TOKYO, Japan – Past winners Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., and Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, were among five Professional Bowlers Association members to advance to the eight-player match play finals in the Round1 Japan Cup Friday at Round1 Minami Suna Bowling Center.
Three additional PBA members, including Player of the Year contender Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.; Rookie of the Year contender E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and two-handed star Osku Palermaa of Finland also advanced to the championship round along with three Japan PBA members – Kazuaki Watanabe, Shinichi Horie and Yuya Katoh – who will try to end Japan’s 24-year title drought in the event.
The Round1 Japan Cup is a special PBA Tour event that includes 16 PBA players who qualified based upon a season-long competition points race. Four other PBA members were invited by the organizing committee and eight other PBA members – including Tackett – advanced into the 64-man tournament field in the Pre-Tournament Qualifier. The finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. ET.
Jones, who won the tournament in 2004, ‘05 and ‘10, will try to join PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III as the second four-time winner of the Japan Cup. Barnes won the event in 2003. Rash, Tackett, Palermaa and the three JPBA players are trying for their first Japan Cup title.
“It’s been a great year and I’m going to try to keep the momentum going,” said Rash, the reigning PBA Player of the Year who is trying for his third title of the 2012-13 season and the eighth of his career. “In the players’ mind, this is our fifth major and it would be great to win it one time.”
Tackett, who also is trying for his first PBA Tour title in his second television appearance, led the Japan Cup after the 10-game qualifying round on Thursday. In this PBA television debut, he finished fourth in the Milwaukee Open earlier in the year.
“I had no idea what to expect,” the 21-year-old rookie said. “After making it out of the PTQ and then leading qualifying, it gave me a lot of confidence coming into today. I bowled well and was throwing it good so I came into today telling myself to do what I did the day before and I was able to do that.
“It’s awesome to have the opportunity to bowl here during my rookie year, and it’s pretty cool that it’s my first time here and I made the show.”
In the opening round of the match play finals, Jones will meet Tackett, Barnes will bowl against Watanabe, Palermaa is matched up against Katoh, and Rash will bowl Horie in one-game matches. Winners will advance to semifinal round with those winners meeting in the championship match.
The PBA Tour’s 2013-14 season on ESPN begins Sunday at 1 p.m. ET with the finals of the PBA Cheetah Championship.
ROUND1 JAPAN CUP
Round1 Minami Suna, Tokyo, Japan, Friday
CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS (one-game matches; winners advance to semifinal and championship rounds on ESPN, Sunday, Jan. 12, 1 p.m. ET)
Match One – Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., vs. E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind.
Match Two – Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, vs. Kazuaki Watanabe, Japan.
Match Three – Osku Palermaa, Finland, vs. Yuya Katoh, Japan.
Match Four – Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., vs. Shinichi Horie, Japan.
ROUND OF 16 (best of five games; winners advance to television finals)
Katoh def. Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 3-2.
Tackett def. Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3-0.
Horie def. Yoshimi Kitaoka, Japan, 3-1.
Watanabe def. Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 3-2.
Jones def. Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 3-1.
Palermaa def. Isao Yamamoto, Japan, 3-1.
Rash def. Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3-0.
Barnes def. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3-0.
ROUND OF 32 (best of five winners, winners advanced to Round of 16)
LaCaze def. Subaru Nagano, Japan, 3-0.
Katoh def. Kenta Onishi, Japan, 3-1.
Malott def. Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3-2.
Tackett def. Kim Young Kwan, Korea, 3-2.
Kitaoka def. Hidekazu Wada, Japan, 3-1.
Horie def. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3-2.
Watanabe def. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3-1.
Page def. Yugo Imakita, Japan, 3-1.
Fagan def. Eisuke Miyazaki, Japan, 3-1.
Jones def. Takeo Sakai, 3-1.
Palermaa def. Kim Young Pil, Korea, 3-1.
Yamamoto def. Keisuke Aita, Japan, 3-1.
Rash def. Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 3-1.
Russell def. Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3-0.
Barnes def. Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3-0.
Belmonte def. Fumihiro Yoshida, Japan, 3-2.
ROUND OF 64 (best of five games, winners advanced to Round of 32)
LaCaze def. Ryo Nishimura, Japan, 3-2.
Nagano def. Toshifumi Kojima, Japan, 3-0.
Katoh def. Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3-0.
Onishi def. Masayuki Koyama, Japan, 3-1.
Norton def. Shigeo Saito, Japan, 3-1.
Malott def. Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 3-1.
K.Y. Kim def. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3-0.
Tackett def. Manabu Emura, Japan, 3-2.
Kitaoka def. Dan MacLelland, Canada, 3-1.
Wada def. Yoichi Hirayama, Japan, 3-2.
Horie def. Tetsuya Kobayashi, Japan, 3-1.
Bohn def. Aki Nawa, Japan, 3-0.
Watanabe def. Satoshi Tsushima, Japan, 3-0.
Weber def. Choi Won Young, Korea, 3-0.
Imakita def. Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 3-2.
Page def. Akio Ishirara, Japan, 3-0.
Fagan def. Jake Peters, Decatur, Ill., 3-0.
Miyazaki def. Takeshi Suda, Japan, 3-2.
Jones def. Akihiro Sunako, Japan, 3-2.
Sakai def. Kim Hyun Bum, Korea, 3-2.
Y.P. Kim def. Shigeyuki Mizuno, 3-1.
Palermaa def. Kenichi Kadokawa, Japan, 3-0.
Yamamoto def. Nobuhito Fujii, Japan, 3-0.
Aita def. Nathan Urrutia, Japan, 3-2.
Rash def. Masami Abe, Japan, 3-1.
Blanchard def. Kiyoshi Nakari, Japan, 3-0.
Russell def. Kentarou Masuchi, Japan, 3-2.
Loschetter def. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 3-1.
O’Neill def. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3-0.
Barnes def. Shinichiro Tamai, Japan, 3-1.
Yoshida def. Yasuyuki Sedamatsu, Japan, 3-1.
Belmonte def. Akiyoshi Hokura, Japan, 3-0.