Jupiter, Fla.—Fifth seed François Lavoie defeated four of his fellow major champions to claim the 2021 Kia PBA Tournament of Champions title. With wins over Sean Rash, Jesper Svensson, Jason Belmonte and top seed Anthony Simonsen, Lavoie earned his fifth career PBA Tour title and third major.
“It’s really special,” said Lavoie of winning an event with such a high caliber of opponents. “I got through the first match against Sean and it wasn’t easy, but I got a little more comfortable as it went along. It is the Tournament of Champions, so I wouldn’t expect anything less. It was tough but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
In the championship match, Lavoie struck in five of the first six frames, building a lead over Simonsen, who left an 8-10 split in the fourth frame. Simonsen rolled three consecutive strikes after the split, but Lavoie’s lead proved to be insurmountable.
“I knew I had a lead halfway through the game, but I wasn’t looking at the scores,” said Lavoie. “The last thing I wanted to do was get ahead of myself. Against someone as talented as Anthony, you can never let up until it’s mathematically over. I kept telling myself to stay here, stay in the moment and keep doing my thing.”
The 28-year-old Lavoie now has five PBA Tour titles, including three majors, making him performance-eligible for the PBA Hall of Fame.
“That hadn’t crossed my mind,” said Lavoie. “It certainly is nice to be in that class of players who are eligible for the Hall of Fame. When I started bowling on Tour, I didn’t know if it was going to work out, whether I would be doing this for a while or try something else. I’m really happy with where I am now.”
A two-time U.S. Open champion, Lavoie has now finished in the top five in each of the past three majors dating back to the 2020 PBA World Championship.
“Lately, what’s been successful for me is my ability to strategize,” said Lavoie. “I come up with a good game plan and stick to it. If the plan doesn’t go exactly as I wanted, I have different options.”
Lavoie becomes the second player, after PBA Players Championship winner Kyle Troup, to qualify for the PBA Super Slam, which will feature all five 2021 major winners and air April 18 on FOX Broadcast Channel.
KIA PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS FINAL STANDINGS
Bowlero Jupiter – Jupiter, Fla.
- François Lavoie, earns $ 100,000
- Anthony Simonsen, $ 60,000
- Jason Belmonte, $ 45,000
- Jesper Svensson, $ 40,000
- Sean Rash, $ 35,000
Match 1 – No. 5 Lavoie def. No. 4 Rash, 225-209
Match 2 – No. 5 Lavoie def. No. 3 Svensson, 236-201
Match 3 – No. 5 Lavoie def. No. 2 Belmonte, 220-194
Match 4 – No. 5 Lavoie def. No. 1 Simonsen, 233-187
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