of Huntington, Ind., went on a strike binge early Saturday at Bentencho Grandbowl in Osaka, Japan, sweeping his four stepladder matches including a 259-216 victory over top qualifier Shota Kawazoe
(below right) of Japan, to win his sixth career Professional Bowlers Association Tour title in the DHC PBA Japan Invitational.
Tackett (left, and above with trophy and check), who is currently a leading contender for 2016 GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year, entered the finals as the no. 5 qualifier and defeated Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 257-205; Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 259-256, and Jason Sterner of Cocoa, Fla., 235-191, to advance to the title match.
The entire tournament was covered live on PBA’s video streaming service, Xtra Frame.
Tackett, who won four titles in 2016 including his first major in the end-of-season PBA World Championship, bowled his third 300 game of the tournament on Friday to sneak into the stepladder finals by 10 pins.
He began his march to the title on Saturday by throwing a string of six strikes in eliminating Barnes (left), the 2015 DHC PBA Japan Invitational winner.
In the second match, Rash (right) started with six strikes before converting three consecutive single-pin spares. Tackett, after converting two 10 pins early in the match, reeled off seven consecutive strikes to overtake Rash. His seventh strike on his first shot in the 10th frame locked up the win.
A pair of three-strike strings were enough to dispatch Sterner (left), who didn’t throw back-to-back strikes until the 10th frame, and a string of seven strikes against Kawazoe was more than enough to hold off the Japan PBA star who led the field by 401 pins heading into the championship round.
Along with his title in the PBA’s first tournament of 2017, Tackett earned $43,800.
Next up for the PBA is the State Farm Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational at Lucky Strike LA Live in Los Angeles Tuesday, where Tackett, Barnes, Rash, Tommy Jones and Pete Weber will join the host and Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts among others in a special event to benefit the Chris Paul Family Foundation.
The show will air on ESPN on Friday, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. ET as part of the NBA All-Star weekend, followed by the PBA Super Clash presented by Main Event in Katy, Texas, live on ESPN on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. ET.
PBA Tour competition resumes with a “Super February” lineup of back-to-back-to-back major championships, all of which will air live on ESPN.
The series includes the Barbasol PBA Players Championship from Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Feb. 7-12; the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions from FireLake Bowling Center and FireLake Arena, Feb. 14-19, and the United States Bowling Congress Masters from The Orleans Bowling Center, Feb. 21-26.
All three finals air on Sundays at 1 p.m. ET, and preliminary rounds of all three will be live streamed on Xtra Frame. For more information, click here.
Japan’s Shota Kawazoe earns top berth for DHC PBA Japan Invitational finals
Japan’s Shota Kawazoe leads DHC PBA Japan Invitational
2017 PBA Tour Schedule
DHC PBA Japan Invitational – Stepladder Finals
Bentencho Grandbowl in Osaka, Japan (Jan. 11-14, 2017)
1. E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1010 (4 games), $43,800
2. Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 216 (1 game), $21,750
3. Jason Sterner, Cocoa, Fla., 191 (1 game), $11,410
4. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 256 (1 game), $8,700
5. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 205 (1 game), $7,830
First Match: No. 5 Tackett def. No. 4 Barnes, 257-205
Second Match: Tackett def. No. 3 Rash, 259-256
Semifinal Match: Tackett def. No. 2 Sterner, 235-191
Championship – Tackett def. No. 1 Kawazoe, 259-216.