BY EMIL WILLIAMS JR.
FAIRLAWN, Ohio — Dom Barrett of Great Bentley, England, became the eighth player in Professional Bowlers Association history to win the Triple Crown after defeating top seed Kristopher Prather of Plainfield, Illinois, 210-189, to win the 2022 KIA PBA Tournament of Champions on Sunday.
The victory came live on FOX as part of the 2022 PBA Tour television schedule and earned Barrett a $ 100,000 top prize. Prather earned $ 55,000 as the runner-up.
With the win, the 36-year-old right-hander now joins Mike Aulby, Chris Barnes, Jason Belmonte, Norm Duke, Billy Hardwick, Johnny Petraglia and Pete Weber as players who’ve won the PBA World Championship, U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions, the original three majors.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I think I could ever do that,” said Barrett, after the match. “I’ve won a lot around the world, but not as much in the USA as I’d hoped. But, I have three majors, a Triple Crown and that puts me alongside Chris Barnes, my good friend. He’s been talking me into this a little bit this week along with Jason Couch. It’s unbelievable.”
In the championship match, Barrett opened with four out of the first five and held a 27-pin advantage after Prather failed to convert the 3-6-10 in the sixth frame.
But, on a day where the best players in the world were uncharacteristically missing spares, it was Barrett who provided the spare of the match.
In the sixth frame, Barrett missed the headpin right and left the 1-2-4-8-10. In a situation which could’ve derailed his title hopes, he calmly spared the washout conversion and used a generous break to help convert the 3-6-10 in the seventh frame.
Prather, who was looking to win his second Tournament of Champions title in three years, still had life, but a solid 9 pin in the eighth frame and an open in the ninth ended his chances.
“It’s just things coming together,” said Barrett, referring to the sixth and seventh frames. “The right lane started to hook early and it was already tight, so I had to make sure to get it around the carrydown and urethane, and I just missed it slightly. (On the left lane) I think I over adjusted and my hand got really behind the ball, which I didn’t need to do, and it hooked, and I was very fortunate to make the spare.”
Like many international players, Barrett balances life on the PBA Tour with his family life in England. During the live FOX broadcast, his wife, Cassie, was seen on FaceTime via Dom’s phone as he celebrated his triumph. His 3-year-old son, Colby, had just gone to bed. The sacrifices only added to the importance of his victory.
“My little boy Colby had just gone to bed and just missed his bedtime,” Barrett said. “I want to share this with them. Obviously, it’s a long flight, but they’re a really big part of the sacrifices we have to make for me to be here. Sometimes, it’s worthwhile like this.”
To get to the title match, Barrett ousted Houston’s Shawn Maldonado, 279-201. He began the match with seven consecutive strikes before a 10 pin derailed his opportunity at perfection.
In Match No. 2, Maldonado advanced by defeating Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois, 212-187. Maldonado made a ball change to begin the match, which proved to be successful as Rash scattered three open frames. Rash was looking for his second career Tournament of Champions title and his third career major victory.
The opening match arguably was the day’s best as Maldonado and PBA Hall of Famer Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, needed extra frames to decide a winner.
With the match coming down to the final frames, Maldonado missed a 10 pin in the ninth frame to put Jones in a closeout position. Jones struck in the ninth and could’ve shut out Maldonado in the final frame.
Instead, Jones missed a 7 pin in the 10th frame, which allowed Maldonado the opportunity to advance with a mark in his 10th frame. Unfortunately, Maldonado left the 2-4-10 and only covered two pins to tie at 216.
In the roll-off, Jones went first and also left a 2-4-10 for a seven count. Needing just eight to advance, Maldonado left a 2-10 on his attempt to win and move on to face Rash.
Jones also was looking for his second career Tournament of Champions title.
All rounds of qualifying and match play leading up to Sunday’s televised finals were broadcast live on FloBowling.
The KIA PBA Tournament of Champions is the fifth event of the 2022 PBA Tour season, which began in late January with the PBA Players Championship.
2022 PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS FINAL STANDINGS
- Dom Barrett, Great Bentley, England, 489 (two games), $ 100,000.
- Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 189 (one game), $ 55,000
- Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 629 (three games), $ 30,000.
- Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 187 (one game), $ 20,000.
- Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 216 (one game), $ 15,000.
Match No. 1 – Maldonado def. Jones, 216-216 (Roll-off: 8-7)
Match No. 2 – Maldonado def. Rash, 212-187
Semifinal – Barrett def. Maldonado, 279-201
Championship – Barrett def. Prather, 210-189