By all standards normally applied to a Professional Bowlers Association tournament, the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic
shouldn’t even appear on the radar screen. But next week, the 11th annual edition of the PBA Xtra Frame Tour event returns as a “can’t miss” event on the schedule of many of the PBA’s top stars.
Held in Coldwater, Ohio, a community of just over 4,000 residents, and hosted by Pla-Mor Lanes, a 16-lane facility renowned for its challenging scoring conditions, the Kenn-Feld Group Classic will again feature a sold-out field of 96 PBA members including defending champion Rhino Page (featured photo) of Orlando, Fla., and a number of PBA Tour champions including a sprinkling of PBA Hall of Famers.
The entire tournament will be live-streamed by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling, and will include a new FloBowling option that will allow subscribers to watch the action on all eight pairs of lanes, from start to finish, Saturday and Sunday.
“Because it’s a small rural community, and held in a 16-lane center where it’s hard to knock down 10 pins, if you win, you feel like you’ve conquered something if you win here,” said PBA Central Region Manager Bobby Jakel, who manages the tournament.
“It’s one of those things, where moving from pair to pair, they play differently. It’s more than getting the ball to the pocket; it’s a matter of knocking down 10 pins. You can shoot 230 on one pair and 150 on the next. That’s the nature of the center.”
That basically describes the challenge for the players. It features all of the tests of skills players will find in a U.S. Open, but in a smaller scale. But the scoring challenges are only part of the reason why PBA members like to come to Coldwater.
“The proprietors (Rick Hartings and his father Linus) are just amazing people,” Jakel said. “The whole community is great. It’s a special event.”
And the format is appealing. Because Pla-Mor Lanes is a small 16-lane facility, small by PBA tournament standards, a special schedule was created to allow the event to accommodate 96 players: 32 bowling eight qualifying games each on three different squads on Saturday, with the top 32 advancing to Sunday’s final rounds.
“A number of PBA tournaments have adopted the eliminator format that originated in Coldwater,” Jakel said. “It’s a format that is based on the idea that the more pins you knock down, the longer you stay in the tournament.”
Sunday’s schedule begins with a four-game cashers round for Saturday’s top 32 at 10 a.m. Based on 12-game totals after the cashers round, the top 16 will bowl three more games at 12:30 p.m. After the Round of 16, the top eight based on 15-game totals move on to the Round of 8, where they will bowl two more games. Based on 17-game totals, the top four will compete in the stepladder finals at 3:30 p.m.
A win in Coldwater could also have other impacts. Last year’s win, followed by a victory in the U.S. Open, helped Page (left) secure the “Best Bowler” award at ESPN’s annual Espy Awards ceremony. A win this year could help contenders in the PBA Player and Rookie of the Year races.
Many of the world’s premier players are headed to western Ohio following the Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic in Midddletown, Del., including EJ Tackett (right) of Huntington, Ind. and Andrew Anderson (below left) of Holly, Mich., who have both won two PBA Tour titles this year.
Others in the field with one 2018 PBA Tour title include Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz.; Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J.; Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich.; Dick Allen of Lexington, S.C., and 21-year-old Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, a two-handed right-hander who won last Sunday’s title in Delaware by throwing a reverse hook (“backup ball”) from the left side of the lane – a unique feat in PBA Tour history.
Twenty-one additional PBA Tour titlists entered include Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y.; Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn.; PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III (right) of Jackson, N.J.; Ryan Ciminelli of Clarence, N.Y.; Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla.; Graham Fach of Canada; Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa; Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.; Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio; Anthony LaCaze of Elgin, Ill.; Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio; Jake Peters of Henderson, Nev.; Connor Pickford of Charlotte, N.C.; Kurt Pilon of Warren, Mich.; Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.; Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind.; Matt Sanders of Indianapolis; Jason Sterner of Atlanta, Ga.; Richie Teece of England, and Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C.
Mix the established champions into a field of talented young players who are out to make a name for themselves in PBA competition, and you have the makings for an exciting conclusion to PBA’s Xtra Frame Tour season.
The Kenn-Feld Group Classic gets underway on Friday, Aug. 25, with a practice session for tournament players at 2 p.m., followed by pro-am squads at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. when Coldwater area grassroots league bowlers – men, women, kids, seniors – can bowl with PBA stars for their own prizes. For pro-am information, call Pla-Mor Lanes at 419-678-3113.
Competition begins with eight-game qualifying squads on Saturday at 8 a.m., 1:30 and 7 p.m. The top 32 players after eight games will advance to a four-game cashers round Sunday at 10 a.m. After 12 games, the top 16 will bowl an additional three games at 12:30 p.m. Based on 15-game pinfall totals, the top eight will bowl two more games to determine the top four stepladder finalists based on 17-game pinfall totals. The finals will take place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
2018 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions
PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic Schedule
Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater, Ohio, USA (Aug. 24-26, 2018)
All times Eastern
Friday, Aug. 24, 2018
2 p.m. – Practice session
5:30 and 8:30 p.m. – Pro-am squads
Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018
8 a.m. – A Squad, 8 qualifying games
1:30 p.m. – B Squad, 8 qualifying games
7 p.m. – C Squad, 8 qualifying games
Top 32 players after 8 games advances to Sunday’s cashers round
Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018
10 a.m. – Cashers round, 4 games (top 16 after 12 games advance to Round of 16)
12:30 p.m. – Round of 16, three games (top 8 based on 15 games advance to Round of 8)
2 p.m. – Round of 8, two games (top 4 based on 17 games advance to stepladder finals)
3:30 p.m. – Top four stepladder finals