2023 PBA Cheetah Championship Finals

0:00 – Intro
4:37 – Match #1 – Johnson vs. Butturff
28:53 – Match #2 – Grondin
48:16 – Break
50:43 – Match #3 – Tackett
1:08:01 – Break
1:10:50 – Championship Match – Moore
The first five finalists at the Guaranteed Rate PBA World Series of Bowling XIV needed more than 20 games to separate themselves, as qualifying at the PBA Cheetah Championship went into overtime at Bowlero Wauwatosa.

On April 10, BJ Moore, EJ Tackett, Joseph Grondin and Jakob Butturff clinched berths in the finals, but a roll-off was needed to determine the fifth finalist.

After Sweden’s James Blomgren fired 269 in his final game, AJ Johnson needed all three strikes in the 10th frame to match Blomgren’s 4,638 total.

In the roll-off, Johnson left a pair of weak 10-pins in the seventh and ninth frames, which gave Blomgren, working on a potential 290 game, the lead entering his final frames. However, Blomgren left a high pocket 6-8 split and a weak 7-pin in his ninth and 10th frames, giving Johnson an opportunity to win the roll-off with a double and eight pins.

Once again, Johnson delivered.

“I just kept telling myself to execute and keep throwing better shots because you never know what will happen,” Johnson said. “That second one that I needed was pretty dang good.”

The 30-year-old, still seeking his first career PBA Tour title, will have an opportunity to end that clause for good. The championship round will take place Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET live on FS1.

Moore earned the top seed, achieving a 4,734 (+734) total pinfall for his 20 games. The part-time player has only competed in four events this season before the WSOB, but he said he remains in competitive shape.

“I've always thought it's more of mind over matter,” Moore said. “You bowl so many games and you can practice so many shots that your body naturally has its own muscle memory. I feel like as long as you are remotely in time, then you can make yourself get to a point where you just have to be comfortable. You just have to see that right shape and then once you see the right shape, your body takes over.

Moore won his first PBA Tour title at the 2019 PBA Wilmington Open, but seeks to win his first televised event in Milwaukee. The Pennsylvania product averaged more than 236 to eclipse Tackett.

Tackett, making his sixth championship round appearance of the season, described his final five-game round as the quintessential roller coaster: “That was the craziest five games I've ever bowled in my life.”

Grondin, who earned the No. 3 seed, will make his second championship round appearance of the season and of his career. This will mark his PBA Tour television debut.

Butturff sat in 76th place after Round 2 at +160, more than 210 pins behind fifth. He averaged north of 250 for the final 10 games of qualifying, which included a 300 game, to advance to the championship round.

“The first 10 games, I got frustrated and I kind of talked myself out. I let every single bad break get in my head,” Butturff said. “Today, I went in with a strategy: Just go up and throw the shot. If you leave a split, if you leave a spare, just shoot the shot, and then come back and treat it like a new frame.

“I didn't have to shoot too many second second balls today.”

The WSOB XIV continues on Tuesday with PBA Scorpion Championship qualifying, beginning at noon ET on BowlTV.

Combined scores from the Cheetah, Scorpion and Shark Championships make up the World Championship qualifying.

“We’re only through 20 games out of 60,” Tackett said. “I think that really helped me with my mental state, that we still have 40 more games to bowl. The ultimate goal is the World Championship, obviously making the show here is a great added bonus and a great start to the week.”

45 Comments on “2023 PBA Cheetah Championship Finals”

    1. Tommy Jones won a title match despite throwing 2 gutters.

      Never thought I would see that record broken.

    2. @IRON-PANDA That’s like saying “can you call Haugen Barnes a comeback because Barnes missed a single pin?”

  1. that first match was one of the craziest ones ever. I’m still scratching my head how both of the players choked

    1. @Leslie Long Jr. why do you care if I’m a bowler? I watch the PBA a lot. also good for you about your bowling progression, but I don’t remember asking. good day sir, and I hope my opinionative comment gets of your skin.

    2. @Roger Rosen cheetah was aired yesterday (17th), today (18th) is scorpion, and tomorrow (19th) is the shark pattern

    3. @TRex Gaming ok i saw the interviews and they refered to that so bowling planet will follow w the video if you have fox you can see it live tuesday 18th thought the interviews was the match now i realize

  2. Was watching this while at bowling league, man BJ just got absolutely shredded by a very lined up EJ.

  3. I don’t think there have ever been 2 gutter balls in a season (on the stepladder) much less 3 in 5 frames by 1 player and 4 in one telecast. Absolutely insane. I had the opportunity to bowl on the wolf pattern, which is fairly similar to cheetah. And oh my goodness I don’t fault them at all. I experienced the same thing, miss a tiny bit right and it goes in the gutter, miss a tiny bit left and you go Brooklyn if you are lucky.

    1. Yes, there has. Marshall Holman had three in the 1990 ABC classic against Coffman, including a double gutter. That’s right, he got a zero in frame 2. He had 19 total in frame 3. I remember that match very well. And they were atrocious gutters missing by an arrow, unlike this telecast here with a lot less margin.

    2. I have also gotten the chance to bowl on the wolf, it was a very humbling experience, the accuracy you have to have to not Brooklyn was crazy

    3. There were four gutter balls in the second show of the 2017 PBA Oklahoma Open (2 by Rhino Page, 2 by Chris Barnes).

    4. @Basement Tracks Actually, the first of the three gutterballs Holman threw was when he bowled against Pete McCordic. It was during a commercial break when it happened, but they showed the replay afterwards.

  4. For those that don’t know grondin had tape over the logo as it’s a non sponsored shoe he is using…

    1. @dragonman910 yea if you know balls and watch all the shows you’ll see that sometimes they’ll show that graphic meanwhile the player is literally holding a ball that isn’t on that graphic lol

  5. EJ is in that “zone” right now. If he’s missing, then he’s not missing by much. 20 PBA wins is pretty impressive.

  6. Man, what a rough show to watch. I wanted to skip ahead in a couple of the matches. Thanks for the super fast upload, as always!
    Side note – I’d love to see Nathan Bohr on TV again. He regularly finishes up in the top 20s, barely missing TV here and there.

    1. @Paul West sweet, I hope he makes it to the show! I don’t have BowlTV, sadly (I still feel betrayed with how things went down with FloBowling), so I can’t watch him live. But that’s good to hear, thanks for the update!

  7. what a crazy first match 🙂 never seen anything like it. Congrats to EJ…4th Title in the 4th month of the year, thats an incredible accomplishment

  8. One handers dominating the field for the Cheetah pattern! Hell yea. EJ will be player of the year for sure.

  9. That first match… just… damn. I can’t even describe it. Not even halfway through and already I got *chills!!*

  10. The first match was unreal!!!! Lol EJ pretty much got player of the year in the bag and I am pretty sure in EJ, Simo, and Belmonte stay healthy and keep bowling they might break Walter rays record

  11. Grondin is wild, my man got the New Balance fit and barely wipes his ball… using his bare hands… Lmfao. How all the throws don’t slip straight out is a feat in itself. Legend

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