Tom Smallwood rolls into FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions lead


    2016 PBA Tour #3

    Big second round keeps Australia's Belmonte in contention for third straight TOC title

    2015PBATomSmallwood.jpg2015PBAJasonBelmonte.jpgTom Smallwood (pictured left) of Saginaw, Mich., who has made a career out of bowling well in major championships, averaged 231.4 for 16 games to move into the lead at the end of qualifying in the 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions at FireLake Bowling Center Wednesday.

    Smallwood, 38, posted games of 258, 258, 203, 259, 260, 200, 206 and 231 Wednesday for a 16-game total of 3,703 pins, advancing from 10th place to first in a hotly contested battle for the top 27 berths in Thursday's eight-game cashers round.

    Among those who remained in title contention was Australia's two-handed star, Jason Belmonte (above right), who advanced from 48th place to qualify 13th for the cashers round. Belmonte is trying to equal PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch's record as the second player to win the Tournament of Champions three consecutive times.

    2015PBAMarshallKent.jpg2015PBAPeteWeber.jpgTrailing Smallwood at the end of qualifying was 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent (left) of Yakima, Wash., with 3,665 pins, 38 pins behind Smallwood, followed by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber (right) of St. Ann, Mo., at 3,662; EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., at 3,661 and first-round leader Dom Barrett of England at 3,633.

    Smallwood, who made national news when he won the 2009 PBA World Championship after losing his job at General Motors during the recession, has done his best work in PBA majors.

    He finished second in the 2011 Tournament of Champions, fourth in the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Masters and fifth in the 2013 World Championship in addition to winning his second PBA title in the 2013 PBA Scorpion Championship.

    "I don't put any more time or effort into the majors, but it's only natural to put a little more emphasis on them because they pay more and they're more prestigious," Smallwood said. "For whatever reason my ball decides to strike more in the majors, which is fine with me."

    Smallwood said he found a way to play the lanes that other players weren't playing, and they actually helped move the oil around to his favor.

    "Usually I'm playing the wrong part of the lane, but I played a little farther right of everybody tonight and it worked," he said. "The first six games, I only moved four boards with my eyes, and that was it. Everyone else was playing farther inside than I was, and they actually gave me more hold area which allowed me to stay where I was."

    2015PWBATourLizJohnson.jpgAmong the players advancing to Thursday's cashers round was reigning Professional Women's Bowling Association Player of the Year Liz Johnson (left) of Cheektowaga, N.Y., who also is the first woman ever to advance to the PBA national telecast and the only woman ever to accomplish that feat twice. Johnson qualified in a tie for 20th place.

    "I never really put a PBA Tour title on my bucket list, but it would be nice to win one," Johnson said. "The thing I realized this week is that I bowled my first women's pro tournament 20 years ago this week, and to think I'm still out here doing what I'm doing is pretty amazing to me."

    2015PWBA09KellyKulick.jpgJohnson was one of four women in the TOC field. Kelly Kulick (right) of Union, N.J., who won the 2010 Tournament of Champions to become the only woman ever to win a PBA Tour title, was in contention Wednesday but faltered down the stretch, finishing 31st and missing the cut by 14 pins.

    At the conclusion of Thursday's cashers round, the top 24 based on 24-game pinfall totals will advance to three eight-game rounds of head-to-head match play to determine the top five for Sunday's live ESPN finals at 2 p.m. ET.

    PBA's Xtra Frame online video-streaming service will cover the cashers round and all three match play rounds live. Rounds start at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Thursday and Friday.


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    51st PBA FireLake Tournament of Champions - Second Round Standings

    Players with position, hometown and 16-game total; top 27 advance to the cashers round; f-denotes female

    1, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,703
    2, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,665
    3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,662
    4, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,661
    5, Dom Barrett, England, 3,633
    6, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3,631
    7, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,627
    8, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,606
    9, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 3,595
    10, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,594
    11, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3,580
    12, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,579
    13, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,575
    14, Tyler Jensen, Ft. Worth, Texas, 3,569
    15, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 3,567
    16, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,560
    17, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,525
    18, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,522
    19, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,512
    20, (tie) Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., and f-Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,497
    22, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 3,496
    23, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,495
    24, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,493
    25, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 3,483
    26, A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,480
    27, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,476

    Missed Cut:
    28, Stuart Williams, England, 3,470
    29, (tie) Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., and Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,468
    31, f-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,462
    32, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,458
    33, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 3,457
    34, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 3,454
    35, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,453
    36, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 3,447
    37, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,435
    38, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,433
    39, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 3,431
    40, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,427
    41, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,422
    42, Paul Moor, England, 3,416
    43, Will Barnes, Wichita, Kan., 3,414
    44, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 3,405
    45, Patrick Allen, South Salem, N.Y., 3,379
    46, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3,359
    47, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 3,353
    48, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,352
    49, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,346
    50, David Scardaville, Houston, Texas, 3,341
    51, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,325
    52, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3,313
    53, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,296
    54, Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 3,294
    55, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 3,286
    56, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,276
    57, Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 3,269
    58, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,265
    59, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 3,244
    60, J.T. Jackson, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 3,222
    61, (tie) f-Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, and Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,210
    63, f-Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 3,207
    64, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,202
    65, Scott Greiner, Platte City, Mo., 3,193
    66, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 3,189
    67, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 3,180
    68, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,150
    69, Paul Brewbaker, Midwest City, Okla., 3,141
    70, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 3,133
    71, Brandon Bivens, East Ridge, Tenn., 3,083
    72, David Williams Jr., Omaha, Neb., 3,067
    73, Lee White, Odessa, Texas, 3,048
    74, Joe Salvemini, Nevada City, Calif., 2,987
    75, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 2,890
    76, Carmen Salvino, Schaumburg, Ill., 2,887
    77, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 2,369

    300 games (1) - Kyle Troup (Round 1).