By Matt Cannizzaro USBC Communications
RENO, Nev. - Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, rode the momentum of a clutch 300 game all the way to the championship round of the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Masters on Friday.
The 39-year-old right-hander averaged 230.2 and rolled untouched through the double-elimination match-play bracket, compiling a 6-0 record and earning the No. 1 seed for Sunday's final round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. EST.
Barnes defeated 46-time Professional Bowlers Association champion Walter Ray Williams Jr., 712-612, to take the top spot. The two have battled on the lanes at the National Bowling Stadium before, with Williams defeating Barnes to capture the USBC Masters title in January of 2004, the last time the event was contested at the 78-lane Stadium.
"I feel really good right now, and a nice long week like this with a lot of games was definitely beneficial for me," said Barnes, who was down 54 pins to reigning PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott earlier in the day and tossed one of the tournament's two perfect games to escape with a 730-698 victory. "I didn't bowl well at all last week, so it was good to bowl so many games and get through the pressure situations you tend to get with this format."
Three weeks ago, Barnes finished second to Kelly Kulick at the PBA Tournament of Champions. He also started the season with a runner-up finish to Williams at the Motor City Open, so he's motivated to reach the winner's circle. A win at the Masters would help Barnes accomplish one of his three major career goals.
"There are three things I'd really like to accomplish - winning the Masters, winning the World Championship and being PBA Player of the Year again," Barnes said. "If I get those three things on my career checklist, I think it would put me alongside some great company."
Sunday will mark the third consecutive time Williams has made the Masters finals at the Stadium. In 2003, he finished second to Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore., before topping Barnes a year later.
On the way to this year's show, Williams averaged 235.2 and compiled a 5-1 match-play record.
"I was pretty comfortable all week, but if I'm going to win, I've got to bowl a lot better than I did tonight," said Williams, who owns seven major titles. "First, I've got to beat a left-hander, and then I have to beat Chris. The left-hander is going to have a game behind him, so I'll have to figure out something that works for me and I'm comfortable with so I can throw a lot of strikes. I think I'm going to need them."
Joining Barnes and Williams on the show will be a pair of left-handers, No. 3 seed Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and No. 4 Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, the 2005 Masters champion. Ciminelli will be making his third TV appearance of the year, while Scroggins, the winner at the Pepsi Red, White and Blue Open presented by the USBC in December, makes his second.
The field at the 2010 Masters included 267 competitors vying for the $50,000 top prize and two-year PBA Tour exemption.
2010 USBC MASTERS
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.
(ESPN, Sunday, 3 p.m. EST)
Match 1: No. 3 Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., vs. No. 4 Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas
Match 2: No. 2 Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., vs. Match 1 winner
Championship match: No. 1 Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, vs. Match 2 winner
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Name/hometown followed by three-game pinfall total.)
ROUND 2 WINNERS BRACKET
(13) Rick Steelsmith, Wichita, Kan., def. (1) Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 760-676
(25) Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., def. (9) Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 655-622
(19) Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., def. (35) Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 734-594
(11) Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, def. (59) Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 662-640
(14) Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., def. (2) Jason Belmonte, Australia, 666-649
(42) Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., def. (26) Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 604-552
(4) Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. (52) Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 661-639
(8) Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (56) Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 700-630
ROUND 3 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,300)
(40) Dan Bock, Albert Lea, Minn., def. (29) Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 642-592
(3) Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. (17) Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 740-628
(41) Jonathan Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., def. (33) Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., 634-600
(57) Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., def. (5) Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 678-640
(48) Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., def. (28) Dave Wodka, Chatsworth, Calif., 599-574
(22) Andres Gomez, Colombia, def. (51) John May, Lincolnton, N.C., 731-594
(54) Erik Vermilyea, Mansfield, Texas, def. (50) PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 622-549
(58) Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., def. (18) Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 617-593
ROUND 4 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,800)
Kent def. Bock, 618-609
Belmonte def. P.Allen, 695-601
Smallwood def. Van Hees, 611-590
Loschetter def. Angelo, 702-686
Weber def. Newell, 712-687
Gomez def. Carter, 663-627
Vermilyea def. Boresch Jr., 659-590
Edwards def. Bohn III, 707-646
ROUND 4 WINNERS BRACKET
O'Neill def. Steelsmith, 650-623
Williams Jr. def. Scroggins, 778-595
Ciminelli def. Ciccone, 694-594
Barnes def. Malott, 730-698
ROUND 5 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $3,300)
Belmonte def. Kent, 643-609
Smallwood def. Loschetter, 681-593
Weber def. Gomez, 675-592
Edwards def. Vermilyea, 672-657
ROUND 6 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $4,000)
Belmonte def. Malott, 610-574
Scroggins def. Smallwood, 607-544
Weber def. Ciccone, 692-601
Edwards def. Steelsmith, 704-654
ROUND 5 WINNERS BRACKET
Williams Jr. def. O'Neill, 714-669
Barnes def. Ciminelli, 711-635
ROUND 7 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $5,000)
Scroggins def. Belmonte, 662-615
Edwards def. Weber, 699-695
ROUND 8 LOSERS BRACKET
(Winners advance to TV show; Losers eliminated, earn $7,000)
Scroggins def. O'Neill, 716-649
Ciminelli def. Edwards, 685-636
ROLL-OFF FOR TOP SEED
(Winner takes top seed, loser takes second seed)
Barnes def. Williams Jr., 712-612