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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The PBA Players Championship kicks off the second week of Big February on the PBA Tour and starts with 18 games of qualifying for the entire 92-bowler field.
The field will be cut to the top 24 to start a grueling grind of 24 games of match play to determine the field for Saturday’s show. And all of these games will be played on the new 2020 PBA Wayne Webb 38 pattern.
This pattern, named after the center’s host and multi-time PBA titlist Wayne Webb, is 38 feet long, 29.55ml of volume and a ratio of 2.14:1.
Urethane was the talk of the paddock in practice. The weaker core and urethane cover will be a popular choice among the players to start here in Columbus to keep their reactions predictable and their ball reactions hard hitting.
The harder Brunswick Pro-Anvilane surface will make the shot tight throughout the block. And with urethane going down the lane, the shot will get even more difficult for players who can’t get the right line with reactive resin.
“There is a lot of friction to start,” former PBA Player Of The Year Andrew Anderson said after practice Monday. “I will probably expect it will get tighter tomorrow. So urethane might be less in play. But I expect the majority to use urethane.”
As urethane traffic wreaks havoc on the pattern, some players may be forced to make big leaps left and play very deep angles very quickly getting their ball a handful of boards from the gutter around 40 feet down lane. This look will be much similar to how Kris Prather played the lanes last week en route to his first major victory at the PBA Tournament of Champions.
Cleaner covers and symmetrical cores will be go-to choices for players who want to get deep to get away from the torched front part of the lane that urethane will create. That combination helps get the ball through the front part of the lane and make the turn on the backend. Asymmetric cores will react too early and cause unpredictable reactions.
Ball choices will be similar to how they were at the Tournament of Champions last week. But this week, it looks like urethane will be more in play than last week due to the shorter length.
And if you are a lefty and throwing urethane, you have a good opportunity to score well this week. Matt Russo dominated the PTQ using urethane Sunday and he’s a lefty two hander. Keep an eye out for Jesper Svensson, Jakob Butturff and other southpaws to potentially knock down a lot of pins this week on this pattern.
When you watch the FloBowling livestream this week, you will see how wide of an area the players will be playing. Some will be playing urethane down the track area or farther right (or left). Some will possibly get airborne lofting the gutter to get out of the drier front part of the lane.
It’s another major week on the PBA Tour and it will be exciting to watch how the best bowlers in the world battle this tough Wayne Webb pattern.