Of all the times Michael Fagan dreamed of capturing his first Denny’s PBA Tour title, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined it happening the way it did Sunday.
Fagan and his teammate Danny Wiseman watched as Joe Ciccone missed a spare in the 10th frame that would have tied the match, giving Fagan his first title and Wiseman his 12th with a 210-208 win over Ciccone and Ronnie Russell in the 2008 PBA Exempt Doubles Classic at Red Rock Lanes.
Fagan and Wiseman jumped out to a big lead early, starting the match with five strikes in a row while Russell and Ciccone had two spares and an open in the first four frames. Fagan had two major hiccups late in the match, however, leaving the 1-2-4-6-10 washout in the sixth and a 3-6-10 in the eighth, both of which resulted in open frames. Ciccone and Russell responded with strikes in the sixth and seventh and again in the ninth to pull closer and then Wiseman and Fagan went spare-spare-strike the rest of the way, giving Ciccone a chance to win the match for his team with a strike and nine-spare in the 10th.
Ciccone, who was looking for his first career Denny’s PBA Tour title as was Russell, struck with his first ball in the 10th, but then left the 2- and 5-pins, meaning a spare would take the teams to a one-ball roll-off.
The crowd at Red Rock Lanes along with Fagan and Wiseman sat stunned when Ciccone missed to the left and missed both pins, giving Fagan and Wiseman the title.
“I’m in shock. My heart just goes out to Joe,” Wiseman (Baltimore), who won his first title since 2004, said. “I’m so happy for Michael though. He’s such a talented player and I hope this is the first of many more for him.”
Fagan, who was redeemed after nearly costing his team the title, echoed Wiseman’s sentiments but was relieved to get his first win, an exemption for the 2008-09 season and a berth in the 2008-09 Tournament of Champions.
“They don't always happen the way you imagine it, but I’ll take it any way I can get it,” Fagan (Patchogue, N.Y.) said. “It’s just exciting to be in the winner's circle.’
Fagan and Wiseman were the top seed for the stepladder final and took on the No. 4 seeded Ciccone and Russell, who won two matches to get to the title game.
In the semifinal, Ciccone and Russell defeated Bill O’Neill and Mike Scroggins, 233-223. Ciccone and Russell held a comfortable lead until Russell left the 4-9 in the ninth to let Scroggins and O’Neill back in. With a chance to double for the win, Scroggins gave it right back when he left the 3-6-7 and opened. Ciccone got up in the 10th and struck with his first two shots to give his team the 233-223 win.
In the first match, Ciccone and Russell defeated Chris Barnes and Wes Malott, 235-193. Russell, making his first career TV appearance, had clutch strikes in the eighth and 10th frames sandwiched around a Ciccone strike in the ninth which sealed the win over Barnes and Malott, who were unable to strike after the seventh frame.
Fagan and Wiseman split $40,000 for the win and each earned an exemption for the 2008-09 season. Ciccone (Buffalo) and Russell (Indianapolis) split $18,000 for second, O’Neill (Levittown, Pa.) and Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas) split $9,000 for third and Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) and Malott (Argyle, Texas) earned $7,000 for fourth.
The PBA Exempt Doubles Classic will air tape-delayed on ESPN Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. EST.Denny’s PBA Tour
2008 PBA Exempt Doubles Classic
Red Rock Lanes
Las Vegas, Nev.
Sunday, Jan. 27
|1.||Michael Fagan-Danny Wiseman||210 (1 game)||$40,000|
|2.||Ronnie Russell-Joe Ciccone||676 (3 games)||$18,000|
|3.||Bill O’Neill-Mike Scroggins||223 (1 game)||$9,000|
|4.||Chris Barnes-Wes Malott||193 (1 game)||$7,000|
SCORES – In the first match, Ciccone-Russell def. Barnes-Malott, 235-193; in the second match, Ciccone-Russell def. O’Neill-Scroggins, 233-223; and in the final, Fagan-Wiseman def. Ciccone-Russell, 210-208..
This is Wiseman’s 12th career Denny’s PBA Tour title Fagan’s first career Denny’s PBA Tour title.