Anthony Simonsen defeated in the championship match, O’Neill wins $100,000 and first-ever WWE championship title
Centreville, Va.—Bill O’Neill claimed the final title of the 2020 PBA Tour season by defeating Anthony Simonsen in two straight games to win the 2020 PBA Playoffs.
O’Neill’s 13th career PBA Tour title and second of the season earned him a $100,000 first-prize check and an official WWE championship title. O’Neill, who finished second in last year’s PBA Playoffs, was especially gratified to earn the title this season.
“A lot of redemption,” said O’Neill, the overall number two seed. “I didn’t want to come in second again in this event. I was confident in my ball reaction and I knew if I made good shots, I was going to come away with the win.”
The championship match featured a race-to-two-points format in which one point was awarded to the winner of each game. If tied after two games, the players would go to a ninth-and-10th-frame roll-off, but O’Neill didn’t let that happen. He secured a 235-203 win in game one, then claimed the championship with a 249-195 triumph in game two.
“The back half of game two was some of the best bowling I’ve done in a long time,” said O’Neill, who rolled eight consecutive strikes to finish the second and decisive game.
O’Neill made an adjustment during his quarterfinals match that helped him feel comfortable throughout the rest of the event.
“I moved back on the approach about six inches and it gave me a little bit more time,” said O’Neill. “If I got a little too quick to start, I wasn’t cramped at the foul line, and even the shots that were just a pinch out of time were still going in the right direction.”
O’Neill put himself into the title match for the second straight year with a 235-216 quarterfinals victory over the seventh seed Kyle Troup and a 245-216 win against 14th seed Tom Smallwood in the semifinals. The title is O’Neill’s fourth in the last two seasons.
“It’s been unbelievable the last couple years,” he said. “I certainly didn’t expect to have the success I’ve had. I knew I was going to get back into the winner’s circle, but I didn’t expect all this. I owe so much of it to my dad who put in so much work with me and really knows my game in and out. He’s the one who got me ready for this event.”
Simonsen, the fourth overall seed, earned his way into the championship match by eliminating defending champion Kris Prather, 270-195, in the quarterfinals, then knocked out top seed Jason Belmonte, 285-214, in the semifinals. This was Simonsen’s fourth runner-up finish in 2020 and the first time since 2015 that Simonsen did not win at least one title.
In the other quarterfinals matches, Belmonte bested Francois Lavoie, 266-227, and Smallwood ended Brad Miller’s run, 242-194.
PBA Playoffs Round of 24 Results (Saturday, October 10, 2020 on FOX)
Bowlero Centreville, Centreville, Virginia
Losers earn $3,000
No. 18 Jakob Butturff def. No. 16 Tommy Jones, 215-214
No. 9 Francois Lavoie def. No. 24 Norm Duke, 256-193
No. 20 Dick Allen def. No. 13 Dom Barrett, 227-190
No. 12 Marshall Kent def. No. 21 Chris Via, 218-212
Round of 16 Results (Saturday, October 17 on FOX)
Losers earn $6,000
No. 1 Jason Belmonte def. No. 17 Jakob Butturff, 205-195
No. 9 Francois Lavoie def. No. 8 Sean Rash, 300-236
No. 4 Anthony Simonsen def. No. 20 Dick Allen, 258-204
No. 5 Kris Prather def. No. 12 Marshall Kent, 237-214
Round of 24 Results (Sunday, October 25, 2020 on FS1)
Losers earn $3,000
No. 18 AJ Johnson def. No. 15 Kyle Sherman, 223-166
No. 23 Nick Pate def. No. 10 Darren Tang, 207-202
No. 14 Tom Smallwood def. No. 19 Chris Barnes, 215-180
No. 11 Brad Miller def. No. 22 Tom Daugherty, 215-195
Round of 16 (Sunday, November 1 on FS1)
Losers earn $6,000
No. 2 Bill O’Neill def. No. 18 AJ Johnson, 234-190
No. 7 Kyle Troup def. No. 23 Nick Pate, 223-214
No. 11 Brad Miller def. No. 6 Jesper Svensson, 236-223
No. 14 Tom Smallwood def. No. 3 EJ Tackett, 234-227
Quarterfinals Results (Sunday, November 8 on FS1)
Losers earn $12,000
No. 1 Jason Belmonte def. No. 9 Francois Lavoie, 266-227
No. 4 Anthony Simonsen def. No. 5 Kris Prather, 270-195
No. 2 Bill O’Neill vs. No. 7 Kyle Troup, 235-216
No. 14 Tom Smallwood def. No. 11 Brad Miller, 242-194
Losers earn $25,000
No. 4 Anthony Simonsen def. No. 1 Jason Belmonte, 285-214
No. 2 Bill O’Neill def. No. 14 Tom Smallwood, 245-216
Championship Match Results
Race to two points
Winner earns $100,000, loser earns $50,000
No. 2 Bill O’Neill def. No. 4 Anthony Simonsen, 2-0
Game 1 – O’Neill def. Simonsen, 235-203
Game 2 – O’Neill def. Simonsen, 249-195
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to the sport of bowling and its professional competition, with thousands of members and millions of fans throughout the world. The PBA plays host to bowling’s biggest tournaments from the Go Bowling! PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2019, the PBA was acquired by Bowlero Corporation, the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling entertainment centers with more than 300 locations throughout North America. For more information, please visit PBA.com.