ARLINGTON, Texas – Jakob Butturff continued striking at a torrid pace Friday as he extended his lead on the field after the first two rounds of qualifying at the 2019 PBA Hall of Fame Classic.
The left-hander flirted with breaking the PBA’s 12-game block record but fell just short in shooting 3,031 for 12 games, a 252.58 average. Mike Aulby holds the 12-game record with 3,083 set in 1996.
With just six games of qualifying remaining before the cut is made to the top five, Butturff seems nearly a lock to make the stepladder finals. He leads Jason Belmonte of Australia by 175 pins going into Saturday morning’s final round, which will be broadcast live on FloBowling.
Heading into the final game Friday night, Butturff could have tied Aulby’s record with a 249 game or broken it with 250 or higher. Instead, he bowled his lowest game of the tournament, 197, to close out the night.
“I came up short of the record, but a record’s a record, and winning a title is just as important. When I bowl, I always put my foot down,” Butturff said. “I may lead by 300 pins, but I’m never going to let my opponent think it’s a gimme. I have a pretty comfortable lead, but I’m still going to give it the best I’ve got. I know the other guys are capable of putting up big numbers.”
In the race to try and keep up with Butturff, Belmonte put together another solid block Friday as he sits in second with 2,856, a 238 average. Bill O’Neill and Jason Sterner are another 100 pins back tied in third with 2,756.
The field of 70 bowlers was cut to the top 18 heading into the third and final qualifying round. In a roll-off for the final spot after finishing tied at 2,590, Kyle Troup defeated Martin Larsen, 218-211, to advance.