The PBA’s best will head to Lubbock, Texas, this week for the PBA Lubbock Sports Open, where Jakob Butturff will look to make some history.
The 96-player field will battle two different lane conditions throughout the event and Chris Barnes will look to defend his title live on FloBowling.
Here are a few key points to get you ready for this week’s event:
What’s on the line this week
It’s no secret that Butturff has been on fire lately. After earning the top seed at the 2018 season-ending U.S. Open, Butturff has earned the top seed in both events in 2019 so far.
No player in the history of the PBA Tour has earned the top seed in four consecutive tournaments, so it would be a milestone week for Butturff if he can accomplish the feat.
When Butturff earned the top seed last week at the PBA Oklahoma Open, he tied bowling legends like Walter Ray Williams Jr., Earl Anthony and Johnny Petraglia as the only bowlers to ever earn the top seed at three consecutive tournaments. Butturff went on to win the PBA Oklahoma Open for his first victory during that stretch.
And if last year is any indication, it’s certainly possible. Butturff led last year’s PBA Lubbock Sports Open and earned the top seed for the finals, where he lost to Barnes, 207-206.
In that championship match, Barnes won his 19th career PBA Tour title by throwing all three strikes in the final frame to edge Butturff by one pin. He’ll be back again this week to try to successfully defend his title.
The format and lane conditions
On the surface, it may look like just an ordinary week on the PBA Tour with qualifying and match play. However, if you dig a little deeper you’ll quickly realize there’s a lot more to the PBA Lubbock Sports Open than that.
Two seven-game blocks of qualifying on Tuesday and Wednesday will determine the top quarter of the field that will advance to the casher’s round on Friday morning for seven more games.
After the casher’s round, the field is trimmed to the top 16 players for 16 games of round robin match play. With 37 games in the books, the top five players will advance to the stepladder finals.
Here’s the catch. The players will be bowling on two different lane conditions this week – the 33-foot Wolf pattern and the 42-foot Scorpion pattern.
Wednesday’s first round of qualifying will be on Wolf, while Thursday’s second round will be on Scorpion. Starting in the casher’s round and throughout match play, the lanes will be conditioned with Scorpion on the left lane and Wolf on the right lane for an added challenge.
You’ll want to keep a close eye out on Friday and Saturday to see how the players attack the lanes differently throughout that portion of the tournament.
Oh, and in case bowling on television wasn’t hard enough, the stepladder finals are also going to be contested on the mixed patterns.
How to watch
The live action on FloBowling gets underway Wednesday with the opening round of qualifying and continues through match play on Saturday morning.
FloBowling subscribers will be able to watch the FloZone channel with commentary or select a specific pair to watch their favorite players.
The stepladder finals of the PBA Lubbock Sports Open will be broadcast Sunday live on FS1 at 3 p.m. Eastern for audiences in the United States. International viewers can watch live on FloBowling. An archive of the show will be available on FloBowling seven days after it airs live.
What the schedule looks like
Here’s the schedule for this week’s event, all times listed are Central:
Wednesday, Jan. 23
8 a.m. – Qualifying Round 1, Squad A (seven games)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying Round 1, Squad B (seven games)
Thursday, Jan. 24
8 a.m. – Qualifying Round 2, Squad B (seven games)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying Round 2, Squad A (seven games)
Friday, Jan. 25
8 a.m. – Cashers Round (Top 25 percent, seven games)
1:30 p.m. - Round Robin Match Play Round 1 (Top 16, eight games)
Saturday, Jan. 26
8 a.m. - Round Robin Match Play Round 2 (eight games)
Sunday, Jan. 27
2 p.m. – Stepladder finals* (Top five)
* - FloBowling live broadcast only for audiences outside the United States. The archive of the finals will be available for all audiences seven days after it airs live.