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CENTREVILLE, Va. – After losing in last year’s PBA Playoffs finals, Bill O’Neill left with a plan to attack the lanes smarter the next time he had this chance. The result was a $100,000 payday as he won the 2020 PBA Playoffs.
O’Neill, who got swept in the best-of-three final match last year by Kris Prather, took out the broom himself this year and swept Anthony Simonsen, 2-0, to win the event at Bowlero Centreville.
In the finals that aired Sunday, O’Neill defeated Simonsen 235-203 and 249-195 to secure the title in the best-of-three points final. In addition to the trophy, O’Neill also received a WWE championship belt as part of a cross-promotion between the PBA and the professional wrestling organization.
“I didn’t bowl good against Prather last year; I played the lanes poorly,” said O’Neill, who now has 13 career titles. “It’s been sitting with me ever since then. I told myself if I ever got back to this position I had to bowl smarter. I had to bowl wiser.
“I’ve been working a lot with my dad at home on some technical things – just small things most people wouldn’t even see but my dad sees it,” he said. “It really worked and it paid off today.”
In the end, O’Neill wasn’t really challenged by Simonsen in the final. In the first game, O’Neill just needed a mark and struck out. In the second game, he pulled away by throwing eight consecutive strikes to end the event.
The win in the season-ending Playoffs gave O’Neill his second title of the season. In February, he won his second major in 10 years when he took home the PBA Players Championship title.
O’Neill advanced into the final match with an easy 245-216 win over Tom Smallwood, while Simonsen took down Jason Belmonte, 285-214.
In the quarterfinals, which aired Sunday before the semifinals and final, Belmonte defeated Francois Lavoie, 266-227, while Simonsen took down defending champion Kris Prather, 270-195. O’Neill knocked off Kyle Troup, 235-216, and Smallwood advanced with a 242-194 win over Brad Miller.