LAS VEGAS – England’s Dom Barrett became the second international player ever to win the PBA World Championship when he held off reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 238-235, in the title match at the South Point Hotel and Casino complex.
The 55th World Championship, which aired Sunday on ESPN, was the fifth and final PBA Tour championship event held as part of PBA World Series of Bowling V.
“Right now I couldn’t be happier,” Barrett said after joining Finland’s Osku Palermaa, the 2011 World Champion, as the second international player to win the event. “It’s a very special feeling, one you don’t often get in bowling, so I’m going to make the most of it.”
Barrett, the leading qualifier over 52 games of qualifying and match play, locked up his third PBA Tour title with three strikes in the 10th frame, although he prematurely began to celebrate after his second strike, thinking that shot had clinched the victory.
“I tried to stay calm all week, not get ahead of myself, trying to keep my heart rate the same and my emotions in check,” the 28-year-old British star said of his emotional outburst. “I know some Americans come across as a bit brash, but I consciously try not to do that. I try to stay very much in the moment, but I guess that was two weeks’ worth of joy and excitement coming out.
“I couldn’t see the scoreboard from where I sat. I thought I had enough, but my corner man said I needed some more, so I got myself composed again. I knew I had count in my favor, so it was a matter of hitting the pocket one more time.”
Needing eight pins on his final ball to shut out Rash, Barrett threw another strike.
Barrett, who lost to Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., in the title match of the Chameleon Championship earlier in the World Series, and failed to advance to the television finals in the 2012 World Championship after leading the tournament going into the final round of match play, said he put those disappointments to good use.
“I was pretty disappointed in the Chameleon, but I really didn’t have a chance because (Ciminelli) bowled so well,” Barrett said. “You always learn more from your failures than your successes, but it’s still important to have success. If you go around losing all the time, you’re not going to want to do this much longer.
“Last year’s World Championship really hurt, too. The pain makes you go home, knuckle down a little more, try a little bit harder, and bowl for days like today.”
Rash, who needed the title to bolster his chances for a second straight PBA Player of the Year award, is one of those emotional players Barrett was referring to, so he didn’t fault Barrett for his emotional display.
“Dom made some great shots toward the end,” Rash said. “He apologized (for his outburst) because he thought he had shut me out and he got a little excited.
“He bowled good, I bowled good,” said Rash, who finished the match with six strikes, but couldn’t overcome a missed 6-10 spare conversion in the third frame over an otherwise error-free game. “It could have gone either way. I guess the good news is, I finished second instead of third like I have in four out of the last five World Championships, so maybe next year I can win this thing.”
Another finalist who saw his PBA Player of the Year hopes fade was PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. At age 51, Weber fought his way into the final field as the No. 5 qualifier and struck on eight of his first nine shots to eliminate 2009 World Champion Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., 258-237, in the first match. Weber, trying for a record 11th PBA major championship, did exactly the same thing in edging Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas, 258-246, in the second match.
Despite starting the semifinal match with six strikes, Weber’s hopes ended when Rash struck on 11 of 12 shots on his way to a 279-249 victory.
Coverage of the PBA World Series of Bowling resumes on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m. ET with the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA. Each final features the three point leaders from a two-year rolling points list based on tournaments held around the world. In the women’s final, points leader Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., will bowl for the title against the winner of a preliminary match between fellow Americans Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, Calif. In the men’s final, Rash is the top qualifier and will bowl the winner of a preliminary match between 2011 WBT Men’s champion Mika Koivuniemi of Finland and Fagan.
A recap of the PBA World Championship and a preview of the WBT events, along with other features, will be available Monday on “The Bowling Center” on YouTube.com. Xtra Frame subscribers who may have missed Sunday’s telecasts will be able to watch the finals “on demand” in the Xtra Frame archives three days after the original show airs.
2013 PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
South Point Exhibition Hall, Las Vegas, Nov. 3 (ESPN telecast Dec. 29)
1, Dom Barrett, England, $50,000.
2, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., $25,000.
3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., $15,000.
4, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, $12,000.
5, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., $10,000.
Match One – Weber def. Smallwood, 258-237.
Match Two – Weber def. Fagan 258-246.
Semifinal Match – Rash def. Weber, 279-249.
Championship Match – Barrett def. Rash, 238-235.