Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, finished strong to overtake Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr. at the end of the first round of match play in the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour Motor City Open, the kick-off event in the inaugural PBA World Series of Bowling, Wednesday night at Taylor Lanes.
Barnes, the 2007-08 PBA Player of the Year, finished the opening eight games of match play with a 257-254 victory over Rhino Page of Topeka, Kan., for a 23-game total of 5,376 pins and a 53-pin lead over third-round leader Weber. Sean Rash of Wichita, Kan., was third with 5,284 pins followed by Williams at 5,268 and Doug Kent of Newark, N.Y., with 5,229 pins.
“No one was waiting for me,” Barnes said. “The lanes are hard. Not many pairs of lanes here play the same. There are so many minefields. But I had a couple of good runs and that helped.
“I did a lot of bowling over the summer,” he continued. “I’m pretty much where I was when we stopped bowling in April, so I was able to take advantage of the situation and put up some pretty good scores. I also got my share of good breaks.”
Weber, 46, had the lead until the final match while Williams, 49, was in second place heading into round-robin match play, slipped back two places.
Weber, a 34-time PBA Tour winner, admitted he’s usually a slow-starter, but got off to a fast start at Taylor Lanes thanks to some brotherly advice after a disappointing performance in a PBA regional tournament in Oak Forest, Ill., leading into the World Series.
“That tournament was on a lane condition that caters to me, and I didn’t even cash,” Weber said. “I went home and started working with my brother Rich. He noticed I was leaning to the right and leaning forward in my stance. Now it’s a matter of watching my posture. I’m trying not to lean any direction. When I stay upright, my pushaway is longer and that makes my backswing higher. It might not be quite as high as it used to be, but it’s closer and I’m actually on balance. I feel like the old Pete.”
Williams, the all-time PBA Tour titles leader with 45, was surprised to be as close to the lead as he is, considering when he got to Taylor, he wasn’t very excited about how the lanes were playing in practice. The Ocala, Fla., resident is noted for his extraordinary skills playing the outside part of the lane, but most observers believe an inside angle like the one dominating scoring at Taylor is his Achilles heel.
“I’ve always been able to play inside,” Williams said, “but my rev rate usually doesn’t allow me to play as deep as the other guys. This week the lanes are hooking a lot more than I expected after practice, but I was able to find an angle where my carry was pretty good.
“I wasn’t overly optimistic after practice; I usually don’t do that well on shorter oil patterns,” Williams continued. “It isn’t that I can’t play the left side of the lane; it’s just that that part of the lane isn’t my forté.”
The top 24 will bowl their final two eight-game match play rounds Thursday to reduce the field to five for the stepladder finals.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA MOTOR CITY OPEN
Taylor Lanes, Taylor, Mich., Aug. 5
FOURTH ROUND (After 23 games, including match play records and bonus pins)
1, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 5-2-1, 5,376
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 5-3, 5,323
3, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 5-3, 5,284
4, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 3-4-1, 5,268
5, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 6-2, 5,229
6, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 3-5, 5,206, $100
7, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 4-4, 5,194
8, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 5-3, 5,178
9, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 5-3, 5,168
10, Andres Gomez, Bogota, Colombia, 4-4, 5,167
11, John May, Lincolnton, N.C., 6-2, 5,166
12, Dave Arnold, Dublin, Calif., 5-3, 5,148
13, Osku Palermaa, Espoo, Finland, 5-3, 5,141
14, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 4-4, 5,129
15, Rhino Page, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2-6, 5,112
16, Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., 4-4, 5,099
17, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 4-4, 5,086
18, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 4-4, 5,063
19, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 3-5, 5,044
20, Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 3-5, 5,016
21, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 3-5, 4,976
22, Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, 3-5, 4,963
23, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 2-6, 4,954
24, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 2-6, 4,930