Leader of the Pack

by PBA Editor December 6, 2007 19:00
Patrick Allen doubled in the 10th frame of the final game of match play Friday night to clinch the top seed for the championship round of the Denny’s PBA Tour’s Lumber Liquidators Championship at AMF Country Club Lanes.

Allen went into the position round as the No. 1 seed, but No. 2 Wes Malott still had a chance to take the top seed away. After Malott finished his game with a 248, Allen needed to double to earn enough pins to maintain his overall lead. He struck out to also finish with 248, earning the 15 pins for the tie and an automatic berth in the title match.

The nine-time titlist finished the day with a 10-5-3 match play record and an 8,019 32-game pinfall. Bowlers received 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 for each tie, which is included in the total pinfall.

The last time Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) won a title was in last season’s Go RVing Classic, when he was also the No. 1 seed in a stepladder final.

“Statistically it’s a disadvantage,” Allen said of the top seed. “The winner of that semifinal match has bowled an extra game. And top seeds haven’t really fared well in the stepladder finals the last couple years. It’s been better recently with Sean Rash winning the Masters, but it’s one game and anything can happen on TV. I just have to make the most of it.”

Allen was on top of the field after 14 games of qualifying Thursday but dropped out of the top spot Friday morning when he went just 4-3-2 in the first nine games of match play. He made a late run Friday evening with a 6-2-1 record, including games of 279 and 278 in the final two games leading into the position round.

Sunday’s finals feature eight bowlers for the first time in a championship round (other than the Japan Cup) since the 2000 season. The first match will include a four-bowler shootout among No. 8 Chris Barnes, No. 7 Mike DeVaney, No. 6 Chris Warren and No. 5 Walter Ray Williams Jr.

Williams will be looking for back-to-back titles as he won last week’s Great Lakes Classic for his 44th career title and second of the season. The Tour’s all-time titles leader is off to the best start of his 26-year career as Sunday marks his fifth championship round appearance in the first eight events.

Barnes is making his fourth championship round this season but is still looking for his first win this season, while DeVaney is making his second TV appearance this year and will look for his first title since 2003.

Warren, meanwhile, is making his first TV appearance since the 1995 Showboat Invitational. The 12 years marks the second longest stretch between championship rounds all-time and should he win the title Sunday, Warren would set the PBA record for most years between singles titles as his last win came in the 1992 Florida Open.

The winner of the four-bowler shootout will face No. 4 Rhino Page, a non-exempt bowler who is making his first career championship round appearance. A Team USA member, Page just became a PBA member in October and has made an incredible run through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds, qualifying five times in six tries and making match play four times. On Sunday, the 24-year-old will look to become the third bowler to win a title after advancing trough the Tour Qualifying Round.

The winner of that match faces No. 3 Mike Wolfe, who is looking for his second win this season, while that winner will face No. 2 Malott.

Sunday’s eight-bowler finals take place at 1 p.m. EST at AMF Country Club Lanes, with the ESPN telecast airing tape delayed at 8:30 p.m. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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