450 bowlers traveled to the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas, NV, to compete in the 2019 USBC Masters tournament, one of the major tournaments in professional bowling. After 15 games of qualifying, the top 64 bowlers advanced to double-elimination match play. Bowlers bowl three games against their opponent, and whoever’s three-game total is higher wins the match. If a bowler loses a three-game match, they get put in the elimination bracket, which means they have to bowl a lot more games and if they lose again, they are eliminated from the tournament.
After the match play five bowlers were left standing for the televised finals on Monday, April 1st. They were, from first to fifth seed, Jakob Butturff, Mykel Holliman, Jake Peters, Mitch Hupé, and Chris Sloan.
In the first match of Sloan versus Hupé, both bowlers were playing about the same line, from the 7.5 board at the arrows to the 5.5 board at the breakpoint. Hupé used a urethane ball whereas Sloan, the two-hander, was using a resin ball. Hupé chopped the 3-pin off of the 6-pin in the second frame, and that would come back to haunt him when all was said and done. Continue reading
The week-long World Series of Bowling culminated on Thursday night with the season’s third major bowling event, the PBA World Championship. The starting field consisted of 135 bowlers, and after 30 games of qualifying on three different oil patterns and 16 games of match play, BJ Moore qualified fifth, Jakob Butturff (pronounced But-truff) qualified fourth, Bill O’Neil qualified third, Matt McNiel qualified second, and Jason Belmonte qualified as the tournament leader.
In the first match, the right-handed BJ Moore was taking on the left-hander Jakob Butturff. This match was over by the sixth frame, Continue reading
The PBA Chameleon Championship was the second tournament aired on TV in as many days, and after starting with 134 bowlers the field got narrowed-down to four: Andres Gomez, Jason Belmonte, A.J. Chapman, and Ronnie Russell. Just like the previous night’s Cheetah Championship, the four finalists bowled a single game at the start of the show to determine the ranking for the following stepladder finals. Unlike the Cheetah, the Chameleon has oil going longer down the lane (6 feet longer – 39 vs. 33 feet), which allowed the bowlers to throw the ball in the middle part of the lane. Overall, the scores were higher than the Cheetah pattern, but they still were not easy by any means.
Jason Belmonte, the most dominant bowler on the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) Tour for the last seven years or so, got off to a red-hot start, throwing the first four strikes. Continue reading
The first World Series of Bowling (WSOB) event of 2019 was the Cheetah Championship, held live at the Thunder Bowl bowling alley in Allen Park, MI. In a first, the seeding of the four finalists (Dick Allen, Rhino Page, Kyle Sherman, and Matt McNiel) was not determined prior to Monday’s live show. Instead, all four bowlers bowled a game, with the scores determining the seeding.
All of the bowlers struggled on the short Cheetah oil pattern. Continue reading
Chris Barnes has had an incredible professional bowling career, amassing 18 titles (3 of which are majors), winning both PBA Rookie of the Year (1998) and Player of the Year (2007-2008) honors, bowling a 300 game on TV (Geico Shark Open 2013), and being a consistent title contender week-in and week-out for more than a decade. The 1999 Eerie Flagship Open was Barnes’ second career TV show, and it was a high-energy finals that culminated in what would turn out to be the first of many championships for Barnes. Let’s go back in time to that memorable day now!
The crowd at the Eerie Civic Center was electric before the first ball was even thrown. This could be because there had been high scores all week, with bowlers averaging in the 230s and some even in the 240s, and the tournaments held in this venue in previous years had also yielded high scores. It could also be due to the fact that a basketball game which was airing on the same TV station that day went into double overtime, so the start of the bowling was delayed by a significant length of time. The first match featured Parker Bohn III going up against Rick Steelsmith. Bohn III was making his third consecutive TV finals appearance (and would eventually end up winning Player of the Year honors that year) and Steelsmith had incredible bowling talent but did not have a more accomplished career due to a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in his career. Bohn III had a lot of momentum going into the match, but after the first few frames it was apparent his ball reaction was not good. Bohn III, who was playing up the gutter, would go light on one shot and high on the next. He wasn’t missing by much, but he did not have much room to miss if he was to get a strike. Bohn III left a split early, which resulted in an open frame, and fell behind by a large number of pins when Steelsmith began the game with 3 straight strikes. Even though Steelsmith cooled off in the middle portion of the game, leaving 3 single pin spares that resulted in spares, Bohn III could not string enough strikes together to climb back into the match, or even make it close. When Steelsmith, who was playing a slight swing around the second arrow, threw 3 more strikes in a row the match was his. He defeated Bohn III by a score of 235 – 197.
Steelsmith now faced Chris Barnes who was making just his second TV finals appearance. Continue reading