Rhino Page said he only looked at the scoreboard once and just tried to remain relaxed during Friday night’s Round of 16 match play. That mantra seemed to work for him as he ended up edging out Wes Malott by 72 pins for the No. 1 seed in Sunday’s live televised ESPN finals of the Lumber Liquidators Shark Championship, the eighth stop of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.
“Last week (at the Cheetah Championship in Cheektowaga, N.Y.) I made it to match play and I just pressed and pressed, I wanted it so bad and I got ahead of myself,” Page said. “This time I was relaxed and just took my time. I just tried to bowl in the 220s, I made the moves and I had the right equipment in my hand.”
Page of Topeka, Kan. finished with a 13-4-1 match play record, 7,727 pins and averaged 228.81. It is Page’s first television appearance of the season and he is seeking his second career title.
“I’m very happy (to be the No. 1 seed),” the 25-year-old said. “I put myself in a situation where I’m automatically in the title match. It’s been a tough year for me, but I’ve worked on some things and it feels good to be back and play the way I know how to.”
No. 2 seed Malott is making his fourth televised finals appearance this season and seeking his second title of the year, and fifth overall. He finished Friday with a 10-8 record, 7,655 pins and 229.84 average.
“I am the only righty on the show again (he was the sole right-hander in the finals of the Earl Anthony Medford Classic in Medford, Ore. last season) so hopefully that will help me.”
Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla. struck out in the 10th in the final position round to beat out Mika Koivuniemi by six pins to nab the fourth and final spot in Sunday’s finals. Allen, who will be making his second consecutive televised appearance, finished at 9-8-1, 7,544 pins and averaged 226.84.
“It’s just emotional bowling against Mika,” Allen said. “We’ve locked heads on TV and gone back and forth in the past, it was a very intense finish. I fought really hard tonight. It came down to the 10th, Mika needed a strike and fortunately he didn’t make it.”
Allen will face No. 3 seed Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J. in the first men’s stepladder match. Bohn III is looking for his second consecutive title after winning last week’s Cheetah Championship in Cheektowaga, N.Y. as the No. 1 seed. Bohn III finished with a 13-5 record, 7,579 pins and 224.66 average.
“I always want to be in the top position but going into the last game tonight, I just wanted to bowl a good game and make the telecast,” Bohn III said. “I knew Wes and Rhino were striking and were 50 pins ahead so I wasn’t worried about catching them. I have three games on Sunday … I will be more than happy to bowl three consecutive games.”
In the Women’s Series, sponsored by the U.S. Bowling Congress (USBC), Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of N. Richland Hills, Texas and Jodi Woessner of Oregon, Ohio finished No. 1 and 2, respectively, to earn spots in Sunday’s live ESPN finals.
Dorin-Ballard is seeking her second consecutive PBA Women’s Series title after winning in Cheektowaga last week and Woessner is making her second finals appearance this season (she lost to Michelle Feldman in the championship match of the Chameleon Championship in Taylor, Mich.).
Dorin-Ballard led the entire tournament, finishing 5-4 in match play with 5,204 pins and 219.74 average.
“This is definitely not my pattern (Shark),” Dorin-Ballard said. “I came in with an open mind but I knew there were girls here who can bowl well on this pattern so I did not expect to finish in the top two when I first started. I’m really fortunate to be on this telecast.”
Woessner is seeking her first career PBA Women’s Series title. She finished at 7-2, 5,113 pins and averaged 213.17.
“I had a good feeling coming here this week,” Woessner said. “The first set I didn’t do so well but in the second set I made some adjustments.”
The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. EST. The top four finalists advanced to stepladder competition. No. 4 Allen will face No. 3 Bohn III, the winner of that match will face No. 2 Malott, the winner of that match will face No. 1 Page in the championship match. The women’s championship match featuring Dorin-Ballard and Woessner will take place first and the men’s matches will follow.