As qualifying at the PBA Cheetah Championship went into overtime at Bowlero Wauwatosa, it took the top five bowlers more than 20 games to separate themselves at the Guaranteed Rate PBA World Series of Bowling XIV.
The top four - BJ Moore, EJ Tackett, Joseph Grondin, and Jakob Butturff - secured their place at the PBA WSOB XIV Cheetah Championship Stepladder finals, but the fifth finalist had to be determined in a roll-off.
Swede James Blomgren fired 269 in his final game, so for AJ Johnson to match Blomgren's 4,638 total, he needed all three strikes in the tenth frame. And he delivered. In the tie-breaker, fortune favored the American, who clinched the remaining spot in the Cheetah Championship's finals for a chance to win his first career PBA Tour title.
No European bowling player managed to advance to the finals, meaning the PBA Tour title at the WSOB XIV Cheetah Championship will not be Europe's first PBA Tour title this year. Tomas Käyhkö of Finland was the closest one so far, finishing third at the 2023 U.S. Open back in February.
Overall, Cheetah Championship was quite successful for twenty-five bowlers of the Old Continent. Two bowlers - Swede James Blomgren and Santu Tahvanainen of Finland - finished in the top 10 and five in the top 20.
All players at the Cheetah Championship performed high-scoring games, with only nine out of one hundred twenty bowlers below 200 average. 13 players scored 300 during four Cheetah Championship qualification rounds.
The WSOB XIV continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with PBA Scorpion Championship qualifying.
Combined scores from the Cheetah, Scorpion, and Shark Championships (60 games total) make up the World Championship qualifying. The top 12 players will advance to PBA World Championship Match Play on Thursday, April 20th, for a chance to win the season's fourth Major and a prize fund of $100,000.