As the only right-handed bowler in Sunday’s championship round, Wes Malott thought he might have an advantage against his left-handed opponents. Turns out, he was right.
Malott defeated rookie Rhino Page, 255-193, to win the 2008 Lumber Liquidators Earl Anthony Medford Classic at Lava Lanes to capture his third career Denny’s PBA Tour title.
The 31-year-old had finished second in his last three championship rounds and four of the last five, but he finally put it all together, striking in 17 of 22 frames in his two matches. The outcome of the two matches were never really in question, a contrast to his recent losses on TV. In three of his last four title-match losses, his margin of defeat was eight pins or less.
“Once we got to the show I knew the lefties would have to go through a transition,” Malott (Argyle, Texas) said. “In that first semifinal match, neither of them struck from the fifth frame on so I knew it was starting to transition. I still had to bowl well and thankfully I did and brought it home.”
In the title match against Page, who was making history as the first rookie since Mike Durbin in 1967 to make three championship rounds, Malott jumped out to an early lead with strikes in the first four frames. After looking dominant in his first match, a 230-190 win over Patrick Allen, Page never caught up to the transition and failed to string two strikes together after starting the match with a double.
It was another disappointing finish for the 24-year-old phenom, who has finished second twice and fifth in his three championship round appearances. He is still well on his way to the PBA Rookie of the Year award as he sits in the top 10 in the PBA World Point Rankings, all while having to go through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds each week.
Malott, meanwhile, moved up to third in the PBA Player of the Year race behind Allen and leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. Page moved into seventh on the list.
Malott advanced to the title match with a 245-235 win over Parker Bohn III. Malott started the match with six consecutive strikes and never looked back, striking in the eighth and ninth frames to clinch the match.
In the first semifinal, Page jumped ahead of Allen early with strikes in the first five frames which turned out to be enough as neither bowler struck in the final five frames. Allen, who was making his fourth consecutive championship round appearance, had just three strikes in the match and an open in the fourth frame.
Malott earned $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season with his win. Page (Topeka, Kan.) earned $13,000 for second while Bohn (Jackson, N.J.) and Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) took home $6,000 each for third and fourth, respectively.
The Denny’s PBA Tour moves to Fountain Valley, Calif., next week for the 2008 Motel 6 Dick Weber Open, Jan. 15-20 at Fountain Bowl. The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. ET.Denny’s PBA Tour
2008 Lumber Liquidators Earl Anthony Medford Classic
Sunday, Jan. 13
|1.||Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas||500 (2 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Rhino Page, Topeka, Kan.||423 (2 games)||$13,000|
|3.||Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J.||235 (1 game)||$6,000|
|4.||Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla.||190 (1 game)||$6,000|
SCORES – In the first match, Page def. Allen, 230-190; in the second match, Malott def. Bohn, 245-235; and in the final, Malott def. Page, 255-193.
This is Malott’s third career Denny’s PBA Tour title.