Although he was officially eliminated from the 2007-08 PBA Player of the Year race this week, Tommy Jones still showed he’s one of the strongest forces on the Denny’s PBA Tour and will be for years to come.
Jones won his second title of the season and his 12th in the last four seasons, defeating PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber, 257-191, to win the 2008 GEICO Classic at AMF Babylon Lanes.
The 29-year-old won four titles apiece in 2004-05 and 2005-06 then captured two victories in 2006-07, the second of which gave him a PBA record for shortest time between first and 10th titles. After a slow start to this season which featured no championship rounds, Jones has responded with four TV appearances and two victories in the second half.
While he could still technically tie Chris Barnes in the PBA Player of the Year point rankings by winning next week’s season-ending 65th Denny’s U.S. Open, Jones would not be able to catch Barnes in the tiebreaker which goes to the bowler who finishes highest in the PBA World Point Rankings.
“I typically don’t bowl well on this pattern,” Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.) said of the Cheetah oil pattern. “But they hooked a lot and I could throw it hard which is right in my comfort zone. It was an advantage for me because I could create hold where a couple guys couldn’t.”
Jones was a machine in his three victories Sunday, shooting 269 and 268 in his first two wins. While he slowed down a little in the title match, the top-seeded Weber opened in the third and fourth frames, which was all Jones needed. After single-pin conversions in the fourth and fifth frames, Jones struck in the seventh, eighth and ninth to clinch the victory, his second career win on Long Island.
The No. 3 seed Jones advanced to the title match with a 268-244 win over No. 2 Tommy Delutz Jr. Delutz struck with his first six shots in the match before two spares in the next three frames. Jones took advantage with four consecutive strikes in frames six through nine. He then struck with his first ball in the 10th to lock Delutz out.
Jones first defeated Walter Ray Williams Jr., 269-226. Williams would have tied Chris Barnes for the lead in the PBA Player of the Year race with a victory over Jones, but Jones struck six consecutive times after a spare in the opening frame and overall struck 10 of the last 11 frames. Williams was unable to catch up and he’ll head into next week’s season-ending U.S. Open two points behind Barnes.
In the first match, Williams advanced with a 238-216 win over No. 5 Wes Malott. Williams held a one-pin advantage over Malott heading into the ninth frame where Malott struck to take the lead. Williams responded with a strike in the ninth and needed to strike out in the 10th to shut Malott out. Williams struck all three times to eliminate Malott from the Player of the Year race.
Jones, who improved to 34-8 in his career on TV, took home $25,000 for the win while Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) earned $13,000 for second. Delutz (Flushing, N.Y.) took home $6,500 for third, Williams (Ocala, Fla.) earned $5,500 for fourth while Malott (Argyle, Texas) earned $5,000 for fifth.
The 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour wraps up next week with the 65th Denny’s U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J., the fourth Major of the season. The live ESPN-televsied championship round takes place Sunday, March 30 at 2 p.m. EST. The winner will take home $100,000 and a three-season exemption.Denny’s PBA Tour
2008 GEICO Classic
AMF Babylon Lanes
West Babylon, N.Y.
Sunday, March 23
|1.||Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C.||794 (3 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo.||191 (1 game)||$13,000|
|3.||Tommy Delutz Jr., Flushing, N.Y.||244 (1 game)||$6,500|
|4.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||464 (2 games)||$5,500|
|5.||Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas||216 (1 game)||$5,000 |
SCORES – In the first match, Williams def. Malott, 238-216; in the second match, Jones def. Williams, 269-226; in the third match, Jones def. Delutz, 268-244; and in the final, Jones def. Weber, 257-191.
This is Jones’ 12th career Denny’s PBA Tour title.