Anthony Simonsen has never been one to shy away from breaking conventional wisdom. This week at Northrock Lanes for the PBA Wichita Classic was no exception.
The 26-year-old defeated Dom Barrett, 257-213, to win his 11th career title.
Anthony Simonsen claims career title no. 11
He defeated Dom Barrett, 257-213, to win the PBA Wichita Classic! pic.twitter.com/3i5iY8uQwz
— PBA Tour (@PBATour) February 25, 2023
Just as he did during the first round of the tournament, Simonsen elected to cast urethane on the 45-foot Dragon oil model. He bet directly on the 1-3 pocket, exploiting the shape of the long pattern and the characteristics of the center to his advantage.
“I know this is one of those buildings that if you get in line, you’re able to throw a few shots,” Simonsen said.
“Mentally, I haven’t been the sharpest the last couple of weeks,” he said. “I think it’s somewhat down to a lack of competition and I’m slowly trying to put it back together. I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks as I’ve managed to find my feet much earlier in the season.”
The Player of the Year contest is starting to heat up between Simonsen and EJ Tackett, who won the US Open and PBA Shawnee Classic.
Simonsen earned his fourth consecutive top 10 finish of the season and is the only player on the Tour to have reached match play in all four tournaments. But he’s not worried about the potential nod for a first career Player of the Year nod.
“I’m really not a guy who looks big at it,” he said. “If I throw well and that’s what gets me, then that’s great. But in the end, I try to treat each event as an individual event and try to play my best that week.
For Barrett, this marks his second straight performance after falling to Tackett at the PBA Shawnee Classic last week. The 37-year-old, while disappointed with another second-place finish, was satisfied with his progress this season.
“If you told me after my first two missed cuts that I was going to have back-to-back seconds, I’d be really happy,” he said. “I’m much happier with where my game is now than I was a couple of weeks ago.”
In the title game, a pair of 2-10 splits in the left lane put Barrett up early. He said neither shot was too bad and that he switched balls after the first division. He added that the lane change may have been influenced by Simonsen’s use of urethane.
“After that, it would have been tough to beat him,” Barrett said.
Barrett defeated last season’s Rookie of the Year Santtu Tahvanainen in the semifinals. Tahvanainen, who shot 280 in the opening ladder match against Jakob Butturff, had 14 straight hits on the championship pairing.
The semifinal match turned upside down when Tahvanainen dropped a 7-10 split pocket in the eighth frame. Barrett seized his opportunity, striking in the eighth and tenth frames to wrap up the match.
The next stop on the PBA Tour will be March 6-9 in Jackson, Michigan for the PBA Jackson Classic.
Championship round scores
Anthony Simonsen def. Dom Barrett, 257-213Dom Barrett def. Santtu Tahvanainen, 238-235 Santtu Tahvanainen def. Jacob Butturff, 280-238