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Marshall Kent leads top 9 into PBA Oklahoma Open finals

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Three-time PBA Tour titlist Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., averaged 227 over four rounds on different lane conditions to lead a field of nine players who advanced to this weekend’s stepladder finals of the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open.

ESPN’s live coverage begins Saturday at noon CDT (1 p.m. ET) from the Grand Hotel Event Center when qualifiers five through nine will compete on two specially-installed lanes with the winner advancing to the no. 5 qualifying position who will join the tournament’s top four qualifiers for Sunday’s stepladder finals telecast which also gets underway at noon local time.

Kent (above) compiled a 7,278 32-game pinfall total bowled on PBA’s 32-foot Wolf, 40-foot Bear, 52-foot Badger and 44-foot Oklahoma Open lane condition patterns over the four days of qualifying at the FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He bowled games of 237, 274, 266, 257, 236, 220, 235 and 207 in Friday’s final round on the Oklahoma condition.

Despite starting the tournament with games of 160 and 170 in the first round on the Wolf condition Tuesday, Kent relied on his ability to adjust to quickly rebound.

“I was a little frustrated but I reminded myself it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “In a tournament like this you have to look at the big picture. I was a little frustrated but I knew I had 30 games to go.

“I think overall my versatility showed in this tournament,” the 24-year-old Kent continued. “I didn’t have a good start but it didn’t worry me.”

As top qualifier, Kent earned the right to select the lane condition pattern for both stepladder telecasts this weekend and has selected the Bear pattern. He does have the option to change the pattern selection after Saturday’s telecast for Sunday’s competition.

“I feel that the Bear pattern is the best pattern for rewarding the player who makes the best shot,” Kent said. “My gut right now is to stick with it for both days.”

From right to left: Kent, Belmonte, Page and Barnes.

Climbing from 28th after the first round and 12th after Thursday’s third round, three-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia averaged 256 in the final round to rocket to the no. 2 qualifying position and finish with a 7,208 pinfall. The two-hander will be trying for this third win of the season after winning the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Masters and Barbasol PBA Players Championship.

Joining Kent and Belmonte in Sunday’s finals will be no. 3 qualifier four-time Tour winner Rhino Page of Orlando who finished with a 7,191 pinfall and no. 4 qualifier 18-time Tour champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who finished with 7,181.

“I knew the pattern today would be easier than what we had been bowling on,” said Belmonte, who owns 14 career PBA Tour titles. “You still have to execute because pin carry becomes something you have to deal with. I went into this round taking it shot by shot and wasn’t going to be afraid of what was going to happen down lane.”

From right to left: Larsen, Tackett, Svensson, Smallwood and Daugherty.

Players who qualified fifth through ninth bowling in Saturday’s stepladder round to determine the no. 5 qualifier for Sunday’s stepladder finals telecast will be two-time tour winner Thomas Larsen of Denmark, reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., Jesper Svensson of Sweden, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., and Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla.

Trey Ford III, the 16-year-old PBA member from Bartlesville, Okla., fell short of making the top nine by 94 pins finishing 11th with a 6,941 pinfall (216.9 average) to record highest PBA Tour finish.

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PBA Oklahoma Open – Fourth Round Standings

Players with position, hometown and 32-game total. Positions 1-4 advance to Sunday’s stepladder finals. Positions 5-9 advance to stepladder round on Saturday that will determine no. 5 qualifier for Sunday’s finals.

1, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 7,278
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 7,208
3, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 7,191
4, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 7,181
5, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 7,108
6, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 7,101
7, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 7,055
8, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 7,042
9, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 7,035

Missed Cut:
10, Stuart Williams, England, 6,948, $4,000
11, Trey Ford III, Bartlesville, Okla., 6,941, $3,500
12, Dom Barrett, England, 6,923, $3,000
13, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 6,913, $2,900
14, (tie) Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 6,898, $2,500
and Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 6,898, $2,500
16, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 6,889, $2,200
17, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 6,883, $2,000
18, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 6,881, $1,900
19, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 6,873, $1,800
20, Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., 6,869, $1,700
21, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 6,848, $1,700
22, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 6,835, $1,500
23, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 6,814, $1,450
24, Zulmazran Zulkifli, Malaysia, 6,812, $1,400
25, Sam Cooley, Australia, 6,805, $1,350
26, Kyle Sherman, O’Fallon, Mo., 6,792, $1,300
27, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 6,786, $1,250
28, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 6,771, $1,200
29, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 6,761, $1,150
30, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 6,735, $1,100
31, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 6,732, $1,050
32, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 6,677, $1,025
33, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 6,561, $1,000

Herbert Bickel

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