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Jesper Svensson advances to championship round at PBA Oklahoma Open


Six-time PBA Tour winner Jesper Svensson of Sweden won the final semi-final round match of the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open Saturday to earn a berth as the fifth qualifier for Sunday’s championship round at the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort.

The 2015 PBA Rookie of the Year (above), who was the no. 7 qualifier for the semi-final round, defeated no. 5 qualifier two-time Tour winner Thomas Larsen (right) of Denmark in the fourth match, 192-160, which was conducted on the 40-foot Bear lane condition pattern on two specially-installed lanes in the Grand Hotel Event Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

With his win, Svensson advanced to Sunday’s first match against no. 4 qualifier 18-time Tour winner Chris Barnes (left), which will be telecast live on ESPN at noon CDT (1 p.m. ET).

Also competing in Sunday’s championship round will be four-time Tour winner Rhino Page (right), three-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte and tournament leader three-time winner and 2014 Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent.

As tournament leader, Kent earned the opportunity to select the lane conditions for both rounds but changed his selection from the Bear condition used Saturday to the 32-foot Wolf lane condition for Sunday’s championship round.

“Because this was a difficult lane condition, I played it safe and just concentrated on getting to the pocket,” Svensson said. “No matter what the lane condition is my mindset is just bowl better than my opponent and don’t worry about the scores.”

Saturday’s stepladder match featured players who qualified fifth through ninth with the winner earning the fifth spot in Sunday’s championship round.

In the first match no. 8 qualifier two-time Tour winner Tom Smallwood (left) of Saginaw, Mich., beat two-time Tour winner no. 9 qualifier Tom Daugherty 232-211 in the opening match.

Svensson defeated Smallwood 213-201 in the second match to advance to the semi-final match where he beat reigning PBA Player of the Year No. 6 qualifier EJ Tackett (right) of Huntington, Ind., 179-150.

To get to this stage the top nine had to compete in four eight-game qualifying rounds on four different PBA lane conditions – 32-foot Wolf, 40-foot Bear, 52-foot Badger and 44-foot Oklahoma Open – at the FireLake Bowling Center.

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Grand Hotel Casino & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open – Semi-final Round

FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., USA (July 1, 2017)

Championship Round:
5, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 584 (3 games)
Svensson advances to fifth qualifying position for Sunday’s stepladder finals.
6, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 160 (1 game), $8,000
7, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 150 (1 game), $7,000
8, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 433 (2 games), $6,000
9, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 211 (1 game), $5,000

Playoff Results:
Match One: No. 8 Smallwood def. No. 9 Daugherty, 232-211
Match Two: No. 7 Svensson def. Smallwood, 213-201
Match Three: Svensson def. No. 6 Tackett, 179-150
Match Four: Svensson def. No. 5 Larsen, 192-160.

Sunday’s Stepladder Finals Pairings
Match Five: No. 5 Jesper Svensson vs. No. 4 Chris Barnes
Match Six: Match Five winner vs. No. 3 Rhino Page
Semi-final Match: Match Six winner vs. No. 2 Jason Belmonte
Championship: Semi-final Match winner vs. No. 1 Marshall Kent.

Herbert Bickel

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