Roll-off victory over Keven Williams sends Lavoie into PBA Players Championship Finals
Jupiter, Fla.—Top seed François Lavoie advanced to the PBA Players Championship Finals, striking in a one-ball, sudden-death roll-off to defeat third seed Keven Williams. As the higher seed, Lavoie had the choice of order and lane for the roll-off. He opted to bowl first on the left lane, a reversal of his pre-game belief that the right lane would be better for him.
“In hindsight, I should’ve finished the game on the left lane,” said Lavoie. “After I left the 1-2-4-8 on the right lane in the eighth frame, I knew I made the wrong decision to finish on that lane. I thought I could just keep the speed up and throw it to the spot and it would hook, but after the 1-2-4-8, I realized I didn’t have that much room to miss.”
After Williams rolled the back five strikes for 232, Lavoie had a chance to win the match in the 10th frame—on the right lane—by striking twice. He rolled the first strike but left a 4 pin on his next shot. A spare tied him with Williams, requiring a sudden-death roll-off to decide the winner.
“I never got super comfortable on the lanes,” said Lavoie, “and when it came time for the roll-off, I didn’t want to mess around with the right lane anymore. I wanted to be done with it, throw one good shot on the left lane and see what happened.”
With a strike to begin the roll-off, Lavoie forced Williams to match in order to extend the match. Williams, who had just closed his 10th frame with three strikes on the left lane, was unable to get another, leaving a 7 pin to end his tournament.
It was the second roll-off of the day for Williams, who defeated Benjamin Martinez, 237-237 (9-8), in the second match on the telecast. Williams then got past Packy Hanrahan to earn a spot in the final match with Lavoie.
The only player in the Southwest Region Finals with a PBA Tour title, Lavoie owns four of them, including two U.S. Open titles. A win in the PBA Players Championship would be Lavoie’s third major championship and fifth title overall, which would make him performance-eligible for PBA Hall of Fame consideration.
“The majors are the ones you dream of,” said Lavoie. “The majors are the moments that make careers. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to rise to that and I think I thrive in that environment.”
Lavoie joins West Region winner Anthony Simonsen in the PBA Players Championship Finals, which will feature the winners from all five regions competing for a major championship title and a top prize of $250,000.
The PBA Players Championship Finals will air live on FOX Broadcast Channel Feb. 21.
Southwest Region Stepladder Finals Results
Bowlero Jupiter – Jupiter, Fla.
- François Lavoie, advances to PBA Players Championship Finals
- Keven Williams, earns $15,000
- Packy Hanrahan, $13,000
- Benjamin Martinez, $11,000
- AJ Chapman, $10,000
Match 1 – No. 4 Martinez def. No. 5 Chapman, 276-245
Match 2 – No. 3 Williams def. No. 4 Martinez, 237-237 (9-8)
Match 3 – No. 3 Williams def. No. 2 Hanrahan, 214-192
Match 4 – No. 1 Lavoie def. No. 3 Williams, 232-232 (10-9)
Upcoming Players Championship Television Schedule
Bowlero Jupiter – Jupiter, Fla.
Saturday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1 – Central Region Finals
Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. on FS1 – East Region Finals
Sunday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. on FS1 – South Region Finals
Sunday, Feb. 21 at 12:30 p.m. on FOX – PBA Players Championship Finals
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 PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2020, the PBA launched PBA Jr., a club for elite youth bowlers under the age of 17 and the PBA Pinsiders, a membership for fans of the sport. For more information, please visit PBA.com.