LAS VEGAS – Turning 50 as a top-tier competitive bowler is anything but the first step toward days of leisure and endless relaxation.
For Chris Barnes of Denton, Texas, becoming eligible for senior competition has meant balancing his time on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour with five months of events on the PBA50 Tour, along with all of life’s off-lane responsibilities.
This week, the 19-time PBA Tour champion is at Sam’s Town Bowling Center for the final tournament of the PBA50 Tour season and finds himself among the 16 undefeated bowlers after the first day of match play at the United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters.
BowlTV.com is providing wire-to-wire coverage of the USBC Senior Masters, including the stepladder finals, scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.
There also are 16 bowlers remaining in the Elimination Bracket, and all 32 surviving competitors will be back on the lanes at Sam’s Town on Saturday at noon Eastern.
Match play at the premier event for USBC members 50 and older will continue throughout the day Saturday, and the final five bowlers will advance to Sunday’s championship round. The winner will take home a $ 20,000 top prize.
As the season and Senior Masters wind down, Barnes also is in the running for PBA50 Player and Rookie of the Year. Oh, and the USBC Masters is one of the few missing pieces from his hall-of-fame resume, so winning the senior edition in his debut would be extremely special.
The 51-year-old right-hander with one PBA50 Tour title this season qualified eighth for this week’s 64-player double-elimination match-play bracket and picked up wins against Alvin Lou of El Cajon, California (694-564), and longtime friend John Burkett of Southlake, Texas (705-686).
Of the unbeaten players, eight are competing in the Senior Masters for the first time and two – Barnes and top seed Tom Hess of Granger, Iowa – also are battling for the postseason awards.
The group includes 2018 Senior Masters champion Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, 2018 runner-up Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, and 2017 Super Senior Classic winner Ron Mohr of Las Vegas.
Duke, Hess, Warren, Doug Kent of Newark, New York, and Parker Bohn III of Jackson, New Jersey, all have won the Masters, a major on the PBA Tour. Warren is one of three bowlers in history to win both.
“In looking at my next match and farther into the bracket, I know it won’t get any easier, so I’ll need to keep getting sharper and sharper,” said Barnes, who will face Dino Castillo of Highland Village, Texas, in the next round. “When you get some opportunities in matches, you need to take advantage, because you probably won’t get very many of them. The deeper you go, the opportunities are even fewer.”
In his match against Burkett, Barnes was down 59 pins after the first game but was able to cut that deficit to eight pins after two games.
He got into a position in the final game where hitting the pocket in the 10th frame would’ve been enough to advance without difficulty, but he left the 3-6-7-10 split on his first offering.
“It was on the tighter lane, and I talked myself into a pretty bad shot,” said Barnes, who owns three runner-up finishes at the Masters. “I didn’t want to throw it hard. I ended up throwing it slow and right, and I got around it. Really, the only way I could go high, but I was fortunate to leave something I thought I could make. I made my customary move in that situation and aced the spare to shut him out.”
Barnes and Burkett recently practiced together on the lanes at Burkett’s house. They bowled on the 2019 Senior Masters pattern and discussed strategy, some of which included how to effectively use urethane.
Burkett ended up going that route in their match Friday at Sam’s Town, and Barnes’ own advice nearly earned him an early trip to the Elimination Bracket.
The list of bowlers who did end up in the Elimination Bracket and will be back on the lanes Saturday includes a pair of two-time Senior Masters champions, Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri, and Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Florida, standout rookie Brad Angelo of Lockport, New York, and defending champion Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela.
Monacelli lost his first match to first-time participant Tim Mack of Indianapolis, 700-670, and Mack remained unbeaten with a victory against Michael Haggitt of Springfield, Ohio.
Weber and Angelo are the other two players vying for this year’s PBA50 Player of the Year award, and Angelo entered the Senior Masters as the front-runner for PBA50 Rookie of the Year.
Barnes’ practice session with Burkett was a small part of the work he has been putting in as he tries to figure out how to continue to be successful as he gets older. He also spent time on the lanes with Team USA assistant coach Mark Baker and then visited Storm’s headquarters in Utah, where the staff helped him with equipment and drillings.
“The mindset hasn’t changed, just how much your body will allow changes,” Barnes said. “I can’t grind through as many games as I used to, so it has to be efficient and more focused. I’ve been out of whack, and that just has to do with getting older. You start cheating it a little bit, and suddenly, you’re not throwing it very well. Mark Baker really helped me out, and I learned some things from the Storm team.”
The extra work is helping the pieces fall into place, or stay there, and Barnes is coming off a runner-up finish to Hess at the 2021 PBA50 Senior U.S. Open.
The dedication is keeping him competitive on both tours, but it is moments like he experienced against Burkett keeping him motivated, even when his schedule now includes traveling to support his sons Ryan and Troy, who are at different colleges and involved in a variety of activities. Barnes is married to USBC Hall of Famer Lynda Barnes.
“Moments like today are fun and the reason I’m still out here competing and putting in the work between events, even when my body hurts,” Barnes said. “This really is the fun part – matches like this with the adrenaline flowing, the crowd cheering and a great energy and buzz in the building. That’s what gets me up in the morning and out on the lanes.”
The 2021 Senior Masters started with 223 competitors vying for one of the 63 open spots in the bracket with Monacelli.
The Super Senior Classic, won last weekend by Monacelli, and Senior Masters are taking place at the 56-lane Sam’s Town Bowling Center together for the fifth time, a routine that began in 2016.
For more information on the Super Senior Classic, visit BOWL.com/SuperSenior. To learn more about the USBC Senior Masters, visit BOWL.com/SeniorMasters.
United States Bowling Congress
The United States Bowling Congress serves as the national governing body of bowling as recognized by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). USBC conducts championship events nationwide including the largest participation sporting events in the world – the USBC Open and Women’s Championships – and professional events such as the USBC Masters and USBC Queens.
Founded in 1895, today USBC and its 1,524 state and local associations proudly serve more than a million members. USBC is headquartered in Arlington, Texas, working toward a future for the sport. The online home for USBC is BOWL.com.
2021 USBC SENIOR MASTERS
At Sam’s Town Bowling Center
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Winners remain in Winners Bracket. Losers move to Elimination Bracket).
(1) Tom Hess, Granger, Iowa, def. (64) Jay Hess, Gotha, Fla., 681-544.
(32) David Rosenburg, Rolla, Mo., def. (33) Michael Tountas, Tucson, Ariz., 640-497.
(17) Dan Knowlton, Dade City, Fla., def. (48) Steve Kloempken, Pleasant View, Utah, 726-641.
(16) Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, def. (49) Jim Montgomery, Surprise, Ariz., 598-551.
(9) Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, def. (56) John DeBenedetta, Las Vegas, 569-526.
(24) Michael Karch, Edgewood, Wash., (41) Michael Lucente, Warren, Mich., 635-576.
(40) John Burkett, Southlake, Texas, def. (25) Eric Forkel, Henderson, Nev., 679-591.
(8) Chris Barnes, Denton, Texas, def. (57) Alvin Lou, El Cajon, Calif., 694-564.
(5) Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., def. (60) Jeff Johnson, Freeport, Ill., 626-611.
(28) Daniel Miyamoto, Pearl City, Hawaii, def. (37) Mike Hanson, Spokane, Wash., 698-610.
(44) Robert Brown, Cody, Wyo., def. (21) Paul Fleming, Fort Worth, Texas, 592-547.
(53) Rick Meneley, Santa Maria, Calif., def. (12) Robert Reed, Weed, Calif., 652-629.
(52) Donnie Hogue, Akron, Ohio, def. (13) Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 635-605.
(20) John Gould, Yuba City, Calif., def. (45) Tony Johnson, Canton, Ohio, 696-634.
(29) John Marsala, St. Louis, def. (36) Mark Sullivan, Indianapolis, 671-598.
(4) Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., def. (61) Eric Adolphson, Concord, Calif., 746-623.
(3) Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., def. (62) William Graham, Surprise, Ariz., 640-589.
(30) John Congro, Las Vegas, def. (35) Darryl Bower, Middletown, Pa., 622-579.
(46) Tim Mack, Indianapolis, def. (19) Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 700-670.
(14) Michael Haggitt, Springfield, Ohio, def. (51) Timothy Myers, Milwaukie, Ore., 617-613.
(54) David Cirigliano, Phoenix, def. (11) Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 645-639.
(22) Tony Manna, Papillion, Neb., def. (43) Bob Rosenau, Redding, Calif., 697-671.
(27) Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., def. (38) Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 749-626.
(6) Charles Richey Jr., Concord, N.C., def. (59) Steve Smith, San Diego, 606-575.
(7) Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., def. (58) Doug Kempt, Arcadia, Calif., 627-578.
(39) Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., def. (26) Steven Badovinac, Parker, Colo., 642-572.
(42) Herman Ferguson, Los Angeles, def. (23) Bill Vannoy, Jacksonville, N.C., 700-605.
(10) Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., def. (55) Daniel Inocencio, College Station, Texas, 747-546.
(15) Tom Adcock, Decatur, Ill., def. (50) Widmar Vargas, Sun City Center, Fla., 644-571.
(18) David Leverage, Peoria, Ariz., def. (47) Steve Gagnon, Canada, 668-569.
(31) Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, def. (34) Jimmie Dillingham, Tacoma, Wash., 706-557.
(2) Walt Blackston, Hawthorne, Calif., def. (63) Kevin Anderson, Mount Juliet, Tenn., 604-475.
ROUND 2 – WINNERS BRACKET
T. Hess def. Rosenburg, 648-605.
Mohr def. Knowlton, 694-646.
Castillo def. Karch, 671-668.
Barnes def. Burkett, 705-686.
Miyamoto def. Couch, 682-671.
Meneley def. Brown, 698-674.
Hogue def. Gould, 687-607.
Bohn def. Marsala, 649-598.
Warren def. Congro, 704-669.
Mack def. Haggitt, 645-629.
Cirigliano def. Manna, 611-607.
Kent def. Richey, 637-555.
Beasley def. Weber, 701-644.
Duke def. Ferguson, 668-581.
Leverage def. Adcock, 737-706.
Blackston def. Haugen, 652-590.
ROUND 1 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, finish tied for 49th, earn $ 1,000)
J. Hess def Tountas, 569-507.
Forkel def. Lou, 662-636.
Kloempken def. Montgomery, 709-645.
Lucente def. DeBenedetta, 551-522.
J. Johnson def. Hanson, 659-623.
Adolphson def. Sullivan, 657-638.
Fleming def. Reed, 661-506.
Boresch def. T. Johnson, 621-542.
Graham def. Bower, 615-502.
Williams def. Smith, 641-583.
Monacelli def. Myers, 763-546.
Angelo def. Rosenau, 709-685.
Badovinac def. Kempt, 594-570.
Dillingham def. Anderson, 637-524.
Inocencio def. Vannoy, 675-577.
Gagnon def. Vargas, 592-506.
ROUND 2 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, finish tied for 33rd, earn $ 1,100)
Haggitt def. J. Hess, 624-545.
Manna def. Forkel, 676-647.
Kloempken def. Congro, 647-627.
Richey def. Lucente, 657-595.
Ferguson def. J. Johnson, 633-611.
Adolphson def. Adcock, 625-609.
Weber def. Fleming, 759-618.
Boresch def. Haugen, 637-556.
Knowlton def. Graham, 705-610.
Williams def. Karch, 646-578.
Monacelli def. Rosenburg, 666-589.
Angelo def. Burkett, 796-711.
Badovinac def. Brown, 672-608.
Dillingham def. Gould, 575-554.
Couch def. Inocencio, 628-533.
Marsala def. Gagnon, 652-584.