LAS VEGAS, Nev. (WPTA21) – Huntington native and Bluffton resident EJ Tackett kept his composure throughout the 2019 Barbasol PBA Tour Finals, but when he threw the shot to clinch the title, he couldn’t hold back the emotions any longer.
After his title-winning shot against Jakob Butturff, Tackett dedicated his 13th career PBA Tour title to his grandfather Alex Smart, who passed away July 14 at age 90.
“Grandpa Alex, I love you,” Tackett said as he pointed to the sky. As he hugged Butturff, a teary-eyed Tackett said, “This is for my grandpa. I lost him a week ago, buddy.”
Tackett defeated Butturff, 2-1, in the best-of-three championship match at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas. Despite losing the first game, 247-225, Tackett rebounded and won the second game, 238-220, and the ninth and 10th frame tiebreaker, 45-26.
Tackett’s shot that secured the title was one of his best of the night. He only needed nine pins on two shots, but he absolutely shredded the rack and sent a messenger to take out the 10 pin for a strike.
Butturff eliminated most of the pressure on Tackett when he made a critical error in his final frame of the tiebreaker. The left-hander yanked the ball high and left a devastating 4-6-10 split for an open frame.
Tackett and Butturff made it to the championship match by surviving respective group stepladders earlier in the day.