ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Metro Detroit will be one of the world’s sports focal points this week as what would best be described as pro bowling’s “All Star Game” comes to Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park. Only the top eight money-earning bowlers over the past two years qualify to compete in the PBA Tour Finals this Friday and Saturday.
Joining defending champion E.J. Tackett will be PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, Jesper Svensson of Sweden, England’s Dom Barrett, Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, and Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois.
As you can see from this list, professional bowling has become a huge international sport, and the world will be well represented here in its official bowling capital. Take a look at what these eight athletes have accomplished:
- Tackett is an eight-time PBA Tour champion and winner of the 2016 PBA World Championship and 2017 FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.
- Belmonte is a 17-time PBA Tour titlist including nine majors and is a four-time PBA Player of the Year.
- Svensson, PBA’s 2016 Rookie of the Year, is a seven-time tour winner and the winner of the 2016 FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.
- Barrett is a six-time tour winner including the 2013 PBA World Championship and the 2018 DHC PBA Japan Invitational.
- Simonsen, a three-time Tour titlist, won the 2016 USBC Masters to become the youngest player ever to win a major title at age 19.
- Kent, the 2014 Rookie of the Year, is a four-time tour winner including the 2017 Grand Casino Hotel and Resorts PBA Oklahoma Open.
- Jones is an 18-time title winner, including the 2016 PBA Scorpion Championship, and has won two majors.
- Rash is a 12-time titlist, has won two majors and was 2012 PBA Player of the Year. He won two titles during the 2016 PBA Fall Swing.
Unlike most professional sporting events you attend, when you watch professional bowling in person you are unbelievably close to the action, and the players are usually VERY accessible for autographs after they are done (in fact, one of the cool things to do is buy a bowling pin at the event and bring a sharpie to have them sign the pin).
Tickets are available for the Friday tapings at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and the Saturday tapings at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets, which range in price from $10 to $30, may be purchased by visiting pba.com, or on site at Thunderbowl Lanes.
The tournament field will be divided into two four-player groups. The field will bowl four games of qualifying in their respective groups on a different oil pattern each game. The four game scratch totals for each player will be used to determine the seeding for a separate stepladder finals in each group. The final match of each group’s stepladder will be a best of two-game match (with ties broken by a ninth and 10th frame roll off). The two group winners will then meet in another best-of-two-game championship match.
Competing in Group 1 will be Belmonte, Barrett, Simonsen and Rash, while Tackett, Svensson, Kent and Jones will compete in Group 2.