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Smallwood Seeks PBA Players Championship Triumph After 6-Year Wait

Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Players Championship finalists: Tom Smallwood, Bill O'Neill, Nate Stubler, Ryan Barnes,
PBA Players Championship stepladder finalists | Via: Professional Bowlers Association (PBA)

Tom Smallwood finds himself on the brink of a major victory, sitting comfortably as the top seed in the upcoming PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers.

Six years after his last major win, Smallwood's stellar performance, averaging over 237 across 48 games, secured him a No. 1 seed spot in the stepladder finals.

The championship round, set to air at 11 PM CET on Monday, January 15, on FOX, promises intense bowling competition as Smallwood is not the only player who knows the taste of vitory at the PBA Players Championship.

Bill O’Neill, 2020 PBA Players Championship winner, who could have seized the top seed from Smallwood with a position round win, faced challenges, scored 190 on the high-scoring Wayne Webb oil pattern and finished second, meaning 42-year-old must win twice now in order to capture his third major title on PBA Tour.

Nate Stubler, a rising star and a finalist for the 2023 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year award, earned the No. 3 seed, marking his television debut on PBA Tour as the lone left-hander in the championship round.

Ryan Barnes, son of Hall of Famer Chris Barnes, made his first career PBA championship round appearance, clinching No. 4 seed. A senior and part of the Wichita State defending national championship-winning collegiate team, has four years worth of Northrock experience and notes on almost every pair in the 48-lane center, making him a extremely dangerous competitor.

Chris Via, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, secured the No. 5 seed. Via, aiming for his second career title, has been a consistent contender in major finals over the past two seasons. 31-year-old US Open winner will face Ryan Barnes in the opening match, followed by matchups against Nate Stubler, Bill O’Neill, and finally, top-seeded Tom Smallwood.

The championship round, set to air at 11 PM CET on Monday, January 15, on FOX.

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