Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, held off the second challenge to his reign as King of Bowling, defeating H&R Block Tournament of Champions winner Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 258-234, in Wednesday’s ESPN2 telecast at Kegel Training Center.
Handed the advantage when Allen failed to convert the 2-4-6-10 split in his opening frame, Malott struck on eight of his first nine shots to lock up his second straight $10,000 King of Bowling prize.
“I was just kind of fortunate to bowl two lefties in same show,” Malott said. “They had to deal with the lane transition. The lanes were a pinch tighter for me than they were the first week, but I was the only righty changing things, so it was pretty easy to stay on top of the situation.
“I thought Patrick was struggling a bit on the left lane and when I saw that, I started licking my chops. I made good shots and stayed slow. What worked for me the first week pretty much worked the second.
“It absolutely felt good to get through week two,” Malott added, “but you can’t let down your guard. You want to keep going. Every match is going to be difficult.”
The preliminary match was a real nail-biter. Allen, No. 4 in PBA Player of the Year points, and Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, No. 5 on the points list, each started with six strikes. Allen then converted the 2-4-7-8 in his seventh frame, but back-to-back 10 pins in the seventh and eighth frames were costly for Scroggins because Allen answered with another string of four strikes to pull out a 272-268 victory.
In week two, Malott and ESPN “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon bowled the opening frames of their special challenge match. Malott, using plastic equipment, spotted Wilbon 57 handicap pins, but Malott had problems cutting into Wilbon’s lead after missing a 10 pin in the first frame.
“It was kinda funny when he showed up,” Malott said of Wilbon. “I could see some nerves, which kinda surprised me coming from a guy who lives in front of the camera. But he came to play and he let me know it.”
The conclusion of the Wilbon-Malott match will be seen May 6 when Malott will also defend his King of Bowling crown against the winner of the Bill O’Neill vs. Walter Ray Williams Jr. match. PBA’s King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy telecasts air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2 through May 20.