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Anthony Simonsen leads top 16 Japan Invitational qualifiers into match play


Three weeks after celebrating his 21st birthday, Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, averaged 227 for his 12 qualifying games Saturday at Tokyo Port Bowl to lead the field of 16 finalists into Sunday’s match play finals of the DHC PBA Japan Invitational, the first tournament of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.

Simonsen, a three-time PBA Tour titlist, rolled games of 200, 215, 231, 243, 244, 248, 211, 218, 245, 229 and 238 in Saturday’s two six-game qualifying rounds for a total of 2,724 pins and an 83-pin lead over Ryan Ciminelli of Clarence, N.Y. Reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia was in third place, seven pins behind Ciminelli, and defending DHC PBA Japan Invitational champion EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., advanced to match play in 10th place, 156 pins behind Simonsen.

Simonsen, who has been bowling abroad for the past month, said he arrived in Japan full of confidence.

“This is my fourth tournament internationally in the last month,” the Texas two-handed player said. “I bowled an event in Ireland (Irish Open) last week and was fortunate to walk away with a win. I also won an event in Korea in late December so I feel like I’m definitely on my game right now and looking forward to extending my winning streak this week.”

The PBA is providing live coverage of the DHC PBA Japan Invitational on its video streaming service, Xtra Frame. Two eight-game round-robin match play rounds will air at 6:20 and 10:40 p.m. EST today followed by the five-player stepladder finals at 3:30 a.m. EST Sunday.

For fans who prefer a more convenient time to watch, each XF segment from Japan will be available on demand in Xtra Frame’s “What’s New” section within approximately an hour of the live stream, and in the XF archives shortly thereafter.

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DHC PBA Japan Invitational – Final Qualifying Standings

Players with position, hometown/country and 12-game total; top 16 advanced to round-robin match play; top five after 28 games advance to stepladder finals; w-denotes woman; n-denotes non-PBA member.

1, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 2,724
2, Ryan Ciminelli, Clarence, N.Y., 2,641
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2,634
4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 2,630
5, Rhino Page, Orlando, 2,626
6, Dom Barrett, England, 2,620
7, Shuichi Heki, Japan, 2,582
8, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 2,581
9, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 2,578
10, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 2,566
11, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2,555
12, An Junsang, South Korea, 2,543
13, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 2,540
14, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2,536
15, n-Yuhi Shinbata, Japan, 2,534
16, Yannaphon Larpapharat, Thailand, 2,524

Missed Cut:
17, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 2,504
18, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 2,492
19, n-Tomoyuki Sasaki, Japan, 2,490
20, w-Liz Johnson, Palatine, Ill., 2,488
21, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2,460
22, n-Yuta Saito, Japan, 2,432
23, Kiyohito Komori, Japan, 2,406
24, Nobuhito Fujii, Japan, 2,371
25, w-Yuki Akiyoshi, Japan, 2,368
26, n-w-Yuri Sato, Japan, 2,365
27, n-Iwao Mori, Japan, 2,360
28, n-Yuki Murahama, Japan, 2,345
29, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2,329
30, w-Hiroko Shimizu, Japan, 2,325
31, Hiroki Takada, Japan, 2,317
32, Junichi Yajima, Japan, 2,303
33, n-Kosuke Shirai, Japan, 2,296
34, w-Hiromi Matsunaga, Japan, 2,289
35, n-Takahiro Sato, Japan, 2,278
36, n-w-Kana Minowa, Japan, 2,260
37, n-Atsushi Ibuki, Japan, 2,257
38, n-Hiroki Nakane, Japan, 2,256
39, n-Masaki Noda, Japan, 2,243
40, n-w-Misaki Mukotani, Japan, 2,237
41, w-Akiko Suzuki, Japan, 2,231
42, n-w-Manae Kameshima, Japan, 2,224
43, n-Arifumi Higa, Japan, 2,192
44, n-w-Mirai Tanihara, Japan, 2,190
45, n-Akira Watanabe, Japan, 2,167
46, w-Nana Iida, Japan, 2,153
47, Shota Amakasu, Japan, 2,143
48, n-Akifumi Matsushita, Japan, 2,070

Herbert Bickel