In his first championship round appearance in a Major and bowling for the first time in a baseball stadium, no less, Sean Rash showed there’s not much that can faze this 25 year old.
Rash improved his career record in televised championship rounds to 7-0 and became just the second bowler to win a title in his first four TV appearances with a 269-245 win over Steve Jaros to capture the 2007 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters at Miller Park.
Rash, who became the youngest UBSC Masters champion since it became a Denny’s Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour event in 1998, overcame the No. 4 seed Jaros, who came into the title match on a near record-setting scoring pace.
Looking to become the first No. 4 seed to win a USBC Masters, Jaros defeated No. 3 seed and all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., 279-254, in the first stepladder match and No. 2 seed Patrick Allen, 290-233, to fall one pin shy of the PBA’s two-game high on television set by Bob Learn Jr. in 1996 (570).
Needing a 282 in the title match to break the three-game high, Jaros lost some of his magic against Rash with three nine-spares in the first four frames. The seven-time titlist responded with five consecutive strikes between frames five and nine to force Rash to double in the 10th. Rash struck out for good measure, completing a string of seven consecutive strikes to end the match and take home his first Major title.
“Every time you shoe them up you want to win, and you especially want to win the Majors,” Rash (Wichita, Kan.) said. “In golf, you always hear about how many majors Tiger Woods has or Jack Nicklaus has, and it’s all about the Majors in our sport too. The greatest in the game, Pete Weber, Earl Anthony and Walter Ray, they’re all up there in Majors. That’s what you dream of and to win one is a great feeling.”
Less than three years ago, Rash was a non-exempt bowler struggling to qualify every week for Denny’s PBA Tour events. Late in the 2005-06 season, he broke through as the first bowler to win a title after advancing through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round. He proved it wasn’t a fluke last season, winning two titles and going 4-0 on television.
“I just try to go out and have fun and throw the best shots I can. You have to take advantage of your opportunities and try to capitalize on your breaks,” Rash, who earned $100,000 and a two-season exemption, said of bowling on TV. “The advantages and breaks you get, if you don’t capitalize, you don’t win. Steve bowed almost 820 and lost. That’s unheard of. But being undefeated on TV, I love it. It’s where you want to be on Sundays.”
In the semifinal, Jaros struck 11 consecutive times after leaving a 10-pin in the first frame to win 290-233 over Allen, who was the only one of the four finalists who bowled in Miller Park the last time a USBC Masters final was held there in 2004.
Jaros advanced to the semifinal with a 279-254 win over Williams. Jaros struck with his first six shots before a 7-pin in the seventh frame spoiled his bid to become the first bowler in history with two televised 300 games. He closed out the match with five more strikes to deny the No. 3 seed Williams a chance at his second USBC Masters crown.
Jaros (Yorkville, Ill.) earned $50,000 for his second-place finish while Allen earned $25,000 for third and Williams (Ocala, Fla.) took home $15,000 for fourth.
The Denny’s PBA Tour moves to Taylor, Mich., for the 2007 Motor City Classic Oct. 31-Nov. 4 at Taylor Lanes. The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. EST. Denny’s PBA Tour
2007 USBC Masters
Sunday, Oct. 28
|1.||Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan.||269 (1 game)||$100,000|
|2.||Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill.||814 (3 games)||$50,000|
|3.||Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla.||233 (1 game)||$25,000|
|4.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||254 (1 game)||$15,000|
SCORES – In the first match, Jaros def. Williams, 279-254; in the semifinal Jaros def. Allen, 290-233; and in the final, Rash def. Jaros, 269-245.
This is Rash’s fourth career Denny’s PBA Tour title and his first career Major victory.