For the first time in Professional Bowlers Association history, a team of two-handed players will compete for the title as top qualifiers for the MaineQuarterly.com Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship finals at Bayside Bowl Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Kyle Troup, a 25-year-old right-handed two-hander from Taylorsville, N.C., and Jesper Svensson, a 22-year-old left-handed two-handed player from Sweden, rolled a 289 in the 40th and final “alternate frame” game Wednesday to take the top berth in Sunday’s stepladder finals away from EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.
Troup, who owns one PBA Tour title, and Svensson, the first player to win five PBA Tour titles by age 21,
finished qualifying with a composite total of 9,353 pins for 24 individual games and 16 alternate-frame games, topping Tackett and Kent by 21 pins with their big closing game. Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., and partner Jason Belmonte of Australia, qualified third, and Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., and first-time TV finalist Zeke Bayt of Westerville, Ohio, qualified fourth. DJ Archer of Friendswood, Texas, and partner Shawn Maldonado of Houston claimed the fifth spot in the finals, holding off defending champions Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, and Connor Pickford of Plano, Texas, by 26 pins.
Troup and Svensson are two of four two-handed players to advance to the stepladder finals. Belmonte and Maldonado also bowl with both hands. Among the finalists, Bayt and Maldonado are the only non-title winners.
Troup is known for his Afro hairstyle and wearing the same kind of colorful clothing his equally-flamboyant father, eight-time PBA winner Guppy Troup, wore. And he said he is converting the normally-conservative Svensson to his distinctive apparel for Sunday’s finals.
The two players had never bowled together prior to Maine, but it was a match against each other that led to their partnership.
“Jesper initiated it,” Troup said. “We were bowling against each other in the Las Vegas Open last fall, and in the middle of the match, he asked me if I wanted to bowl the doubles tournament with him. I think he wanted to rattle me, but we’ve spent a lot of time together ever since.”
“The first time I met Kyle, I decided he was a cool guy – a great bowler and a good person,” Svensson said. “We have developed good chemistry. We’ve been joking around since then about bowling together. We said we were going to bowl for the title in Portland, and here we are.”
Although they bowl on opposite sides of the lane, they are able to communicate well.
“That last round was exciting,” Troup said of the final eight games, where the lead changed almost every game. “We knew we had a little cushion going into the final round. We had a bad game and got frazzled for a few minutes, but we let it go.”
“We decided we weren’t going to look at the scoreboard, just bowl,” Svensson said.
“Going into the final game, we knew we were one pin out of the lead,” Troup said. “I told Jesper I had five good shots in me if he did.”
The pair started the final game with 10 strikes before Troup left a solid 10 pin to end their bid for a perfect game.
In addition to airing live on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, the finals will be simultaneously streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
MAINEQUARTERLY.COM MARK ROTH/MARSHALL HOLMAN PBA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, April 12
Final Qualifying Standings (after 16 alternate frame and 24 individual games; top five advance to ESPN stepladder finals Sunday at 1 p.m. ET):
1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden/Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 9,353.
2, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind./Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 9,332.
3, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa./Jason Belmonte, Australia, 9,229.
4, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C./Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, 9,144.
5, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas/Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 9,141.
6, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas/Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, 9,115, $7,000.
7, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz./Andres Gomez, Colombia, 8,981, $7,000.
8, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J./AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 8,841, $5,500.