Eight elite players battle for a Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour title at Thunderbowl
Allen Park, Mich.—The PBA Tour Finals return to Thunderbowl as an elite field of eight PBA Tour professionals compete for the title. Earning their entries based on competition points over the past two seasons, the players will compete in qualifying rounds beginning Saturday at noon ET on CBS Sports Network. The stepladder finals and championship match air Sunday beginning at noon ET on CBSSN.
Here are some of the top storylines heading into the 2021 PBA Tour Finals:
Troup is the Defending Champion and Top Seed
Kyle Troup won the 2020 PBA Tour Finals for his third title of the season and sixth of his career. Since then, he’s won two more titles, including the 2021 PBA Players Championship as his first career major. Troup has earned a single-season PBA record $469,200 so far in 2021 and, if he can win the $30,000 first-place prize available in the PBA Tour Finals, would be a mere $800 away from reaching the half-million mark for the first time in PBA history. With Jason Belmonte withdrawing from the event for the second consecutive season, Troup takes over as the top seed.
Tackett’s History of PBA Tour Finals Success
EJ Tackett won the PBA Tour Finals twice in the four-year history of the event and made it to the championship match three times. Tackett earned the inaugural PBA Tour Finals title by defeating Belmonte in 2017, finished second to Belmonte in 2018, then won again in 2019 with a victory over Jakob Butturff. Tackett and Anthony Simonsen are the only two players in the 2021 field to have competed in all four previous PBA Tour Finals events.
PBA Tour Finals Debuts
Two of the eight players in the elite field are making their PBA Tour Finals debuts. François Lavoie, who won the Kia PBA Tournament of Champions earlier this season as well as the Guaranteed Rate PBA Super Slam and has earned $361,125 so far in 2021, enters the Tour Finals as the No. 7 seed. Right behind Lavoie in the No. 8 position is Chris Via, whose sustained performance in majors over the past couple years helped qualify him for the event. Since 2020, Via has finished in the top five in five of the seven majors he’s bowled, finally getting his first win in the 2021 U.S. Open.
PBA Tour Finals Field
The top eight players based on combined 2020 and 2021 PBA Tour points qualified for the PBA Tour Finals. The top seed, Jason Belmonte, withdrew, allowing No. 9 qualifier Chris Via to get in as the eighth seed. All other players moved up one spot:
- Kyle Troup
- Anthony Simonsen
- Kris Prather
- EJ Tackett
- Bill O’Neill
- Jesper Svensson
- François Lavoie
- Chris Via
The players are divided into two groups for the qualifying and stepladder rounds. Troup, Tackett, O’Neill and Via make up Group 1. Simonsen, Prather, Svensson and Lavoie form Group 2.
PBA Fans will be able to live-stream the PBA Tour Finals on CBS Sports Network. Select highlights will be available on @PBATour social handles across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. International fans can watch live on FloBowling.com.
PBA Tour Finals Television Schedule
Thunderbowl – Allen Park, Mich.
Saturday, June 26 at Noon ET
Group 1 qualifying (Kyle Troup, EJ Tackett, Bill O’Neill, Chris Via)
Saturday, June 26 at 2 p.m. ET
Group 2 qualifying (Anthony Simonsen, Kris Prather, Jesper Svensson, François Lavoie)
Sunday, June 27 at Noon ET
Group 1 stepladder finals
Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m. ET
Group 2 stepladder finals
Sunday, June 27 at 4 p.m. ET
Championship match (Group 1 winner vs. Group 2 winner)
PBA Tour Finals Winners Since 2017
2017 – EJ Tackett
2018 – Jason Belmonte
2019 – EJ Tackett
2020 – Kyle Troup
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.