January 4, 2008 19:00
Tommy Jones’ heels have been cooled lately after winning 10 titles faster than any bowler in PBA history, but the sleeping giant may have awoken again.
Jones bounced back from a sluggish first half of the 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour season to advance to his first championship round of the season, defeating David Traber, four-games-to-two, Saturday in the 2008 ConstructionJobs.com Championship at the National Bowling Stadium.
The 10-time titlist came into this week just 19th in the PBA World Point Rankings through nine events and failed to make a TV appearance in the first half of a season for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2001-02.
Jones picked a surprising time to break through, making a show for the first time on the Shark oil pattern since 2002.
“I honestly have no clue why I bowled well on this pattern this week,” Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.) said. “When we first started bowling on these named patterns I made my first two shows on Shark and since then I haven’t made one show on this pattern. You had to throw it slow this week and the lanes were really tight. Fortunately that helped me get my timing back.”
Jones used a strong showing in his backyard to close the first half, finishing seventh in the Spartanburg Classic in Spartanburg, S.C., his best finish of the season coming into this week.
“I just haven’t bowled very well at times and haven’t matched up at times. When you don’t bowl with confidence out here, it’s hard to beat these guys,” Jones said. “The last event helped a little. I still didn’t bowl that well, but I was still close enough to compete well and that give me some confidence.”
Jones will face Ryan Shafer in Sunday’s finals after Shafer defeated 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year Doug Kent, 4-0. Like Jones, Shafer has been struggling this season as he will also be making his first championship round appearance of the season. In Shafer’s last finals appearance, he became the 18th bowler in PBA history to fire a perfect game on national TV when he defeated Jeff Carter, 300-228, in the Pepsi Championship semifinals before he came up short in the title match. He’s looking for his first title since 2003.
The other semifinal Sunday will feature Patrick Allen and Danny Wiseman in a rematch of the 2004 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters title match. Allen is making his third consecutive championship round after winning the Lumber Liquidators Championship and finishing third in the Spartanburg Classic to finish the first half. The defending champion, who went 14-0 at the National Bowling Stadium last season en route to the title, defeated 54-year-old Roger Kossert, 4-1. Kossert was looking to become the third-oldest bowler ever to win a Denny’s PBA Tour title.
Wiseman, who owns 11 titles but hasn’t won since defeating Allen in the 2004 Masters, defeated Joe Ciccone, 4-0.
Sunday’s live ESPN-televised championship round gets underway at 10 a.m. PST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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