Norm Duke moved even closer to the history books by defeating Parker Bohn III 4-1 (247-244, 279-206, 216-230, 239-223, 234-200) in Saturday’s Round of 8, advancing to Sunday’s televised finals of the PBA World Championship, live on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.
With the win, Duke (Clermont, Fla.) would become the first player in the 50 years of the PBA’s history to win three consecutive Majors.
Duke’s historical journey began with him winning the final two Majors of the 2007-2008 season. After being on the verge of losing his exemption, Duke rallied back from injuries to fashion one of the greatest late-season runs in PBA history, winning titles in both the Denny’s World Championship and the 65th Denny’s U.S. Open.
“Honestly I’m not even thinking about it (making history),” Duke said. “I feel good and I’m just going to go out there and approach it how I always do.”
Duke will face Wichita’s own Sean Rash, who is undefeated in TV appearances thus far (7-0). Rash defeated Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y. in the Round of 8 in six games (245-220, 199-181, 237-176, 256-210, 149-236, 243-215) advancing to Sunday’s ESPN finals.
Reigning PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes (Double Oak, Tex.) came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Todd Book of Wakaponeta, Ohio 4-3 (204-244, 253-225, 202-257, 246-268, 234-203, 235-166, 257-216) in order to advance.
Barnes could become the sixth player in PBA history to win the Triple Crown if victorious. He won the U.S. Open in 2005 and the Tournament of Champions in 2006.
“I didn’t know if it was bad reaction or bad strategy,” Barnes said of his slow start. “I bowled here a lot in college, this was my home center which probably got me through qualifying. I was surprised how many of the (lane) pairs I remembered (referring to the lane characteristics).”
With Barnes and Rash in the Final Four, there could possibly be a Wichita-State alumni championship match. Barnes will face Steve Jaros (Yorkville, Ill.) in the semifinal match. Jaros advanced to the TV finals by sweeping Mika Koivuniemi of Finland (197-171, 257-247, 244-177, 278,169).
PBA World Championship Format:
There were three squads of qualifying (A, B and C). Each squad bowled one 6-game block each day over three days, completing 18 total games of qualifying. The field was then cut to the top 53 on Thursday night, Oct. 23. Bowlers making the cut returned on Friday morning, Oct. 24 for nine games of semi finals. Upon completion of the nine games, the field was then 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, then competed in a best 4-out-of-7 single elimination match play format Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. until eight bowlers remained. Those eight bowlers then faced the top eight bowlers from qualifying in the Super Round of 16 on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. Matches continued until four bowlers remained, thus advancing to the live ESPN finals on Sunday, Oct. 26 at noon. All times CT.