving Doyle an opening and Doyle took advantage, throwing his own string of four strikes to take the lead. After converting a 6 pin in the eighth frame, Sanders finished with four strikes to put the pressure on Doyle, who needed to throw a fifth straight strike to remain in contention for his first PBA Tour title. Doyle left a 10 pin on his first shot, and Sanders moved on to the title match with a 237-223 decision.
The 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour continues with the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic from Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater, Ohio, next Saturday and Sunday, where EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and Andrew Anderson of Holly, Mich., will again try for a third 2018 title.
Tackett (right) led the Delaware event until the final two games when his inability to overcome the deteriorating lane conditions led to a 4-8 match play record and ultimately a fifth-place finish. Anderson came into Sunday’s competition in a tie for 30th place, made a big move to sneak into match play as the 16th qualifier and eventually he finished 14th.
PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling will cover all rounds using its new “FloZone” coverage system which gives viewers the opportunity to follow all of the action simultaneously on all eight pairs of lanes at Pla-Mor. For subscription and schedule information click here.
EJ Tackett leads PBA Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic qualifiers
PBA returns to Delaware for XF Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic
2018 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions
10th PBA Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic – Stepladder Finals
Mid-County Lanes in Middletown, Del., USA (Aug. 17-19, 2018)
1, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 216 (1 game), $15,000
2, Matt Sanders, Indianapolis, 687 (3 games), $7,800
3, Kamron Doyle, Brentwood, Tenn., 223 (1 game), $4,000
4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 210 (1 game), $2,500
First Match One: No. 3 Sanders def. No. 4 Troup, 256-210
Semifinal Match: Sanders def. No. 2 Doyle, 237-223
Championship: No. 1 Simonsen def. Sanders, 216-194.
PBA XF Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic – Final Match Play Standings
Players with position, hometown, W-L-T record and 23-game total, including match play bonus pins
1, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 7-5, 5,380
2, Kamron Doyle, Brentwood, Tenn., 10-2, 5,342
3, Matt Sanders, Indianapolis, 5-7, 5,329
4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 9-3, 5,318
5, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 4-8, 5,281, $1,600
6, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 6-6, 5,219, $1,400
7, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 7-5, 5,171, $1,200
8, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 6-6, 5,168, $1,100
9, Jason Sterner, Atlanta, 6-6, 5,140, $1,080
10, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 7-5, 5,132, $1,060
11, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 6-6, 5,118, $1,050
12, Dick Allen, Lexington, S.C., 5-7, 5,107, $1,040
13, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 5-7, 5,056, $1,030
14, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 5-7, 5,013, $1,020
15, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 6-6, 4,985, $1,010
16, Michael Markis, Scranton, Pa., 2-10, 4,801, $1,000
Cashers’ Round cashers (did not advance, after 11 games):
17, Ryan Ciminelli, Clarence, N.Y., 2,422, $700
18, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 2,415, $700
19, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 2,411, $700
20, Matt O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., 2,410, $700
21, Rick Graham, Lancaster, Pa., 2,408, $700
22, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2,405, $700
23, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 2,401, $700
24, David Knight Jr., Glassboro, N.J., 2,398, $700
25, Sam Cooley, Australia, 2,393, $650
26, Graham Fach, Canada, 2,387, $650
27, David Stouffer, Lehigh Acres, Fla., 2,380, $650
28, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 2,368, $650
29, Josh Schmehl, Millsboro, Del., 2,364, $650
30, Tim Pfeifer, Oakdale, Pa., 2,354, $650
31, Daniel Mitchell, Elkton, Md., 2,348, $650
32 (tie), Victor Florie Jr., Richmond, Va., and
Brian Elder, Newark, Del., 2,329, $625
34 (tie), Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, and
Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 2,325, $600
36, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 2,322, $600
37, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 2,321, $600
38, Jason Cornog, Cherry Hill, N.J., 2,319, $600
39, Gary Faulkner, Norfolk, Va., 2,316, $600
40, Richie Teece, England, 2,315, $600
41, Bryan Paul, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2,305, $600
42, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 2,290, $600
43, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 2,286, $600
44, Bobby Hall II, Landover, Md., 2,282, $600
45, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 2,280, $600
46, Stephen Pavlinko Jr., Sewell, N.J., 2,235, $600
47, Keith Laing, Oakdale, Conn., 2,232, $600
48, Robert Mockenhaupt, Rutherford, N.J., 2,206, $600
49, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 2,202, $600
50, Todd Sigeti, Lititz, Pa., 2,190, $600