After what happened in the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic, it will be awfully tough to top that this week but the PBA Tour must roll on.
The best in the game are on their way to Shawnee, Oklahoma, for the PBA Oklahoma Open, which gets underway Wednesday live on FloBowling.
Tommy Jones will, of course, still be riding a high after shooting 300 and winning the Hall of Fame Classic, and he will be joined in an expanded field this week in Oklahoma.
With more lanes available, there will be 88 players in the field with all the big names ready to do battle again.
Here are a few key points to get you ready for the PBA Oklahoma Open:
Butturff is back to defend
Last year in Oklahoma, Jakob Butturff picked up the first of what would be three wins in the 2019 season, and he’ll look to repeat that this week.
Butturff, who made the show at the Hall of Fame Classic but lost in the opening match to finish fifth, defeated Jesper Svensson, 267-201, to win the 2019 Oklahoma Open.
Diehard fans will remember that match featured a small amount of drama around Butturff using an infinity cube that made noise and agitated Svensson. The cube seems to have since been retired, and we don’t expect a repeat of that incident.
Also making the show last year was Patrick Girard (third), Dom Barrett (fourth) and Tom Daugherty (fifth).
The format and lane conditions
The format this week is nearly identical to last week’s PBA Hall of Fame Classic, and it’s also the final PBA-run national event this winter with multiple qualifying squads.
There will be two six-game rounds of qualifying on Wednesday and Thursday with two squads each day. The top 16 players will advance to match play.
All other PBA-run events this season will be limited to one squad for qualifying. The U.S. Open and USBC Masters, both of which are run by USBC, will have multiple qualifying squads.
After qualifying ends, the 16 advancing players will bowl two eight-game rounds of match play on Friday to determine the five stepladder finalists. With more lanes available this week, the PBA is able to advance 16 into match play versus the 14 who advanced last week.
As for lane patterns, it’s another dual pattern week and they couldn’t be more different. The left lane will be contested on the 45-foot Dragon, while the right lane will have the 32-foot Wolf.
How to watch
All qualifying and match play rounds will be broadcast live exclusively on FloBowling on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The stepladder finals on Sunday will be broadcast live on FS1 (United States) and FloBowling (international).
What the schedule looks like
Here’s the schedule for this event. All times listed are Eastern:
Wednesday, Jan. 22
Noon - Qualifying Round 1, Squad A (six games)
6 p.m. - Qualifying Round 1, Squad B (six games)
Thursday, Jan. 23
Noon - Qualifying Round 2, Squad B (six games)
6 p.m. - Qualifying Round 2, Squad A (six games)
Friday, Jan. 24
Noon - Match Play Round 1 (eight games)
6 p.m. - Match Play Round 2 (eight games)
Sunday, Jan. 26
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.