Patrick Allen and Wes Malott, the two hottest players in pro bowling, will be on stage again Sunday for the finals of the Professional Bowlers Association’s H&R Block Tournament of Champions, the closing event in the PBA’s 50th Anniversary celebration at Red Rock Lanes.
Reigning PBA Rookie of the Year Rhino Page of Topeka, Kan., and veteran Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, will be the challengers who hope to throw ice water on the torrid tandem.
Allen, a 38-year-old left-hander from Wesley Chapel, Fla., will make a PBA record-tying fifth consecutive television appearance as the tournament leader, finishing the six-round, 48-game preliminary battle with 11,927 pins. Malott, who has won two of the last five Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour events, came from behind in the final game of match play to advance to his seventh TV final of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season as the No. 4 qualifier.
In between the two will be Page, bowling for his first major title, and Scroggins, the 2005 United States Bowling Congress Masters champion, who’ll be trying for his second major.
The common thread is that all four are thrilled to be on center stage in front of an unprecedented collection of professional bowling legends each of the finalists idolized as youngsters.
“I’ve been on an unbelievable wave,” Allen said. “After the first six weeks of the season, I was on the verge of bowling for my job. I was bowling terrible. But I had a practice session with Doug Kent. He pointed out a couple of things. I agreed with him, and things began to click. When you’re bowling with confidence, when you believe in yourself, you can get the job done.”
Allen, who will be trying for his 12th career title and second of the 2008-09 season, said Sunday’s title match will be a matter of “throwing 10 shots with reckless abandon and hope. But right now, I think I’m more focused than anyone in the building.”
Page said that despite his youth and lack of experience in major championships, he couldn’t be happier. While he would love to win, he is just going to go out there and fire the ball.
“I can’t tell you what it would be like to win this week,” Page continued. “This is a special year. Everyone who is anyone in the sport is here this week.”
Scroggins, who will bowl Malott in the opening match, knows he’s up against the hottest player in the game. “That’s all right,” he said. “I beat Chris Barnes and Walter Ray Williams Jr. for my last two titles.”
He also admitted the gathering of the PBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-Time hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice.
“It’s a big honor to be here this week. I’ve been star-struck all week with all the guys here who I grew up watching on TV.”
Malott, the only right-hander among the finalists, has his mind on adding to his growing list of accomplishments on Sunday.
“I hit a bunch of personal goals last week in Medford (Ore.) when I defended a title, got my second title of the season and got the Player of the Year points lead,” he said. “Now, my goal is to add a major to my resume.”
“I’ve been the only right-hander on the show before. I won in Medford a year ago and finished second in Baltimore earlier in the season, when I thought I pretty much gave that one away. But hopefully, I’ll be able to build my own lane condition and make good shots.”
First prize in the tournament is $50,000 plus a two-year Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour exemption. The H&R Block Tournament of Champions is the second of four major championships of the 2008-09 season.
The Tournament of Champions will take a break Saturday, however, while the PBA recognizes its gathering of superstars and inducts Norm Duke, Del Ballard Jr. and John Handegard into the PBA Hall of Fame during its 50th Anniversary Gala at Red Rock Resort, Casino and Spa.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
H&R BLOCK TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, Nev.
January 23, 2009
Final Match Play Standings (after 48 games, including match play records and bonus pins)
1, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 16-8, 11,927
2, Rhino Page, Topeka, Kan., 14-8-2, 11,776
3, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 13-11, 11,752
4, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 14-8-2, 11,732
5, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 14-10, 11,710, $5,000
6, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 15-9, 11,638, $4,600
7, Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 17-7, 11,623, $4,100
8, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 15-8-1, 11,472, $3,800
9, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 13-10-1, 11,406, $3,600
10, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 11-12-1, 11,354, $3,500
11, Rick Lawrence, Waxahachie, Texas, 9-14-1, 11,254, $3,200
12, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 12-11-1, 11,246, $3,100
13, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 13-11, 11,190, $2,800
14, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 9-15, 11,185, $2,700
15, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 12-12, 11,136, $2,600
16, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 14-10, 11,113, $2,500
17, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 10-13-1, 11,101, $2,400
18, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 9-15, 11,082, $2,300
19, Brian Voss, Kennesaw, Ga., 10-14, 11,078, $2,250
20, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 13-11, 10,968, $2,200
21, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 10-13-1, 10,961, $2,150
22, Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 7-16-1, 10,755, $2,100
23, John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., 5-19, 10,601, $2,050
24, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 6-16-2, 10,569, $2,000
NOTES: H&R Block Tournament of Champions – Las Vegas, Nev.
300 Games (8)
Chris Barnes (Qualifying Round – Block 1)
Danny Wiseman (Qualifying Round – Block 1)
Dave Husted (Qualifying Round – Block 1)
Sean Rash (Qualifying Round – Block 2)
Tony Reyes (Qualifying Round – Block 2)
Patrick Allen (Qualifying Round – Block 3)
Rhino Page (Round of 24 – Block 1)
Parker Bohn (Round of 24 – Block 3)