2018 PBA Gene Carter's Pro Shop Classic

We're Still Marveling At Anthony Simonsen's Back-up Brilliance

We're Still Marveling At Anthony Simonsen's Back-up Brilliance

Anthony Simonsen reverted to a back-up ball shot to win another PBA championship.

Aug 20, 2018 by Michael Gilley
Simonsen's Bag Of Tricks Wins Gene Carter

Bowling isn’t just about being able to find the right line and smashing the pocket. It also involves a lot of creativity to find the best possible combination of your game, the right ball, the right line, the right conditions, and then the guts to make those shots.

Sometimes, it takes thinking outside the box to get the job done.

Anthony Simonsen did something on Sunday afternoon during match play that few bowlers in the world have the skill, guts, and creativity to do. 

He started throwing a back-up ball.

Before understanding how crazy this sounds, think about how well Simonsen was bowling before he made this bold move. 

During qualifying, Simonsen was +223 and averaging 231.86 after seven games. In the cashers round, he was +97, averaging 218.5 after four games Sunday morning.

Then, during the first eight games of match play, Simonsen shot +191 and continued to average 223.88. He was also 5-3 in his matches. That meant, before making the jump, Simonsen was +511 and had been averaging 226.89 for 19 games.

It’s not like he was bowling poorly. But during games 9 and 10 of match-play, he shot 170 and 199 to lose both matches. Simonsen was holding on to that fourth and final spot for the stepladder finals by a thread. 

Matt Sanders was making a charge (Game 8: 238, Game 9: 267, Game 10: 205) and was 3-0 in his last three matches.

During the fill ball of game 10, Simonsen grabbed his urethane ball, stepped to the left, and launched a shot up the left side of the lane… with a back-up ball.

He liked what he saw.

In game 12, Simonsen continued to throw the back-up shot and went for a cool 245 plus a win.

At the same time, Matt Sanders lit up the scoreboard with a 279, going around Simonsen for third, while E.J. Tackett struggled and fell to fifth. 

Simonsen was still sitting fourth at the start of the 12th game of match play.

Because the final game was a position round, this meant that Simonsen was going to face-off against the hot-handed Sanders.

Prior to the match, Simonsen let Sanders know about his back-up ball strategy. Sanders is a left-handed bowler who was also playing a similar line with a urethane ball. As a result, both men would attack the lanes from the same side even though one is right-handed and the other is left-handed.

Both began striking in game 12—a lot. In the end, Simonsen held off Sanders 268-242, and Simonsen secured the No. 1 seed for the stepladder finals.

After Sanders took out No. 4 seed Kyle Troup and No. 2 seed Kameron Doyle, Sanders met up with Simonsen in the final championship match.

Again, Simonsen defeated Sanders in the championship final, 216-194, throwing the back-up shot.

During his final three games throwing the back-up ball, Simonsen shot 729, averaged 243.00 and went 3-0. 

Simonsen's brilliant decision to make a radical change in his strategy even though he had been scoring well all weekend not only saved his chances at finals, but it also won him another PBA championship. 

Welcome to the age of two-handed, urethane back-up ball, championship-level bowling.

Watch the drama unfold here in full during the stepladder final:

Gene Carter's Pro Shop - Stepladder Matches

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