It's Barnes and "Battle of Columbia" in Dick Weber PBA Playoffs finals

    04/13/11

    2010-11 PBA Tour #12

    Will one-ball roll-off decide $50,000 top prize Sunday's PBA Tour season-finale on ESPN?

    201011PBA12AllenBarnesWeiss.jpg201011PBATour12DickWeberPBAPLayoffsLogo_small.jpgChris Barnes (center), the Professional Bowlers Association's newest member of the elite Triple Crown club, will take on the pride of Columbia, S.C., in the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season finale Sunday in a unique contest that may be decided by a one-ball roll-off.

    Barnes, a 13-time PBA Tour winner from Double Oak, Texas, will meet two-time Tour titlist Dick (formerly known as Ritchie) Allen (left) and non-titlist Randy Weiss (right), both from Columbia, in the championship round of the Lumber Liquidators Dick Weber PBA Playoffs at Woodland Bowl at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. All three won their Conference Championship matches to advance to the PBA Tour's end-of-season showdown.

    Sunday's championship round will begin with a three-player, one-game eliminator round with the lowest scoring player eliminated. The top two will then bowl a "best-of-two-game" championship match that could result in a one-ball roll-off for the $50,000 first prize if the two survivors split the two games. If one of the two wins both games, he'll win outright.

    Weiss is the underdog. An eight-time PBA Regional title winner who made his national television debut in the PBA Playoffs, Weiss earned his place in the final round by nipping 13-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones, 239-238, and Ryan Shafer (207) in the Regional Championship round, and rallying for a 191-179 victory over Steve Jaros in the Eastern Conference Championship.

    Allen is the unknown factor. He won his last title in 2006, but he was near-perfect in rolling a 289 in the Regional Championship round when he eliminated PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. (221) and leading 2010-11 Player of the Year candidate Mika Koivuniemi (201). He followed that win with a 222-198 victory over Jack Jurek in the Midwest Conference Championship.

    Barnes is the favorite. Barnes, with a solid 217 game, survived his Regional Championship battle against Lonnie Waliczek (201) and Lennie Boresch Jr. (177) before posting an impressive 260-199 victory over Jason Belmonte in the Western Conference Championship.

    Now the three finalists will re-convene at Woodland Bowl where Barnes, who won the PBA World Championship under similar circumstances in January, will be the favorite against his less experienced opponents. The reality is, however, that neither Weiss nor Allen care about Barnes' supposed advantages any more than they care about winning bragging rights in their home city.

    201011PBA12RandyWeiss2.jpg"I'm not worried about any of it," the 37-year-old Weiss said. "So far it's been a fun ride, a lot of fun. I'm not worried about the money. That doesn't mean anything to me compared to the title. This is what I've dreamed about since I was a kid. I don't think I could be more excited. I'm just glad I performed as well as I have so far."

    Weiss (pictured left) said a duel for Columbia bragging rights isn't a big motivator because neither is a Columbia native and they've never developed a hometown rivalry.

    "I actually met Ritchie when he was 17, 18 and we shared a cab in Las Vegas when we were both bowling a high roller event. He didn't live here at the time and I didn't move here until after high school," Weiss said.

    "Plus we kind of have different schedules. He's married with a new baby; I'm six years divorced, and I spend most of my time on the other side of town because that's where my pro shop is. There's no more between us than anyone else I'd bowl against."

    Regardless of where he finishes Sunday, Weiss will receive his biggest PBA paycheck. Second prize is $25,000 and third place is $13,000. His previous best finish in a PBA Tour event was ninth place, which he had achieved on four different occasions.

    Allen, 32, is five years younger than Weiss, and both joined the PBA in 1999. But since then, Allen has had significantly more success in PBA Tour competition. In 150 national tournaments, Allen has advanced to match play 58 times and made it to television six times. Weiss has bowled in 137 PBA Tour events, but has only advanced to match play 17 times and had never qualified for TV before the PBA Playoffs.

    201011PBA12DickAllen.jpgAllen (right) will return to Indianapolis after a delay between the preliminary rounds and Sunday's live ESPN finale, hoping to simply get back into the same groove he was in when he left town.

    "I've experienced the delay (between TV shows)," Allen said, "so I'll come back to Indianapolis, and ask for the same room and try to repeat the same things I did when I was here before. I'll try to get in the same rhythm I had in March: relax, eat at the same places, that sort of thing. I'm not superstitious, but if I'm doing something good and I think it's because of what I'm eating, I'll keep eating it."

    In the meantime, Allen's time at home has consisted of "bad practice and not enough sleep. The tournament has been pretty much an afterthought," he laughed. The lack of sleep, he admitted, has to do with the arrival of his first child, daughter Piper, in early March. The bad practice, he added, doesn't concern him. "I know what the problem is, so I'm not too worried about it."

    He is eager to return to Indianapolis for the "battle of Columbia," but it's not the battle you might think.

    "I'm a Columbia transplant," Allen said. "I've only lived here about seven years. It's the place where I reside. My real dad was in the Air Force, and stepdad ran bowling centers, so I moved every couple of years. I lived in 14 different states growing up. I was an Air Force brat in the summer, a bowling center punk in the fall.

    "I see Randy more at regionals than I do around town, so there isn't a Columbia rivalry thing between us. My thing is, I want Chris, who is a Columbia 300 staffer," he continued. "I bowled Barnes a lot in regionals back in 2001, 2002 and I beat him then, so I'll take it as a battle of me against Columbia 300.

    "I know my game. I know my equipment," Allen said. "If I make 36 quality shots Sunday, there's a good chance I'll be holding the trophy. I'm not going to worry about the guy from Columbia, or the guy who throws Columbia. You know the old clichés: it'll just be me against the pins."

    201011PBA12ChrisBarnes2.jpgBarnes (left) has by far the most experience and the most success among the three. The one-time Wichita State University All-American joined the PBA a year earlier than Weiss and Allen – in 1998 – and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Since then, he has bowled in 273 Tour events, advanced to match play 199 times, made 74 television appearances and earned PBA Player of the Year honors in 2008.

    More recently, Barnes returned to Las Vegas in January two months after qualifying for the PBA World Championship, and won that event to join Billy Hardwick, Johnny Petraglia, Pete Weber, Mike Aulby and Norm Duke as the PBA's sixth Triple Crown winner.

    "If you're bowling on Sunday, it's a pretty good place to be," Barnes said about returning to Indianapolis. "I feel great about it. We did the same thing for the PBA World Championship. When we came back, I had a little different strategy. That break helped me out a lot.

    "I'm bowling against two guys who are bowling really good," he added. "I have more experience, but that doesn't get you any pins. Someone will probably have to shoot 240, 250 to win."

    If Barnes wins the PBA Playoffs title, he'll be the only player to win two titles during the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season. If he doesn't, 2010-11 will be the only season in PBA Tour history without a multi-title winner.

    A "pre-game" preview of Sunday's championship round can be seen on pba.com's Xtra Frame.

     


    Lumber Liquidators Dick Weber PBA Playoffs Championship Round


    Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis (ESPN, live Sunday, April 17, 1 p.m. ET)

    Eliminator Round
    Randy Weiss, Columbia, S.C.; Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., and Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, will bowl one game; low score eliminated.

    Championship Match
    Match One survivors bowl a best-of-two-game match; if players split the two games, title will be decided in a one-ball roll-off.

     


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