Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, felt his King of Bowling crown slipping off his head, but staged an amazing rally to defeat 2007-08 PBA Rookie of the Year Rhino Page of Topeka, Kan., 257-233, in the fourth installment of the special competition at Kegel Training Center.
Trailing Page by 32 pins in the fifth frame of the King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy event, Malott threw seven strikes in a row and got a couple of breaks from Page to retain his crown.
In the opening match, Page thumped United States Bowling Congress Masters champion John Nolen of Waterford, Mich., 256-176, for the right to bowl Malott.
“John didn’t bowl a very good game, but he was playing the lanes pretty straight,” Malott said. “When I tried that, I had the same problem, so I just tried to attack them the way I had the three previous shows.
“In the first frame I got a little fast,” he continued, explaining the 2-4-10 split he left on one of his rare miscues in the series. “I made a disgusted shot at the spare because my feet got fast. I just walked away and I heard the crowd yell. I converted the split, but I never saw it.”
Malott followed the split conversion with three strikes, but left a 7 pin in the fifth frame and missed it.
“I didn’t know how I wanted to throw at it,” he confessed. “I tried to go straight, but I had an issue with the approach and I didn’t get the ball off my hand.”
In the meantime, Page started with five strikes before leaving a 7 pin of his own. He converted, but his fatal error came in the seventh frame when he left the 6-8 split and failed to convert.
“I knew I had Rhino by a pin if we both struck out,” Malott said. “I ended up doing that. When I got up in the 10th frame, it was the position you always dream of and I made three decent shots.
“Ironically, I had talked with a father with three kids before the show and I told them you had to put bad shots behind you and focus on making the most of your next one. That’s what I did. I could have given up, but I bounced back.”
Malott has successfully retained his King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy crown for four straight weeks. His final challenge will be against the winner of a match between Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., and PBA/USBC Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., on May 20.
King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy telecasts air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.