After leading the PBA World Championship standings late in last year’s World Series of Bowling in Las Vegas, Dom Barrett faded and missed the ESPN-televised finals, finishing 10th.
That disheartening performance helped propel the Englishman to his first PBA world title Sunday at South Point.
The top seed in the five-man stepladder finals, Barrett beat No. 2 seed Sean Rash — the reigning PBA Tour Player of the Year — 238-235 in the world championship game, which will be televised Dec. 29 by ESPN.
“Watching the TV show last year and not being on it after leading (the standings) on the last block, it hurt,” Barrett said. “I think that pain makes you go home, knuckle down a little bit more, try a little harder and bowl for a day like today.”
Barrett, 28, rolled three strikes in the 10th frame to seal his win over Rash, who fell behind early when he had an open third frame after chopping the 6-pin off the 10.
“It’s just unfortunate to chop the spare there early on,” Rash said. “It’s a bad break. A bad shot, too. That kind of turned the table early.”
Rash, who won the World Bowling Tour men’s final over Mike Fagan before the PBA World Championship, also had consecutive spares in the fifth and sixth frames before rolling three straight strikes to put some pressure on Barrett.
Needing a double and an eight in the 10th frame to shut out Rash, the normally reserved Barrett prematurely celebrated after his second strike, mistakenly believing he’d already clinched the crown.
“When I struck then, I thought I’d won. That’s why it came out,” he said. “It’s not something I’m too proud of. I tried to stay very calm all week, don’t get ahead of myself and keep my emotions in check. I guess that was two weeks worth of excitement and joy coming out.”
An accomplished international bowler who was previously ranked No. 1 in England and Europe, Barrett led the standings for the final six (of seven) rounds heading into the finals.
“I bowled better than everyone all week, but that doesn’t always mean you’re going to win,” said Barrett, one of 240 bowlers from a record 21 countries to compete in the World Series of Bowling, which featured five PBA Tour events and eight overall.
Barrett settled for second place in Saturday’s Chameleon championship, won by Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y.
Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, captured the Viper crown; Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, won the Cheetah title; and Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., secured the Scorpion championship.
Rash beat No. 5 seed Pete Weber 279-249 in the third-place match in the world finals, finishing with nine straight strikes in a near-perfect performance.
The 31-year-old from Montgomery, Ill., then had to wait more than 20 minutes for the title game and said it took him out of his groove.
“When you have a 20-minute break between games, it’s tough to move on and win matches,” said Rash, who had several shot-clock violations in the finals. “I guess the good news is I finally finished second in this event instead of third, which I’ve done in four of the last five years.
“Next year, maybe I can win this thing. It’s just unfortunate.”
Weber, a PBA Hall of Famer who is third all-time with 37 PBA titles, failed in his bid to win his 11th major, which would’ve broken a tie with Earl Anthony for the most career majors won in PBA history. But he was still impressive in ascending to third place.
The 51-year-old from St. Ann, Mo., opened the finals with upsets of No. 4 seed Smallwood (258-237) and No. 3 seed Fagan (258-246).
Better known as “PDW,” bowling’s resident bad boy entertained the capacity crowd in Exhibit Hall B with an animated assortment of shouts, fist pumps and crotch chops.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.