After back-to-back majors on the PBA Tour, the Go Bowling! PBA Indianapolis Open this week is just a standard PBA Tour event, though it may feel like more.
With the same format as the PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA Players Championship that preceded it, the Indianapolis Open features a hefty prize fund and stacked field competing live on FloBowling.
In fact, the Indianapolis Open pays $30,000 for first place. That’s on par with two other majors – the United States Bowling Congress Masters and the U.S. Open. So, the stakes will be high even if it’s not considered a major.
Here are a few key points to get you ready for the Indianapolis Open:
Will lefties have a better look this week?
It’s no secret that left-handers have struggled mightily the past two weeks during the Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship. A lot of lefties are frustrated and feeling shut out. That could change this week.
Last year, when the Indianapolis Open was called the 60th Anniversary Classic, lefty Jakob Butturff won the event by defeating Marshall Kent, 244-154. Two other lefthanders, Keven Williams and Matt Sanders, also made the show.
The past two weeks on the PBA Tour only three lefties have made the cut with Rhino Page carrying the torch at the TOC and Jesper Svensson and AJ Rice making the top 24 at the Players Championship.
Woodland Bowl did not host a PBA tournament in 2017 but it did host the USBC Masters in 2016 and the TOC in 2015. Although no lefthanders made the show at the Masters that year, three lefties made the TOC show in 2015 with Page, Ryan Ciminelli and Scott Norton contesting for the title.
Will the lefties feel a little bit better after this week? We’ll find out soon enough.
The long road trip continues
Considering the PBA Tour is making short jumps south and west going from Fairlawn, Ohio, to Columbus, Ohio, and now to Indianapolis, a lot of the players are taking advantage of that and bowling week after week.
Another full field of 120 bowlers are expected this week with a vast majority of those in the FloBowling PBA Power Rankings shoeing up.
After being a late scratch last week, it is expected that Pete Weber will be back again this week and will compete along with other PBA Hall of Famers like Norm Duke, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Chris Barnes.
The format and lane conditions
Although it’s not a major, the Indianapolis Open follows the same format as the majors the previous two weeks with all bowlers on the same squad for qualifying and a heavy match-play format.
All players will bowl three six-game rounds of qualifying, the first of which gets underway at 10 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday. After 18 games, the field is cut to the top 24 players who advance to round robin match play.
The first of three eight-game blocks of match play begins at 6 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, and we will know the five finalists for the show after the third round Friday, wrapping up about 9:30 p.m. Eastern.
For the second time this season, players will face dual lane conditions this week.
The players will battle on the PBA Mike Aulby pattern, a 38-foot condition with a ratio of 1.80:1, and the 45-foot Dick Weber pattern with a ratio of 4.41:1.
Throughout the tournament, including the stepladder finals, the players will bowl on both patterns. The Weber pattern will be on the left lane and the Aulby pattern will be on the right lane.
How to watch
The live action on FloBowling gets underway Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern with the opening round of qualifying and continues through match play Friday.
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 Indianapolis 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 next week’s event, all times listed are Eastern:
Wednesday, Feb. 20
10 a.m. – Qualifying Round 1 (six games)
5 p.m. – Qualifying Round 2 (six games)
Thursday, Feb. 21
10 a.m. – Qualifying Round 3 (six games)
6 p.m. – Round Robin Match Play Round 1 (Top 24, eight games)
Friday, Feb. 22
11 a.m. – Round Robin Match Play Round 2 (eight games)
6 p.m. – Round Robin Match Play Round 3 (eight games)
Sunday, Feb. 24
3 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.