Ronnie Russell Takes Lead at Tournament of Champions

FAIRLAWN, Ohio (Feb. 7, 2018) – Four-time PBA Tour champion Ronnie Russell of Marion Ind., averaged 232 for two rounds Wednesday to lead 80 PBA champions in the PBA Tournament of Champions at AMF Riviera Lanes.

Finishing 22nd after the first round earlier Wednesday with a 1,330 six-game pinfall total, Russell vaulted into the lead after bowling 1,460 in the second round finishing the day with 2,790 overall for 12 games.

The 38-year-old Russell bowled games of 208, 277, 267, 264, 198 and 246 in the second round.

“Overall, I’m bowling well but in the first round I wasn’t maximizing my performance in the ninth and 10th frames,” Russell said. “I was doing a better job of finishing games off in the second round.

“There have been times when I get on a good run but get ahead of myself and I lose the shot,” Russell added. “I need to stay patient and stay within myself to avoid those mistakes. I was really encouraged by the way I came back in the last game after bowling 198.”

Russell holds a 54-pin lead over Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., in second with a 2,736 pinfall.

Four-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia finished third after two rounds with a 2,723 pinfall (226 average).

Belmonte, who won the Tournament of Champions in 2014 and 2015, also rocketed up the standings finishing 31st after the first round. Bowling 1,308 for his first six games, he came back with a 1,415 pinfall in the second round bowling games of 299, 205, 193, 214, 224, and 280.

Belmonte, who uses the unique two-handed delivery, is trying to win his 10th PBA major which would tie him for first on the all-time list with Pete Weber and Earl Anthony.  A third TOC title would also tie him for most victories in PBA’s signature tournament with Jason Couch and Mike Durbin.

In 2017, Belmonte won the USBC Masters, Barbasol PBA Players Championship and PBA World Championship to become the first player to win three majors in a season.

Rounding out the top five in the first major of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season were two more two-handers, Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, who finished the day in fourth with 2,721 and Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., who finished fifth with a 2,718 pinfall.

The entire field returns for Thursday mornings third and final qualifying round after which the field will be cut to the top 24 players who will advance to the first match play round at 6 p.m. ET. After Friday’s match play rounds at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., the top five players will be determined for Sunday’s live stepladder finals on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.

Fans can catch TOC qualifying and match play rounds on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. For subscription and schedule information


AMF Riviera Lanes, Fairlawn, Ohio, Wednesday

Second Round Standings (after 12 games. Entire field returns for third qualifying round Thursday morning)

1, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2,790.
2, Mat O'Grady, Rahway, N.J., 2,736.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2,723.
4, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 2,721.
5, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 2,718.
6, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 2,693.
7, (tie) Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., and Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 2,687.
9, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 2,686.
10, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 2,678.
11, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 2,670.
12, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 2,662.
13, Yannaphon Larpapharat, Thailand, 2,659.
14, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 2,656.
15, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 2,655.
16, Ryan Ciminelli, Clarence, N.Y., 2,653.
17, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 2,652.
18, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 2,640.
19, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2,637.
20, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 2,627.
21, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 2,625.
22, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 2,623.
23, Dom Barrett, England, 2,621.
24, Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., 2,616.
25, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 2,605.
26, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 2,599.
27, (tie) Darren Tang, San Francisco, Francois Lavoie, Canada, and Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2,595.
30, Richie Teece, England, 2,590.
31, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 2,588.
32, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 2,584.
33, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 2,578.
34, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 2,576.
35, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 2,570.
36, Matthew Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 2,569.
37, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 2,560.
38, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 2,558.
39, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 2,557.
40, Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, 2,553.
41, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 2,552.
42, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 2,551.
43, (tie) Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., and Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 2,546.
45, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 2,543.
46, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 2,533.
47, Rhino Page, Orlando, 2,531.
48, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2,521.
49, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 2,520.
50, Chris Arcaro, Carolina Beach, N.C., 2,506.
51, Stuart Williams, England, 2,505.
52, Aaron Lorincz, Center Line, Mich., 2,497.
53, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 2,489.
54, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 2,471.
55, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 2,469.
56, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 2,465.
57, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 2,463.
58, Joe Bailey, Wooster, Ohio, 2,460.
59, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 2,457.
60, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 2,456.
61, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 2,452.
62, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2,446.
63, Graham Fach, Canada, 2,440.
64, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 2,439.
65, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 2,431.
66, Kyle Mayberry, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, 2,430.
67, Liz Johnson, Palatine, Ill., 2,417.
68, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2,407.
69, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 2,396.
70, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 2,373.
71, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 2,371.
72, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 2,370.
73, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 2,360.
74, Andrew Klingler, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2,325.
75, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 2,319.
76, Michael Clark Jr., Cleveland, Ohio, 2,286.
77, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 2,231.
78, Ed Carter, Austintown, Ohio, 2,214.
79, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 2,123.
80, JT Jackson, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 1,960.