Although it’s the third event of the summer tour, it feels like the beginning as the next six events are now coming at us rapidly. The players competing for invitations to the FloBowling ATX Invite and PBA China Tiger Cup are now one event into a solid month of nearly nonstop bowling that will determine six more champions by the end of August.
Here are the PBA Power Rankings following the PBA Harry O’Neale Chesapeake Open:
1. Jason Belmonte (previous ranking: 1)
Neither of Belmonte’s legitimate threats to No. 1 – EJ Tackett or Jakob Butturff – did enough in Chesapeake, Virginia, to usurp the top ranking. Belmonte remains at home, and we expect to see him next at the Summer Swing.
2. Jakob Butturff (3)
Butturff shot 296 in the final game of cashers round to get into the Round of 16, but the magic disappeared and he finished in 12th, unable to make it to the Round of 8. He moves into second due to Tackett’s worst finish of the season.
3. Bill O’Neill (6)
O’Neill’s second title of the season and 11th of his career propeled him to third in the power rankings. He was among the top few bowlers throughout the final day of the Chesapeake Open, earned the top seed and defeated AJ Chapman with a clutch title-match performance. O’Neill has eight top-10s on the season in addition to his second-place finish in the PBA Playoffs.
4. EJ Tackett (2)
Tackett followed his PBA Tour Finals victory with his worst finish of the season – by far. Still, this was only the sixth time all year (20 events) he finished outside the top 10 and there’s no reason to believe he won’t return to form in Wilmington, North Carolina.
5. Kris Prather (4)
Prather only drops a spot because O’Neill was impressive enough to pass him. Prather finished sixth after a captivating final-game triple-threat battle with Chris Barnes and Greg Young Jr. Prather hasn’t finished outside the top 10 since March.
6. Dom Barrett (8)
The qualifying leader through eight games dropped to fourth after four games of cashers round and ultimately ended his tournament in ninth, a mere nine pins away from the cut to the top eight for the final two games of competition.
7. Kyle Sherman (5)
Coming off his first career PBA Tour title in the PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles with partner Amanda Greene, Sherman missed the cut to the Round of 16 by only five pins and finished in a tie for 17th with Josh Blanchard.
8. Anthony Simonsen (7)
Simonsen finished 39th, his lowest since the Cheetah Championship in early March. He’s on his way to Wilmington, where he won the 2017 Wilmington Open and finished 10th in 2018.
9. Kyle Troup (9)
The 42nd-place finish for Troup was his worst since the USBC Masters in March but should be no cause for alarm for Troup fans. It would not be a surprise to see him win one of the upcoming Summer Tour events.
10. Sean Rash (10)
When Rash wasn’t rolling on the lanes, he was rolling on a device to alleviate his back pain. Despite the injury, he made it to cashers round before falling out of contention and finishing 31st.
11. Chris Barnes (15)
The big mover in this edition of the power rankings missed the stepladder by just 25 pins. Barnes and Prather spent the final game battling each other for position (a battle Barnes won), only to both be passed by Young, leaving Barnes in the FloBowling broadcast booth rather than on the lanes.
12. Tom Daugherty (11)
Daugherty finished 60th. It seems like he wasn’t close to making the cut to cashers round, but he actually wasn’t out of it until the last couple games. Regardless, he now goes to Wilmington, where he finished third last year, then Middletown, Delaware, where he was seventh, then Coldwater, Ohio, where he finished second.
13. Wes Malott (19)
Did we say Barnes was the big mover? Malott jumps five spots thanks to his fourth-place finish in Chesapeake. Malott looked nearly unstoppable during the final rounds of qualifying but fell to Young in the opening match on the stepladder.
14. Rhino Page (12)
We didn’t see Page in Chesapeake and, according to the current rosters, we won’t see him again until Coldwater, where Page won in 2017.
15. Norm Duke (14)
Only eight pins separated Duke from qualifying for the Round of 16. He was frequently in the top 10 throughout qualifying but ultimately finished 20th after cashers round.
16. Marshall Kent (13)
Kent made it to cashers round in 38th, then moved up three spots over the four games to finish 35th. He’s on to Wilmington where he finished ninth last year.
17. AJ Chapman (not ranked)
Chapman’s runner-up performance in Chesapeake was his third top-10 of the season and perhaps the first of several consecutive stepladder appearances. He was comfortable in knocking out Young and forced O’Neill to perform at his best to take the title, likely sending Chapman into Wilmington with confidence.
18. Dick Allen (17)
Allen entered cashers round in a tie for 47th and finished 46th, which was a bit of a surprise for the 2017 winner of the Chesapeake Open. He already has two titles this season and won’t surprise anyone if he wins his third in one of the upcoming summer tour events.
19. Andres Gomez (18)
Gomez didn’t have a great cashers round – he entered 41st and finished 47th – but other than the mixed doubles tournament in Houston, Gomez hadn’t finished outside the top 20 since the Cheetah Championship in March.
20. AJ Johnson (20)
During cashers round, Johnson looked like a potential champion of this event. The Round of 16 wasn’t kind and Johnson finished 11th, maintaining his 20th spot in the rankings and barely edging a couple worthy players – Blanchard and Jesper Svensson, to name two – from claiming a spot in this edition of the power rankings.
Into the top 20: Chapman
Out of the top 20: Williams