Fifty-four year-old Tom Baker of King, N.C., bowled a perfect 300 game in the first round of match play at the PBA World Championship in Wichita, Kan. Baker defeated No. 32 seed Mike Machuga of Erie, Pa., 4-2 (238-227, 246-169, 196-212, 238-199, 229-248, 300-227) to advance to the Round of 16.
“I don’t really get nervous anymore, but it’s still exciting,” said Baker, who shot his 48th career PBA 300 game. “You just count on making a good shot. I knew I had already won, but it’s nice to do it (shoot 300) for the fans and for myself. It was a good feeling.”
The 2008-09 season marks the last year of Baker’s five-year exemption, which he earned at the PBA World Championship in 2004. That win made him the oldest bowler to win the World Championship and the third-oldest to win a Major.
“I have to earn my exemption this year so my goal is to stay towards the top,” Baker said. “Last year I started off horribly because I took a couple months off in the summer. This summer, I bowled on the Senior Tour and competed in some Regional Tournaments; I kept bowling, felt sharp. I feel like I’m off to a good start.”
In the Round of 32, seven of 16 matches were sweeps. No. 25 seed Tony Reyes defeated No. 24 George Lambert IV, No. 9 Brad Angelo took out No. 40 Tommy Delutz Jr., No. 16 and PBA Player of the Year for 2007-08 Chris Barnes dispatched No. 33 Dino Castillo, No. 12 Mika Koivuniemi eliminated No. 37 D.J. Archer, No. 10 Brian Kretzer sent home #39 Mitch Beasley, No. 23 Bill O'Neill beat out No. 26 Ken Abner and No. 30 Eugene McCune upset No. 19 Troy Wollenbecker.
Match play continues Saturday with the Round of 16 starting at 9 a.m. CST. The top seeds going into match play received a two-round bye and will start competition in the Super 16 Saturday at 2 p.m. CST. No. 2 seed Norm Duke, who can make history this week by winning three consecutive Majors, Wichita native Sean Rash, seeded third and looking to win his second major in his hometown, as well as top seed Jason Belmonte will all try to capture the first Major of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season.
PBA World Championship Format:
There are three squads of qualifying (A, B and C). Each squad will bowl one 6-game block each day over three days, completing 18 total games of qualifying. The field will then be cut to the top 53 on Thursday night, Oct. 23. Bowlers making the cut will return on Friday morning, Oct. 24 for nine games of semi finals. Upon completion of the nine games, the field will then be cut to the top 40 bowlers, with the top eight bowlers receiving two byes and an automatic berth into the Super Round of 16. Bowlers finishing 9-40, will then compete in a best 4-out-of-7 single elimination match play format starting Friday at 6 p.m. and continuing on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. until eight bowlers remain. Those eight bowlers will then face the top eight bowlers from qualifying in the Super Round of 16 on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. Matches continue until four bowlers remain, thus advancing to the live ESPN finals on Sunday, Oct. 26 at noon. All times CT.