The players seeded No. 5-9 after the match-play stage of the 2023 U.S. Open competed in a five-person stepladder competition live on FS1 Saturday. Kyle Troup (No. 5 seed) won a tight match against magically performed Justin Knowles (No. 9 seed), to advance on Sunday’s stepladder finals live on FOX.
5-9 seed Play-in started with Michigan derby - Justin Knowles against Frank Snodgrass. Although it was the first televised PBA final for J. Knowles, F. Snodgrass was the one dealing with pressure and it reflected in his ability to strike in the first five frames. Having striked only once, he fell behind from the beginning, while J. Knowles started with a triple and took the early lead, which was just enough to wrap up victory at the first step of Play-in stepladder with a result 211-203.
Moving on, Michigan bowler Justin Knowles met No. 7 seed, Marshall Kent. Although Kent got a 7-10 split to start, making room for an early lead to J. Knowles, it wasn't long enough until M. Kent found his way to strike. He made a hambone until the commercial break, getting his confidence back. Everything was on M. Kent's side until the last two frames, where he couldn't convert two 2-10 splits in a row, giving a second win to J. Knowles in Play-in stepladder 206-191.
Win shares didn't end in the third step of a Play-in stepladder either, where J. Knowles met 'Danish dynamite' Thomas Larsen. Although both bowlers made open frames before the break, with J. Knowles blaming it on an early cough from the crowd, he was the one to come out dry in the last frames of the game consolidating another victory with a result of 215-190.
After a win at the third step, Kyle 'let the fro go' Troup was the last man standing between J. Knowles and the spot in tomorrow's Finals on FOX. Both athletes demonstrated top game performance until the eighth frame, when Knowles couldn't convert a 2-4-6-10 split, falling behind Kyle Troup by 13 pins. However, Troup didn't fully take advantage and made it interesting only making a spare in the ninth, a strike and a mark in the tenth frame, but Knowles made a 2-4-6-10 split again and lost by the result of 215-191.
Kyle Troup will join seeds No. 1-4 Sunday for another round of stepladder competition, this one to determine the 2023 U.S. Open champion.
It is also worth mentioning that Justin Knowles took the longest road to the televised finals possible, not just because he earned the last spot at No. 5-9 seed stepladder finals, but also being invited to the U.S. Open day before it started.
'I was on a waitlist, got a phone call midway through the match and it was Rob saying that I got the spot. Wife drove my dog and kids three hours to my parents, we got in a car and drove to the Indie. Got here at 2 A.M., woke up, and had a great PTQ'.
Besides, he made six straight strikes in the final game of qualifying to advance match-play by only 5 pins.
Sunday’s stepladder finals will be broadcast live on FOX at 8 P.M. CET.