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24th Malta Open Championships
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Butturff (left) will be joined in the stepladder at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, by Kristopher Prather of Plainfield, Illinois; EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana; Dom Barrett of England; and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington.
Featured photo from left: Butturff, Prather, Tackett, Barrett and Kent.
CBS Sports Network will have live coverage of Wednesday’s stepladder finals starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. The champion will take home the $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket.
Butturff (left) shined in match play on Monday and Tuesday, averaging more than 243 and posting a 19-5 record to finish with a 13,452 total, including bonus pins, to lead Prather (right; 12,900) by 552 pins. Prather had led for every round heading into Tuesday’s competition.
“I’m speechless,” said Butturff, who is a four-time champion on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. “Kris had bowled so well, and I knew I had a lot of work to do. I worked as hard as I could to repeat shots and keep it going, and now I only have one more game to go.”
Butturff displayed a similar performance leading to the top seed at the 2017 event in Liverpool, New York. He posted a 20-4 match-play record to lead the field by 617 pins but fell in the title match to Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, 256-222.
The 24-year-old left-hander now finds himself in elite company, joining PBA and United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Earl Anthony as the only bowlers since 1971 to earn the top seed for the stepladder finals in back-to-back years.
Anthony led by 578 pins in 1979 and 551 pins in 1980 but was unable to come away with the title either year.
Last year’s stepladder at Flamingo Bowl featured three left-handers, as Page and Graham Fach of Canada joined Butturff on the left side. This year, he’ll have the left side of the lane to himself and knows he can take advantage of it.
“Last year was a learning experience,” said Butturff, who has won two titles this season. “This week, when I’ve been the only left-hander on the lane, I’ve performed much better. So, now I need to make sure I’m able to go out there and make the best shots I possibly can.”
Prather is in search of his first career PBA Tour title, while Tackett is looking to add a third major, the Triple Crown and another PBA Player of the Year award to his mantle.
Tackett captured the PBA World Championship in 2016 and PBA Tournament of Champions in 2017, and a win Wednesday would make him the seventh player in PBA history to complete the Triple Crown. His victory at the World Championship also helped him claim player of the year.
Barrett (left) has six career titles, including the 2013 World Championship. He advanced to the stepladder finals at the 2015 U.S. Open but lost to top-seed Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, in the title match, 236-223.
Kent (right) was the top seed at the 2016 U.S. Open but fell to Canada’s Francois Lavoie in the championship match, 228-194. Kent has four career PBA Tour titles and is looking for his first major.
All competitors bowled 24 qualifying games over three days to determine the 36 players advancing to a cashers’ round. After eight additional games, the field was cut to the top 24 players for round-robin match play.
The five finalists were determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.
Each round of the 2018 U.S. Open leading up to the stepladder finals was broadcast live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame on FloBowling.
For more information on the U.S. Open, click here.
Prather continues to lead after opening round of match play at 2018 U.S. Open
Kristopher Prather leads qualifying at 2018 U.S. Open
Kristopher Prather extends lead at 2018 U.S. Open
Kristopher Prather leads opening round at 2018 U.S. Open
Pre-Tournament Qualifier solidifies field at 2018 U.S. Open
Rhino Page excited to defend title at U.S. Open
2018 U.S. Open to feature several lane patterns, fresh oil for each squad
2018 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions
Players with position, hometown, win-loss-tie record and 56-game total, including bonus pins (30 bonus pins for a win, 15 bonus pins for a tie). n-denotes non-PBA member.
1, Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 19-5-0, 13,452. 2, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 14-8-2, 12,900. 3, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 17-7-0, 12,644. 4, Dom Barrett, England, 12-12-0, 12,402. 5, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 19-5-0, 12,363.
6, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 12-12-0, 12,251, $5,600. 7, Yannaphon Larp-apharat, Thailand, 13-10-1, 12,202, $5,350. 8, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 10-14-0, 12,181, $5,200. 9, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 11-13-0, 12,169, $5,100. 10, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 13-11-0, 12,151, $5,000. 11, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 16-8-0, 12,148, $4,900.
12, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 10-14-0, 12,111, $4,800. 13, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 12-12-0, 12,056, $4,700. 14, Stuart Williams, England, 13-11-0, 12,029, $4,600. 15, Zach Wilkins, Canada, 11-13-0, 12,018, $4,500. 16, n-Dallas Leong, Las Vegas, 15-9-0, 11,971, $4,400. 17, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 11-13-0, 11,916, $4,300.
18, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 12-12-0, 11,869, $4,200. 19, Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas, 10-14-0, 11,839, $4,100. 20, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 8-15-1, 11,799, $4,000. 21, Brad Miller, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 6-18-0, 11,636, $3,900. 22, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 10-14-0, 11,576, $3,800. 23, n-Tom Adcock, Decatur, Ill., 7-17-0, 11,541, $3,700.
24, n-Alex Hoskins, Pocatello, Idaho, 5-19-0, 11,116, $3,600.
300 games (1) – Jason Sterner (Match PLay Round 2).
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