LAKE WALES, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2019) – Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, outlasted seven other top money earners from the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season and defeated EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, in the championship match to win the $50,000 winner-take-all prize in the second PBA Clash which aired Sunday on FOX Sports from the Kegel Training Center.
The 25-year-old left-hander, who has won three titles in 2019 including the USBC Masters for his first major, got off to an inauspicious start in the championship match, throwing a gutter in the first frame. He learned from his mistake, converted the spare, and threw strikes on nine of his next 11 shots to beat Tackett, the 2019 Barbasol PBA Tour Finals winner, 258-244, for the win.
“If I’m executing the way I should, throwing the ball out to the gutter is my best look and where I get the best results,” said Butturff. “Obviously you don’t want to throw it (into the gutter) in a critical situation but if it’s going to happen that’s the place to do it because you have time to recover.”
The eliminator format event showcased the season’s top eight money earners from the 2019 season concluding with the FloBowling ATX Invite in September. In addition to Butturff and Tackett, other players earning berths in the non-title special event were Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte, Sean Rash, Anthony Simonsen, Kris Prather, Bill O’Neill and 55-year-old PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke.
Competition began with all eight bowlers completing a 10th frame opening round with the low score eliminated. The seven remaining players then bowled subsequent rounds which consisted of a one-ball, low-man-out format. The two survivors advanced to the complete-game winner-take-all finale.
After the 10th frame round, Prather, the winner of the $100,000 first prize in the inaugural PBA Playoffs in June, was eliminated with a nine-count for the frame after leaving the 2-8 and failing to convert the spare.
Butturff faced early elimination in the 10th frame round after leaving 2-4-6-7-10 split on his first ball, but he converted the spare and struck on the final ball to advance to the second elimination round.
“It was a bad shot; I thought it was the end of the tournament for me,” said Butturff, who was eliminated late in the one-ball elimination round of the inaugural Clash in 2018. “If I make the spare, it’s probably going to be the most difficult spare I’ve made on TV so I told Kris (Prather) it would be awesome for the TV show if I can make it. You have nothing to lose at that point so the pressure’s off – just take your best shot and hope for the best.”
In the one-ball elimination that made up rounds 2-6, Tackett and Butturff were the last two players left standing with a strike and nine-count, respectively. They outscored 2019 PBA Players Championship winner Anthony Simonsen in the sixth round after he could only manage seven pins, leaving the 3-6-10.
Duke was eliminated in Round 2 with a seven-count after four roll-offs. O’Neill was eliminated in Round 3, which also required four roll-offs, with nine. Rash was eliminated in Round 4 with eight, and Belmonte was eliminated in Round 5 after two roll-off frames, with nine.
“A format like this really tests your ability to think on the fly so you can give yourself the best opportunity to perform in the clutch,” said Butturff, who has had issues missing easy spares at critical times in matches in the past. “In the early rounds your mindset is ‘don’t do worse than they did’ but eventually that changes to putting pressure on your opponent when you bowl head-to-head in a title match.
“You had eight guys who got here because of their ability to come through in clutch situations,” Butturff added. “It can be nerve-racking but this is what I love to do so you just get into competitive mode and get the job done.”
The 2020 PBA Tour season begins with the PBA Hall of Fame Classic Jan. 14-19 at the International Training and Research Center on the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas. The stepladder finals will air live on FS1 on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. ET.
2019 PBA CLASH FINAL RESULTS
(aired Sunday on FOX Sports)
Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz. ($50,000) def. EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 258-244.
10th Frame Elimination Round One (Low score eliminated)
1. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 30.
2. Bill O’Neill Langhorne, Pa., 30.
3. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 20.
4. Anthony Simonsen, Little, Elm, Texas, 20.
5. Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 20.
6. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 20.
7. EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 20.
8. Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 9 (eliminated).
One-Ball Low-Man-Out Elimination Round (low first ball count after each round eliminates players to determine final two players for championship match. Players tying for low score advance to another one-ball roll-off to break tie)
Round 2 – Duke eliminated with 7 after fourth roll-off.
Round 3 – O’Neill eliminated with 9 after fourth roll-off.
Round 4 – Rash eliminated with 8.
Round 5 – Belmonte eliminated with 9 after second roll-off.
Round 6 – Simonsen eliminated with 7.
Tackett, with 10, and Butturff with 9 in sixth round, survived to advance to title match.