“Winning your first PBA tour title is something a bowler never forgets. Winning it with a friend makes that accomplishment even more memorable.” -Anthony Simonsen.
Connor Pickford, 23, of Charlotte, N.C., and Anthony Simonsen, 18, of Princeton, Texas defeated Andres Gomez and Josh Blanchard 223-173 to become the 2016 Mark Roth/ Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Champions presented by Storm Bowling. We interviewed the young doubles pair after they claimed their trophies, hear what they had to say:
ROTO GRIP: What was going through your mind as you headed into the finals after leading qualifying?
CONNOR PICKFORD: Being the tournament leaders was huge because it meant we are that much closer to the title. We didn’t have to fight to bowl for it, we were guaranteed to bowl for it.
ANTHONY SIMONSEN: Leading a tournament always seems to make things much easier. Knowing you only need to win one match to win takes some of the pressure off.
ROTO GRIP: What was in your bag for the finals?
CONNOR PICKFORD: I chose to throw the CRITICAL. It gave me a little earlier smoother look that allowed me to close my angles and soften my speed to use the oil and stay away from the transition to the right
ANTHONY SIMONSEN: I threw an ETERNAL CELL on the show and Lock through qualifying. There was quite a bit of oil on this pattern and the Lock allowed me to be closer to my normal ball speed and still be able to get the ball through the pins the correct way.
ROTO GRIP: What did you guys talk about while you were bowling?
CONNOR PICKFORD: We communicated very well all week I will definitely say that. Anytime there was a rough pair one of us caught it early and popped a good game on it. That is a key that definitely helped us in match play.
ANTHONY SIMONSEN: We talked about what we were seeing on the lanes from the first frame all the way through the tenth. Having an extra set of eyes watching allowed us to stay ahead of the transition. We joked around throughout every block of qualifying to keep each other loose.
ROTO GRIP: What was your reaction after you won your first title?
CONNOR PICKFORD: Unbelievable. We really did it. To finally be on the biggest stage and have friends and family there watching it was unbelievable. We both wore pink in honor of our moms because both of our lives have been affected by breast cancer.
ANTHONY SIMONSEN: It’s always been a dream to win on the PBA Tour. I grew up watching some of these guys bowl and win. To finally accomplish that is a dream come true! It’s an indescribable feeling.
ROTO GRIP: What was your favorite moment of the match?
CONNOR PICKFORD: The 9th frame. Anthony and I were talking about his lane and then I turned to look at the scoreboard and I turned back to Anthony and said “oh wait never mind. You’re done.” He told me, “Yeah, now it’s your turn let’s go.”
ANTHONY SIMONSEN: Personally my favorite moment of the show was looking up at the scoreboard and knowing we had them shut out. Connor was anchor because he had been in the situation of needing a strike to win before.
2016 may have just started but both players have a lot to look forward to! Simonsen recently earned a spot on Jr. Team USA. They both will be bowling in the Tournament of Champions, USBC Masters, and the Players Championships.
Congratulations Connor Pickford and Anthony Simonsen! It may be your first but we know it won’t be your last. Way to #OwnIt.
ARTICLE CREDIT: Blair Blumenscheild