Memorable Matches: Chris Barnes wins his first title

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

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Belmonte wins his 4th Masters title

Jason Belmonte, from New South Wales, Australia, defeated Michael Tang, from San Francisco, CA, 279 – 212 Sunday, February 26, 2017 to win his 4th USBC Masters title.

Both bowlers started the championship match with 2 straight strikes, but the third frame would prove to be a telling sign for how the match would play out. Continue reading

A Humble Suggestion

With the pros averaging in the 240s on a weekly basis, and with all of the 900 series being shot, I think it’s safe to assume that all bowlers consider this trend the most problematic facing our great sport. Everywhere you look, people are throwing strike after strike, even if they just learned how to bowl a few weeks prior. It’s gotten to a crisis point where strikes are much more common than spares and splits.

There have been many proposals about how to combat the scoring pace, including going back to older equipment, making the lane conditions more challenging, and even making the pins heavier. With all due respect to those ideas, I believe I am about to suggest an idea that is vastly superior to all that came before it. My idea, which I now humbly present to you, dear readers, is as follows. Continue reading

The game has changed…

As I was getting a bowling ball drilled a while back, I told the driller I did not want a slug in the thumb hole. He told me that was not a good idea, and I asked, “Why not? I know people who don’t use thumb slugs and they bowl perfectly well.”

“Bowling balls have changed,” he said. “Newer balls are made of resin, and this creates friction when your thumb tries to come out of the ball. Without the slug, your thumb will get torn up every time you bowl.”

I was in a hurry, and I would not have been able to return to the ball driller for several weeks, and so I acquiesced to him and allowed the slug to be put into my thumb hole. I still am curious as to whether what he said about the thumb, ball material, and friction is true, but at least I have a specific thing to test. This, as you’ll see later, is a crucial point to the argument I am about to make. Continue reading

Tips to raise your average from 170-200

This is the second video in the series of improving your bowling game. This video is for the league bowler who is a step above the average person but is looking to reach the milestone of averaging 200.

Tips to raise your average from 170-200

Here is the link to the first video in the series, in case you missed it.

How to get started in bowling