In a low scoring match on the demanding 40-foot PBA Bear lane condition, Rash (pictured with PBA CEO & Commissioner Tom Clark, left, and proprietor Tom Strobl, right) beat rival and top qualifier Jason Belmonte, 178-161, in the title match of the fourth event of the PBA Fall Swing. The finals aired Wednesday on CBS Sports Network.
While neither player could get into a rhythm, Rash was helped by strikes in the first three of four frames. A missed single pin spare by three-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Belmonte was a portent of things to come as he left a 3-4-6-7 split in the fourth frame and a 3-4-6-7-10 split in the ninth frame, failing to convert either one.
“You take a tough condition like this and then you throw in the changing environment of bowling on TV where there are so many variables, from the changing lane conditions frame-to-frame to the different styles of the players in the earlier matches,” Rash continued. “It’s not like bowling on league night, believe me.”
Belmonte notched his third top-five finish in four Fall Swing events after finishing third in the Wolf Open and fourth in the Badger Open, but his bid for his first title of 2016 escape him once again.
In the semifinal match, Rash beat 10-time Tour winner and 2009 Player of the Year Wes Malott (left), 202-198, striking out in the 10th frame to take the four-pin victory. Rash also had defeated Malott, 259-195, in the title match of the Badger Open.
“I didn’t get off to a great start in the match (against Malott), so I was grateful to be in a position where I could win,” said Rash, who won PBA Player of the Year honors for the 2011-12 season. “I just stayed with the game plan of playing straighter, keep the ball in play and fill the frames. I could have probably done better but I did good enough to win.”
Rash was the first player to win back-to-back in 2016, joining Jesper Svensson (three titles) and fellow two-time winners E.J. Tackett (right) and Ryan Ciminelli as the year’s only multiple title winners.
The Detroit Open finalists earned their berths in the stepladder finals by finishing in the top five after a combined total of 36 games in the Wolf, Bear and Badger Open qualifying rounds. Belmonte led finalists with a combined 229.9 average on the three vastly different lane conditions.
In the first match of the finals, E.J. Tackett, the Bear Open winner and No. 5 qualifier, defeated Wolf Open winner and No. 4 qualifier Tom Daugherty (left), 231-159. In the second match, No. 3 qualifier Malott eliminated Tackett, 201-195, to advance to the semifinal against Rash.
All five Detroit Open finalists also qualified for the finals of the King of the Swing special event which will air Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network. Daugherty, Tackett and Rash earned their spots in the final event as Wolf, Bear and Badger Open titlists, respectively. Because Rash won two events, Malott and Belmonte also earned spots as the top players in Fall Swing points.
Australia’s Jason Belmonte tops PBA Detroit Open field
Tom Daugherty ends four-year title drought, wins PBA Wolf Open
EJ Tackett overcomes slow start to win PBA Bear Open
Sean Rash wins PBA Badger Open for milestone 10th career title
PBA Fall Swing returns to Detroit’s historic Thunderbowl Lanes
2016 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions
Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., USA (Sept. 5-11, 2016)
1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 380 (2 games), $18,000
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 161 (1 game), $9,000
3, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 399 (2 games), $5,000
4, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 426 (2 games), $4,500
5, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 159 (1 game), $4,000
From left, Jason Belmonte, Sean Rash, Wes Malott, Tom Daugherty and E.J. Tackett.
First Match: No. 5 Tackett def. No. 4 Daugherty, 231-159
Second Match: No. 3 Malott def. Tackett, 201-195
Semi-final Match: No. 2 Rash def. Malott, 202-198
Championship: Rash def. No. 1 Belmonte, 178-161.
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