Yet another tremendous stepladder final featured a certain PBA Hall of Famer (Sean Rash), the reigning Player of the Year (Andrew Anderson), four-time champion Marshall Kent and, as of approximately 4:14 p.m. Eastern yesterday, new PBA Tour champion BJ Moore.
The summer tour continues this weekend in Middletown, Delaware, as the USBC Cup points race gets more competitive.
Here are the PBA Power Rankings following the PBA Wilmington Open:
1. Jason Belmonte (previous ranking: 1)
Copy and paste from last week: neither of Belmonte’s legitimate threats to number one – EJ Tackett and Jakob Butturff – did enough in Chesapeake to usurp the top ranking. Belmonte remains at home and we expect to see him next at the Summer Swing.
2. Bill O’Neill (3)
With an 11th-place finish in Wilmington, O’Neill resides in second on the USBC Cup points list and likewise moves into second in the power rankings. He appears to be bowling especially well at a superb time to be doing so.
3. EJ Tackett (4)
Tackett qualified 22nd and was the story of the second and final day of the event as he climbed to 12th after four games, then fifth after three more games, ultimately finishing sixth after the final two games in the round of eight.
4. Jakob Butturff (2)
Averaging a little over 207 (14 pins below his season average), Butturff’s Wilmington Open ended after full-field qualifying. His 57th-place finish was his lowest of 2019, suggesting this was nothing more than an anomaly.
5. Kyle Sherman (7)
Sherman sits on top of the USBC Cup points race after turning in a fifth-place performance in Wilmington. He was in contention for the stepladder into the final game but came up 41 pins short. It’s his fifth top 10 this season.
6. Dom Barrett (6)
The last guy into cashers round had to defeat Connor Pickford in a rolloff to earn even more bowling. Barrett used the four games of cashers round to climb to 10th. In the Round of 16, Barrett again was the last guy into the next round as he made it to eighth. In the Round of 8, Barrett again finished at the bottom of the list, but this time it left him outside the cut with an eighth-place finish.
7. Sean Rash (10)
While everyone watched the battle between Moore, Anderson and Kent for positioning in the stepladder, Rash almost covertly shot 260 and put himself past everyone. He lost the title match to Moore and now goes to Middletown, where Rash has won before.
8. Kris Prather (5)
Prather shot the first 300 of the event and qualified 10th on A squad, which would normally make a player feel pretty good about his chances to make a 32-player cut. Instead, Prather was left on the outside and finished 37th after B squad assaulted the lanes.
9. Kyle Troup (9)
Troup was another victim of B squad’s onslaught and, despite qualifying 12th on A squad, he finished 41st, following his 42nd-place finish in Chesapeake. Troup tends to do well in Middletown, so watch for him to go far in the tournament this weekend.
10. Anthony Simonsen (8)
Finishing 56th wasn’t ideal, nor is sitting 26th on the USBC Cup points list. Like Troup, though, Simonsen usually does well in Middletown, where he famously won last season while throwing a backup ball.
11. Chris Barnes (11)
Barnes made it to cashers qualifying but dropped six spots (from 17th to 23rd) during those four games. He’s sneakily climbing in USBC Cup points but still sits several spots out of the top eight, currently residing in 18th.
12. Tom Daugherty (12)
Almost the same story as Barnes. Daugherty finished 22nd in Wilmington and is 21st in summer tour points. It’s probably safe to pencil Daugherty into the cut for both Middletown and Coldwater, where he can quickly advance in the summer standings with a couple of quality finishes.
13. Marshall Kent (16)
Kent bettered last season’s ninth-place finish in Wilmington with a third-place finish this year. He rolled the front nine against Anderson in the opening match (posting a 274) before losing to eventual champion Moore in the semifinal.
14. Wes Malott (13)
This was a tough event for Malott. He officially finished 32nd but he bowled much, much better. He posted a fourth-best qualifying round in the entire field and would’ve had an excellent chance to make it to his second straight stepladder, but a back injury forced Malott to withdraw before throwing a shot for score during cashers round.
15. BJ Moore (not ranked)
Moore has only bowled nine events this year but has three top 10s among those nine in addition to two more top 20s. Lately, he’s been the guy more than anyone else fans and competitors alike have been saying is too talented not to win – and now he’s won. Moore defeated a future PBA Hall of Famer, Rash, to earn his first career PBA Tour title and move him into seventh in the USBC Cup standings.
16. AJ Chapman (17)
In the span of a week, Chapman finished second in Chesapeake and ninth in Wilmington, moving him into fifth in the summer tour standings. Chapman looks poised to seriously contend – and potentially win – in all remaining events.
17. AJ Johnson (20)
Johnson finished 12th, which is his lowest position in the past four events. He was seventh in Lubbock, second in Houston and 11th in Chesapeake. Not surprisingly, those performances have him sitting third in the summer tour points race, a mere 25 points behind O’Neill in second.
18. Stu Williams (not ranked)
Williams, possibly out of a deranged enjoyment of making the power rankings more difficult to compile, refuses to put two good tournaments or two bad tournaments together consecutively. His last four events: second in Lubbock to 24th at the Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles to a no-chance 85th in Chesapeake and then 10th in Wilmington, narrowly missing the cut to the top eight.
19. Andres Gomez (19)
Another good set of bowling for Gomez got him through cashers round and into the Round of 16, but that’s exactly where he finished – 16th. He has a fair amount of work to do in order to contend for one of the eight USBC Cup spots.
20. Josh Blanchard (not ranked)
It’s hard to knock Rhino Page from the top 20 due to his great start to the year, but he hasn’t bowled since March. However, it’s not hard to add Blanchard, who is returning to his early-season form when he finished fourth in the Tournament of Champions. Wilmington was Blanchard’s lowest finish (24th) on the summer tour and he’s 15th in USBC Cup points – well within reach of the top eight.
Into the top 20: Moore, Williams, Blanchard
Out of the top 20: Page, Duke, Allen