March 29, 2007 19:00
A week after coming up just short of one of his biggest career goals, Chris Barnes is back on the horse.
The defending champion won both his matches Friday to advance to the Round of 8 in the 2007 PBA Tournament of Champions, the final event and fourth Major of the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
Barnes overcame a three-games-to-none deficit to defeat Rick Lawrence, 4-3, in the Round of 32 Friday morning, then defeated former Tournament of Champions winner Patrick Healey Jr., 4-1, in the Round of 16 at Bradley Bowl.
Last week, Barnes finished second to Doug Kent in the Denny’s World Championship in his quest to become the fifth bowler to win the PBA’s Triple Crown: a win in the U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions and Denny’s World Championship. He won the second of three legs in last year’s Tournament of Champions.
Also on Barnes’ mind is the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race, which is up for grabs in the season’s final event. He owns one title this season, the 2007 GEICO Classic, and finished third in the PBA World Point Rankings.
On Friday, Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) dug himself a hole against Lawrence as the Celina, Texas, native averaged 245.33 over the first three games. Barnes stormed back, however, salvaging the match with a 228-190 win in game four. He improved his score over the final three games to overcome Lawrence, wrapping up the match with a 256-173 win in game seven.
“This is always a special tournament since the most recent winners on Tour are here and the hottest players in the world are competing so there are no easy draws in this one,” said Barnes. “Rick took me to task and I survived and Patrick is a past champion so he’s always tough. Everything changes tomorrow though. You have to be able to make adjustments.”
Barnes will take on Mike Wolfe (New Albany, Ind.) in Saturday’s Round of 8 which moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Wolfe posted the Round of 16’s only sweep, knocking off Patrick Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) who had swept Wes Malott, 4-0, in the Round of 32. Malott is also in the running for PBA Player of the Year with one title and the No. 1 spot in the PBA World Point Rankings.
Also advancing was PBA Hall of Famer and all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., who defeated Ritchie Allen (Columbia, S.C.), 4-1. Williams is looking to become the second bowler in PBA history (Mike Aulby) to complete the “Super Slam,” a win in all five of the Denny’s PBA Tour Majors, including the now-defunct Touring Players Championship.
Saturday’s Round of 8 features two sessions with the first two matches getting underway at 4 p.m. ET. The second pair of matches take place at 7 p.m.
The final four advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 1 p.m. ET at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The winner will take home $60,000 and a two-season exemption through the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it.