It’s been a slow start to the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season for Tommy Jones by his recent standards, but the reigning PBA Player of the Year showed he’s not going anywhere.
Jones won his ninth title in a little over two seasons, knocking off Wes Malott, 222-221, to squeak out a win in the 2006 Ace Hardware Championship at Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe.
Jones struck six consecutive times in frames 4-9 to take the lead and needed a double in the 10th frame to shut out Malott. Jones, however, left a 7-10 split and opened, the same split Malott left in the 7th frame to give Jones the lead.
Malott then needed a strike with his first ball in the 10th to win, but a 9-pin forced him to strike for the tie. He got nine on his last shot, however, letting Jones escape with a one-pin win.
“I have mixed emotions. Wes is my roommate and one of my best friends on Tour, and you never want to win that way,” said Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.). “That right lane was tricky and fortunately I had lane choice so (Malott) had to finish on that lane. He got a bad break on his first shot (in the 10th), made a move and threw a good shot, but he just didn’t get the break.”
Jones, who has won four titles in each of the last two seasons, denied Malott the chance to win back-to-back titles for the first time in his career.
The 28-year-old advanced to the title match with a 226-216 win over Walter Ray Williams Jr. The PBA Hall of Famer held a one-pin lead after six frames before chopping the 4-8 to give Jones the lead. Jones could have shut Williams out with a double in the 10th, but he left a 4-pin giving Williams the opportunity to double to win the match. Williams left an 8-pin with his first shot, however, giving Jones his first-ever win on TV against the Tour’s all-time title holder.
Malott advanced to the title match with a 257-202 win over Ryan Shafer. Last week’s Discover® Card Windy City Classic winner struck in five of the first six frames, while Shafer failed to strike in frames 6-9, including an open in the 7th.
Jones earned $25,000 while Malott (Argyle, Texas) took home $13,000 for second. Williams (Ocala, Fla.) earned $6,500 for third and Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) earned $5,500 for fourth.
The Denny’s PBA Tour moves to Baltimore for the 2006 Beltway Classic, Dec. 6-10, at AMF Country Club Lanes. The live ESPN televised finals take place Sunday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m. EST.Denny’s PBA Tour
2006 Ace Hardware Championship
Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe
Sunday, Dec. 3
|1.||Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C.||448 (2 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas||478 (2 games)||$13,000|
|3.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||216 (1 game)||$6,500|
|4.||Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y.||202 (1 game)||$5,500|
SCORES – In the first semifinal, Jones def. Williams, 226-216; in the second semifinal, Malott defeated Shafer, 257-202; and in the final, Jones def. Malott, 222-221.
This is Jones’ ninth career Denny’s PBA Tour title.