Russell is Top Qualifier for PBA Tournament of Champions; Belmonte Narrowly Makes Match Play Finishing 24th


Contact: Jerry Schneider | PBA Media Relations

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Russell is Top Qualifier for PBA Tournament of Champions;

Belmonte Narrowly Makes Match Play Finishing 24th

FAIRLAWN, Ohio (Feb. 8, 2018) – Four-time PBA Tour winner Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., averaged 231 to earn top qualifier honors in the PBA Tournament of Champions Thursday and leading 24 players into this evening’s first eight-game match play round at AMF Riviera Lanes.

Russell retained his second round lead with a 1,376 six-game pinfall total in the third round finishing qualifying with a 4,166 overall pinfall total for 18 games. He holds a 75-pin lead over Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., in second who posted a 4,091 pinfall total.

“I’ve really been relying on my equipment to this point,” said the 38-year-old Russell. “I’ve got a good rotation of two or three balls that I’m using and I’m making the right decisions at the right time for the most part.

“Heading into match play the plan is the old cliché, just take it one frame and one game at a time.”

After finishing qualifying in third after the second round, two-time TOC winner and four-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte struggled in the third round finishing with a 237 game to narrowly make the 24th and final match play spot by seven pins.

Belmonte, who is trying for his 10th PBA major title to tie PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Earl Anthony for most major wins, finished qualifying with a 3,920 pinfall. The two-hander got off to a bad start with games of 186, 187, 171 in the third round before finishing with games of 228, 188 and 237.

“I’m a little down on my energy because the jetlag seems to have affected me more than usual this trip,” said the Australian. “Frankly I’m kind of exhausted right now. I’mhoping I can get the energy level back for tonight’s (match play) round.

“Fortunately, there are a lot of games left and anything can happen in match play especially with the bonus pins,” the 2014 and 2015 TOC winner added. “In a long format eventlike this there’s a long way to go so there’s a lot of opportunity to move up the standings.”

Tonight’s first match play round will consist of eight head-to-head single-game matches with 30 bonus points awarded for a match win.

Match play for the first major of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season continues Friday with rounds at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET. After Friday’s match play the top five players will be determined for Sunday’s live stepladder finals on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.

Fans can catch match play rounds live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. For subscription and schedule information visit


AMF Riviera Lanes, Fairlawn, Ohio, Thursday

Third Round Standings (after 18 games. Top 24 advance to Thursday evening’s first match play round)

1, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 4,166.
2, Matt O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., 4,091.
3, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 4,081.
4, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 4,065.
5, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 4,060.
6, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 4,054.
7, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 4,053.
8, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 4,049.
9, (tie) BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., and Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 4,000.
11, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,984.
12, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,967.
13, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 3,965.
14, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,964.
15, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,963.
16, Matthew Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 3,948.
17, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 3,947.
18, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,943.
19, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,939.
20, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 3,930.
21, Kyle Sherman, O’Fallon, Mo., 3,929.
22, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 3,927.
23, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 3,925.
24, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,920.

Failed to advance:
25, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 3,913, $3,000.
26, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,906.
27, Yannaphon Larpapharat, Thailand, 3,899.
28, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,897.
29, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 3,887.
30, Ryan Ciminelli, Clarence, N.Y., 3,883.
31, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 3,882.
32, Dom Barrett, England, 3,881.
33, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,880.
34, Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., 3,878.
35, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 3,871.
36, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 3,868.
37, Rhino Page, Orlando, 3,848.
38, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,846.
39, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,845.
40, Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, 3,835.
41, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,829.
42, Stuart Williams, England, 3,822.
43, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3,820.
44, (tie) Chris Arcaro, Carolina Beach, N.C., and Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,817.
46, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,816.
47, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,811.
48, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 3,810.
49, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 3,808.
50, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 3,768.
51, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,758.
52, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,744.
53, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,737.
54, Richie Teece, England, 3,736.
55, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,731.
56, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,714.
57, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 3,713.
58, Aaron Lorincz, Center Line, Mich., 3,707.
59, Joe Bailey, Wooster, Ohio, 3,705.
60, Graham Fach, Canada, 3,692.
61, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,691.
62, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 3,687.
63, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,677.
64, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,666.
65, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 3,665.
66, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,660.
67, Kyle Mayberry, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, 3,656.
68, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,645.
69, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 3,618.
70, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 3,607.
71, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,575.
72, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 3,570.
73, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 3,567.
74, Andrew Klingler, Grand Rapids, Mich., 3,549.
75, Liz Johnson, Palatine, Ill., 3,531.
76, (tie) Michael Clark Jr., Cleveland, Ohio, and Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,515.
78, Ed Carter, Austintown, Ohio, 3,329.
79, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 3,262.
80, JT Jackson, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 3,096.

300 games (1) – Shawn Maldonado

About the PBA

In 2018 the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) celebrates its 60th anniversary. The PBA is an organization of more than 3,000 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in Go Bowling! PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, PBA Regional Tour, PBA Women’s Regional and PBA50 Tour events. The 2018 season also marks the 59th consecutive year of nationally-televised competition, reaching bowling fans around the world who follow PBA activities through the PBA Network which includes Xtra Frame, the PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, ESPN and CBS Sports Network, and the PBA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. PBA sponsors include Barbasol, Brunswick, Ebonite International, GEICO,,, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to

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About Me

Brian grew up in New York before moving to Phoenix, AZ in 1991. He has been involved in writing for his own bowling publication called “Striking Spotlight.” He has been published in the Desert Bowler Newspaper, Windy City News Newspaper and the Bowlers Journal. Hirsch is a Youth Director in the Kenosha USBC and a former Director for the Metro Phoenix USBC. As a Level 1 and RVP USBC coach, he can be found coaching his wife Amber and their son Masen each Saturday morning. Hirsch currently has (6) 300’s and (4) 800’s and is a member of the International Gay Bowling Organization where he is a five-time IGBO Champion and a six-time Arizona State Grand Canyon State Games Medalist. The Hirsch’s moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family and assist the Freedom Farm for Vets. Hirsch’s home bowling center is Sheridan Lanes, located in Kenosha, WI.


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