The PBA Tournament of Champions qualifying round competition came to an end on Wednesday evening, and the first cut was made. The top 24 players from a starting field of 64 have advanced to the match-play stage of the competition, which starts at 10 p.m. CET at the legendary AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio.
The 40-foot Don Johnson oil pattern is used for the Tournament of Champions, which uses the standard qualifying round format of 18 games spread over three blocks of six games, with the top 24 players moving on to round-robin match play.
Six European players started their qualifiers on Tuesday, and three of them made the cut and will fight at the match-play stage of the Tournament of Champions. Stuart Williams of England finished 2nd with 4095 total pinfall after the last 6 qualifying games, jumping in front of Jesper Svensson (Sweden), who performed a stable game through all three qualifying rounds with 4053 total and finished in 3rd position. Richard Teece (England) was the last European who made the cut in the qualifiers. 3890 total and a three-pin lead against AJ Chapman was just enough to secure the last place in the match-play stage.
Carsten Hansen of Denmark (27th), Finn Osku Palermaa (28th), and last year's Tournament of Champions winner Dom Barrett of England (33rd) did not make it to the match-play stage.
EJ Tackett, already with three titles under his belt this season, remains in the lead at the PBA Tournament of Champions.
Many memorable first-times in PBA history took place at the Tournament of Champions. From Jack Biondolillo's first-ever televised 300 game in 1967 to the first PBA Tour title won by a woman (Kelly Kulick) in 2010. The year 2023 was no exception so far. Jason Belmonte was 154 pins outside the cut going into the third round of qualifying in 51st place. He moved up to 20th place today and qualified for match-play with a field-high 1,446 series. Frank Snodgrass improved from 43rd to fifth place by averaging over 247 during the second round. He moved from outside the cut to the top five with his 300 in Game 10 and finished 22nd after the qualification round.