Lynda Barnes looks to stay in spotlight at USBC Queens

    04/21/09

    United States

    National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. (April 25-29, 2009)

    ImageLynda Barnes (pictured left) went on a major roll last spring, winning the United States Bowling Congress Queens and Bowling's Clash of Champions on national television. The victories made her an instant household name.

    But her household already had a star - her husband, 2007-08 Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Chris Barnes. Lynda's success, of course, led to the inevitable question: Which Barnes is the better bowler?

    Although the debate raged on the Internet and in bowling centers across the country, Lynda didn't quite understand the fuss. There's no doubt in her mind that Chris is the better of the two. And it's not even close.

    "When I hear people talking about it or see poll results, I just laugh," Barnes says. "I consider myself a good bowler, but Chris is definitely one of the best."

    With her husband by her side, Barnes blasted through the Queens field last year in suburban Detroit, going undefeated in match play and earning the top seed for the TV finals. She will look to defend her Queens title when the event takes place April 25-29 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

    In the final frame, she stepped up and delivered what she considers three of the best shots of her life to earn the title with a 215-195 victory over Amy Stolz of Castle Rock, Colo.

    She used Chris' guidance and bowling savvy to help her advance through match play, but when it came time to step up in the championship match, Barnes was on her own. Chris was the color commentator for the television show, and watched from just a few feet away as his wife took the title.

    "I could feel his energy and a great big smile coming from that direction," she says.

    At age 41, Barnes, who also won the Queens in 1998, feels like she has finally made it to the top of the bowling world, even if it wasn't the traditional route of competing professionally that many of the bowlers of her generation took.

    The stay-at-home mom of twin boys - Ryan and Troy, who turn 7 in May - is starting to get the feeling it might be time to back off a bit from bowling competitively.

    "As I get older, it gets to be more work, and I think I always want to go out on top," she says. "I don't want to be one who hangs on forever. I think it's more fun to look back and think that I did it all, and I'm happy and fulfilled so that I can move on."

    But before she moves on, Barnes has a little unfinished business. She, of course, has two titles to defend - the Queens and the Clash. And there's one title that has always eluded her - the team gold medal at the World Women's Championships, an event the United States hosts in Las Vegas this July.

    "If we could win the team gold medal on our home turf this year, it would be the icing on the cake," she says. "I couldn't think of any better way to end my career on Team USA."

    The Queens kicks off with 10 qualifying games over two days before the field is cut to the top 100 for five additional qualifying games. The top 63 then advance to join Barnes in double-elimination match play, which begins at 1 p.m. April 27. The final five players will advance to the televised stepladder finals, which will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. EDT on April 29.

    Should Barnes come away with another victory, she would become just the third woman to win three Queens titles, joining Millie Ignizio (1967, 1970 and 1971) and Wendy Macpherson (1988, 2000 and 2003).