February 1, 2007 19:00
In 1994 Chris Barnes was just a little over a year out of college and four years away from his first season on the Denny’s PBA Tour.
1994 was also the last year that his Sunday opponent won his last title. Since that win in the 1994 IOF Foresters Bowling for Miracles Open, Mike Edwards has accumulated the longest active title drought, a streak that has spanned 257 events.
Edwards will look to experience the jubilation in winning a Tour title again after defeating Edward VanDaniker Jr. (Baltimore, Md.), four-games-to-two, Friday to advance to the finals of the 2007 Sun City Classic at Oasis Lanes.
“It’d probably feel like the first time, it’s been so long since my first title,” said Edwards (Tulsa, Okla.). “Just getting to the semifinals and having a chance for the title match is nice. I’m not really worried about it yet. If I win my first match, then I’ll start to think about it.”
After dropping his first two games against VanDaniker by a combined three pins, Edwards bounced back with games of 257 and 288 before collecting the final two wins to advance to Sunday’s ESPN finals.
Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) advanced to meet Edwards in similar fashion, winning his series over Steve Jaros (Yorkville, Ill.), 4-2. Sunday’s competition will mark Barnes’ third TV appearance this season after appearing in the Dydo Japan Cup 2006 and 2006 Discover® Card Windy City Classic finals.
Sunday’s other semifinal will feature two Denny’s PBA Tour veterans in Patrick Allen and Mika Koivuniemi, who entered Friday’s best-of-seven match play at different ends of the spectrum, seeded No. 2 and No. 30, respectively.
Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) was the first participant of the Round of 8 to advance, defeating Brian Kretzer (Dayton, Ohio) 4-1, rolling in the final game, 268-169.
Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.), who scored an upset of No. 3 Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) in the Round of 32, went seven games in defeating Dino Castillo (Carrollton, Texas), who advanced out of Wednesday’s Tour Qualifying Round.
The four bowlers advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at Noon MST at Oasis Lanes. The winner will take home $25,000 and a one-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
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