Barrett Looking for Memorable Run at 2019 U.S. Open

by Aaron Smith, USBC Communications 0

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - England's Dom Barrett had the right game plan to make a remarkable run through the stepladder finals at the 2018 U.S. Open, and he's now ready to defend his title.

The 34-year-old right-hander is one of 144 competitors who will vie for the coveted title and famed green jacket starting Friday at Victory Lanes. CBS Sports Network will have live coverage of the stepladder finals on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Each round of the 2019 U.S. Open, leading up to the championship round, will be broadcast live on BowlTV.com and simulcast on FloBowling.

The U.S. Open is the final major championship on the 2019 Professional Bowlers Association Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

"It was a huge win," said Barrett, who won the first major of his career at the 2013 PBA World Championship. "I had won a major before and had a few wins since then, but there's nothing like a major, especially the U.S. Open. Winning a major kind of solidifies your career, and last year's win is something I'll be able to look back on at the end of my career."

Barrett, a seven-time PBA Tour champion, defeated Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, in a thrilling finish at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, in 2018, delivering in a must-strike situation to start the final frame and clipping just enough of the 6 pin on his final ball to record a one-pin victory, 207-206.

His run to meet Butturff, who had led the U.S. Open by more than 550 pins for the second consecutive year, was just as exciting and dramatic.

Barrett kicked off last year's telecast with a 258-203 win over Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, and then went strike for strike with EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, on the way to a 264-248 victory.

The match featured 15 consecutive strikes between the two competitors. Barrett's double in the 10th forced Tackett to match, but he left a 10 pin on his first shot to end his run at a third career major title.

In his semifinal match against Kristopher Prather of Plainfield, Illinois, Barrett made multiple ball changes and a big move from his previous two games. As he worked to find the right look, Prather delivered strikes on six of his first seven shots to build a lead, before a miscue on a single-pin spare in the eighth frame gave Barrett life.

Prather was unable to secure the shutout in his final frame, which allowed Barrett to double for a 226-222 win.

Butturff found himself in a similar situation against Barrett in the final frame of the title match, needing a double to win the U.S. Open after a runner-up finish in 2017. Unable to strike on his first delivery, Butturff still forced Barrett to strike and knock over nine pins to claim the green jacket.

Barrett got the first strike, but a 4-6 split on his second offering meant he needed to topple one of the two pins left standing for the victory. His spare attempt was left of target but caught just enough of the 6 pin to complete his march to the title.

Throughout the high scores, moves and close finishes, one of the things Barrett enjoyed the most about his run was how well he executed his game plan.

"One of my favorite parts of that win was the whole game plan I had with my ball reps," said Barrett, the runner-up at the 2015 U.S. Open. "How I was going to break down that pair, knowing how quickly the conditions change - especially with the TV lights in that type of setting. I made three or four ball changes. Looking back at it, it was a lot of fun for me. I bowled well all week, got to the finals and executed the game plan really well."

Barrett finished the 2018 PBA Tour season with the win at the U.S. Open, but he admits his season in 2019 hasn't gone the way he would have hoped after winning his second major.

He hopes his preparation and process help put him in a similar position throughout the week at Victory Lanes, after making the more than 4,000-mile trip across the Atlantic Ocean on Monday.

"I haven't had the best season this year," Barrett said. "I wanted to compete for a few more titles. But, I've been bowling a lot leading into this event. Nothing really ever prepares you for the U.S. Open and the sort of test it's going to be, so I've just been bowling as much as I can and hope to feel good physically and bowl well when it's time."

Ninety-one of the 144 competitors this week earned direct entry into the 2019 U.S. Open based on their on-lane performances during 2018. The final 53 spots will be awarded through a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ), which starts Wednesday at 9 a.m. Eastern at Victory Lanes.

The PTQ will feature eight games, with total pinfall determining who advances to the main event. Qualifying for the full field at the U.S. Open will begin Friday at 8 a.m. Eastern.

Qualifying will consist of three eight-game blocks over three days. After 24 games, the field will be cut to the top 36 players for the cashers' round, which will include an additional eight games to determine the 24 players for round-robin match play.

Match play will begin Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern with the first of three eight-game rounds. Match play will resume Tuesday at 10 a.m. Eastern with two additional blocks, including a position round. The five finalists will be determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games. The winner will take home the $30,000 top prize.

The event will test the players' versatility with four challenging oil patterns.

For more information on the U.S. Open, visit BOWL.com/USOpen.

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