January 10, 2008 19:00
The last time Wes Malott made a Denny’s PBA Tour championship round, he and five other right-handers took turns burning up the lanes which allowed left-hander Patrick Allen to breeze to the Lumber Liquidators Championship.
This week, Malott is looking for payback as he will be the only right-handed bowler in Sunday’s finals of the 2008 Lumber Liquidators Earl Anthony Medford Classic at Lava Lanes.
Malott defeated two left-handers early in the day Friday then knocked off defending champion Sean Rash, four-games-to-none, in the Round of 8 to advance to his third championship round of the season. He’ll look to win his first title of the season and the third of his career.
“I bowled two lefties this morning so I knew the lanes would break down differently,” Malott (Argyle, Texas) said of his match against Rash. “I was fortunate I got it done in four games because if it had gone on longer, it could’ve been interesting.”
Malott will face PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III in the semifinals Sunday. Bohn captured his 31st career Denny’s PBA Tour title three events ago to break a career-worst 61-event winless streak.
“Things could go in my favor Sunday with all the lefties because they’re going to have a lot more transition on their side of the lane than I will,” Malott said. “They have to go through what I went through in Baltimore when there were eight bowlers and six of us were right handed and we beat up the right side pretty good. That day (Allen) got to play pretty much where he wanted to. I still have to bowl well, but maybe this week is payback.”
Malott will look for a change of fortune as he has finished second in both his TV appearances this season. In fact, Malott has finished second in four of his five TV appearances since winning his last title.
The other semifinal will feature a mentor-prodigy match-up between 10-time titlist Patrick Allen – the hottest bowler on Tour – and rookie Rhino Page. The non-exempt Page has had a historic season, advancing through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round seven times in nine tries and making three championship rounds, something no qualifier has ever done twice. Allen, meanwhile, is making his fourth consecutive TV appearance, a first in his career.
Page had an exciting finish in his Round of 8 match, defeating Mike Mineman, 4-2, and winning the sixth game in a roll-off after the two tied at 225. Mineman could have struck out in the 10th frame to win by one pin and force a game seven, but he got nine on his fill ball giving Page a chance to strike out for the tie. Page did just that, then started the one-ball sudden death roll-off with a strike. Mineman matched him, forcing a second roll-off, but Page struck again and Mineman got just nine, giving Page the 20-19 win.
Allen advanced with a 4-1 win over Brad Angelo.
The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday at 10 a.m. PST at Lava Lanes. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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