2024 PBA Players Championship Finals

0:00 – Intro
4:26 – Match 1
27:34 – Match 2
50:25 – Break
54:57 – Match 3
1:20:23 – Championship Match
Fourteen years after Tom Smallwood won his first major championship, he sits on the precipice of another major victory at Wichita’s Bowlero Northrock. Smallwood averaged over 237 across 48 games to earn the top seed in the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers.

When Smallwood won the 2009-10 PBA World Championship in Wichita, he defeated Bill O’Neill in the semifinal match. He also defeated O’Neill in the position round on Saturday afternoon to clinch the top seed for Monday’s championship round.

“One more win, I’ll have my third major and hopefully I’m on my way to the Hall of Fame,” Smallwood said.

The championship round will air at 5 p.m. Eastern Monday, Jan. 15 on FOX.

O’Neill could have leapfrogged Smallwood for the top seed with a position round win, but the eastern Pennsylvania native struggled to finish with 190 on the high-scoring, 38-foot Wayne Webb oil pattern.

The 2020 PBA Players Championship winner will aim for his third career major title on Monday.

Nate Stubler, a finalist for the 2023 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year award, earned the No. 3 seed and will make his PBA television debut.

Stubler, a former collegiate All-American at St. Ambrose, will be the lone left-hander in the championship round.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Stubler said after making his first PBA championship round. "This is something that obviously everybody dreams about and something I've dreamt about for a long time, but the fact that I'm actually here is unreal, man. I can't even put into words right now. I'm sure it'll hit me tomorrow or tonight or I don't know when. I'd like to think that the hard work is finally starting to pay off and I'm just going to keep trying to ride the ride the roller coaster."

Chris Via, who entered the position round in fourth place, held on to earn the No. 5 seed. The 2021 U.S. Open champion made five major finals across the 2020 and 2021 seasons and aims for his second career title.


While Smallwood and O’Neill battled it out for the top seed, all eyes in Bowlero Northrock were on lanes 19-20.

Ryan Barnes, the son of PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes, trailed BJ Moore by 43-pins for the final berth on the show.

After both players started with a strike and three spares, a disastrous open frame from Moore opened the door for Barnes. Packy Hanrahan, who trailed the No. 5 seed by 84 pins, made a late charge as well.

Seemingly each and every time Ryan stood in a moment — like when he needed three strikes to clinch a win over Kris Prather in the day’s first match — he responded with the resilience of a Hall of Famer’s son.

“He got that from me,” said his mom Lynda, a USBC Hall of Famer.

Ryan stepped up in the 10th frame, delivered three strikes, and clinched his first career PBA championship round appearance.

To add to the storybook scene, Ryan did it in his dad’s old stomping grounds.

Ryan is a current collegiate bowler at the lauded Wichita State University, the same school Chris made a name for himself more than 30 years ago.

Along with teammates TJ Rock, Spencer Robarge and Brandon Bonta, Ryan earned a commissioner’s exemption to compete in the pre-tournament qualifier this week. All four advanced to the main field and Rock joined Barnes in match play.

Barnes will face Via in the opening match on Monday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. Eastern on FOX.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to be the hometown favorite in this first match," Via joked.

Ryan has notes on every pair of Bowlero Northrock, where he practices and bowls league multiple times every week.

Don’t count on him sharing his notes about lanes 11-12 anytime soon though.

Source: PBA.com

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34 Comments on “2024 PBA Players Championship Finals”

  1. I was there, it was super fun rooting for Ryan Barnes. Sadly, he got extremely nervous at the beginning of the match again Bill and made a few nervous decisions that costed him some bad shots. Still amazing to watch him make it this far so early in his career.

    1. Like he said, he’s still learning, but the fact he made it this far was amazing. He should’ve used the phaze 2 earlier on the right lane instead of the IQ 78U against Bill, he could’ve made it to the title match. I hope to see more of him making it to the finalist list 🙂

  2. Man, I was rooting for Stubler, but still really happy for Ryan. That ringing 7 for Nate dropped me to my knees. Bowling with Nate at Ambrose really was an honor. He’s really helped my game since we’ve both graduated and I look up to him so much. I can’t wait until he comes back to TV!

  3. Congrats to my guy the Real Deal who is great buddies with Wes and my favorite TJ. Those lanes definitely were tricky. Tom Smallwood had a bad break with that 7-10, Ryan Barnes bowled great the first two games then he lost his carry as the lanes transitioned and Bill threw the new dull Hammer Widow 3.0 at first which seemed kinda lazy some shots then the shiny one he switched to the finals match looked good some shots then some shots the ball jumped and other shots it didn’t come up. I’m sure that was a result of the oil being pushed down lane from the first three matches. Overall was a great show 👏🏾💯

  4. The look on Chris Barnes face when Bill O’Neill struck with that Brooklyn shot in the 9th frame cracked me up considering his son Ryan threw 3 horrible shots the last game that struck for him against Stubler…

    1. chris was so worried his face turned red yes ryan had 2 opens or he wins and he beats smallwood easily they had some multi day events last year=yes good posting alot dont use a tv set

  5. Ryan Barnes could’ve advanced to the title round if he used his phaze 2 on both lanes, but he’s still learning how to deal with the pressure and decisions. Hope to see him make it to the finalist list in the future

    1. Right if only you were there in his place you could have handled the pressure. The kid threw the front 7 on his first tv appearance. wtf are you talking about pressure.

    2. Early in his second match i started noticing how difficult it was getting for the urethane i even said he should get out of it soon. Its a learning process for sure

    3. ​@@xxxLesPaulxxx He did great before the lane transitioned, he did cope great with the pressure overall, but when you have great ball reaction it’s a lot easier. Once the ball reaction started to go in game 2, part of being a top professional is figuring out the right move fast and going to it. The Reality looked awful every time he threw it, it didn’t go through the pins whatsoever. The first shot he eventually threw with the P2 looked incredible. IQ reaction was long gone at that point. In the future he’ll make the right decisions faster, because it’s a learning curve- he has the physical game on point, now it’s developing the mental game and decision making to go with it, which takes time.

      This was a phenomenal debut, and hopefully he can be heartened by how well he performed, as well as go away and learn from the mistakes. Because plenty don’t, and carry on making poor choices under the lights. Whether any of us could have done better in his position is completely irrelevant, because obviously we couldn’t. But we can still see what’s happening.

      Bill in honesty got hugely lucky, because his ball reaction was terrible. No idea why he didn’t try and slow it down a hair and play his A game of wheeling a little, because he really didn’t have a good look at any point there. He was just relying on his opponents not scoring.

  6. 50:02 Am I the only one who noticed it ? (should be Barnes instead of Stubler on the 3rd match ) ;P mistakes happens, nice show anyway !

  7. You can see in Ryan’s face he lost his confidence from game 1. I believe with experience on that stage he is going to be a top bowler for majors.

  8. I am hoping we will see Ryan again. He did an amazing job and has an amazing career ahead of him. Congrats to Bill O’ Neil on the win. 😀

  9. Fantastic job from all bowlers! Also something that caught me off guard was that in 50:02 that there was an editing head to head mistake when it said that Nate Stubler was going against Bill O’Neill when it was Ryan Barnes that was going against Bill O’Neill. I know that’s on the editors of Fox as this channel basically recorded and reuploaded the aired broadcast of PBA 2024.

    1. fox put on the wrong graphics not pba if this was the case they had the live event bp just airs the copy

    2. @@rogerrosen2323 Understood. Many thanks for your correction. I’ve just now edited the comment.

  10. I am surprised there was no mention of Willie Willis who won the National Resident Pro tournament in 1979. He ought to be deemed the first black PBA champion.

  11. Congrats to young Barnes for a crazy run. Can’t blame him for getting nervous his last match. Bill been a legend and a colleague of his pops for most his life. Keep it up, brother. As we rise, our idols become our rivals.

  12. Great show for young Barnzy. A real heartbreaker for Smalls. Hats off to Billy “The Real Deal” O’Neill for his perseverance. Great Players Championship! I am looking forward to seeing what else the 2024 PBA season has in store !

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