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Struggles in Wichita: All European Bowlers Out in PBA Players Championship

International Bowling Federation

No European player has ever won the major PBA Players Championship, and 2024 will be no exception. The season-opening PBA Players Championship, presented by Snickers, proved to be a disappointment for European bowling players.

Following the twenty-four-game qualification round at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, all eight players from the old continent were eliminated.

The struggles for European players began early in the qualification rounds.

Jesper Svensson from Sweden, who reached the Round of 12 in this event last year, was the only one to experience the thrill of being above the cut. He finished 20th after the first qualification round with a total score of 1397 (232.83 avg.). However, in the remaining 18 games, he failed to maintain his position, ending up in 25th place, a mere 16 pins away from the cut.

Thomas Larsen of Denmark (5449 total, 227.04 avg.) finished 37th, Richard Teece (5366 total, 223.58 avg.) - 45th, Stuart Williams (5272 total, 219.67 avg.) - 61st, Dominic Barrett (5271 total, 219.63 avg.) - 62nd. Tomas Käyhkö, who reached the quarterfinals last year, ended 71st with 5187 total and a 216.13 avg. Icelander Arnar Jonsson, who qualified through the Pre-Tournament Qualifier, scored 5070 total (211.25 avg.) and ended 82nd, while Swede Kim Bolleby finished 87th (4941 total, 205.88 avg.).

Final standings of European bowling players at the 2024 PBA Players Championship

Twenty-four players advanced to the round-robin match play, led by 2016 PBA Players Championship winner Graham Fach, who scored 5761 total (240.04 avg.). Fach secured victory in the 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship in his debut year on the PBA Tour, becoming the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title. Although he hasn't secured a win since then, finishing as a top seed in the qualification will definitely boost his morale.

“I want more than one (title). One feels like a fluke,” Fach said after the qualifiaction.

Three-time PBA Players Championship winner and one of the favorites to win it again this year, Jason Belmonte, was close to being eliminated with a 176 game in Game 20. However, he managed to bounce back to the top 10, averaging 259.50 in the remaining four games of the qualification.

Three previous winners of the PBA Players Championship within the last five years—Kevin McCune, Kyle Troup, and Anthony Simonsen—have already been eliminated following the qualification rounds. This is the first time Anthony Simonsen hasn't made it into the top 10 in a PBA Tour event since July 2022.

Bowling spectators at the PBA Players Championship will witness a father-son duo in match play, as Ryan Barnes, a senior and part of the Wichita State defending national championship-winning collegiate team, qualified in seventh place. He will be facing his father, Hall-of-Famer Chris Barnes, who qualified 23rd.

The PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers Match Play Round will start today at 4 PM CET.

In the Match Play Round advancing athletes will bowl three rounds. For every match they win, bowlers will get a 30 pin bonus. This will decide the top five who will move on to the exciting stepladder finals on Monday.

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