Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, moved into the Lumber Liquidators PBA Player of the Year points lead Sunday when he successfully defended his Bayer Earl Anthony Medford Classic title with a 239-201 victory over top qualifier Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., at Lava Lanes.
Malott, the No. 3 qualifier, won three straight matches on his way to the $25,000 first prize, his fifth career title and his second title of the 2008-09 season. Two open frames by Jones to start the championship match helped Malott take a 33-pin lead after three frames and five strikes in a row to finish the game clinched the victory.
"It wasn't an easy test to get through those guys on the show today,” Malott said. “I said to myself do what you know how to do and that's what I did.
"Now that I have defended my title here in Medford, I am meeting some goals I set for myself,” Malott said. “I wanted to win two titles in a season and five titles in my career. Now that I have defended, I can set my sights on Player of the Year."
The win gave Malott a 10-point lead over Norm Duke in the Player of the Year points race.
Jones, who made his first TV appearance since winning the Geico Classic in West Babylon, N.Y., last March, made a valiant bid to get back into the match, but he couldn’t put together a sustained string of strikes to cut into Malott’s lead. Jones earned $13,000 as runner-up.
In the final PBA Women’s Series event of the 2008-09 season, newly-elected United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Wendy Macpherson of Henderson, Nev., closed with four strikes in a row and won a 199-184 slugfest when Stefanie Nation of Arlington, Texas, left the 1-2-4-8 in the 10th frame.
"I did the best I could do to get strikes,” Macpherson said. “The last part of the game I closed in on the pocket and gave myself a chance."
Sitting on the bench, however, she knew she needed help to win. Nation’s errant shot in the 10th frame was the break Macpherson needed.
"I had done the math. I knew what was possible,” the 20-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association titlist said. “I have been on both sides of that situation. You never like to win that way, but I left the game feeling I did everything I could to win.
"In the six minutes after I stepped off the lanes I received 34 text messages. My response was, ‘Wow!’"
For Macpherson, who got into the event as an alternate, it was her first USBC-sponsored Women’s Series title. She also earned $10,000 and a spot in the upcoming Women’s Shootout. Nation, who earned $6,000, was seeking her second Women’s Series title. She won her first in the Pepsi Viper Women’s Championship in Omaha, Neb., to start the women’s season.
In the opening match of the telecast, Malott threw strikes in six of his first seven frames to end Patrick Allen’s hopes for back-to-back titles, 234-195. Allen, from Wesley Chapel, Fla., earned $5,500 for fourth place.
In the men’s semifinal match, Malott struck on eight of his first nine shots for a 255-246 victory over Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa. O’Neill, who is still vying for his first PBA Tour title, took home $6,500 for third place.
The next stop on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour will be the H&R Block PBA Tournament of Champions which gets underway Wednesday at Red Rock Resort and Lanes in Las Vegas. Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., will head an elite field of 60 PBA champions in his quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive PBA “major” title.