SHAWNEE, Okla. (July 2, 2017) – In a title match that featured five lead changes, Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., outlasted 18-time PBA Tour winner Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, to win the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open Sunday for his second title of the season and fourth of his career.
With both players struggling to start the match, Kent fired four consecutive strikes in the ninth and 10th frames to defeat Barnes, 194-188, during the ESPN telecast contested on two specially-installed lanes in the Grand Hotel Event Center for his first win on national television.
“That was a lot harder than I wanted to work,” said the 24-year-old Kent, “but I’m grateful to be standing here as the winner. It’s a dream come true.”
With both players hampered by splits, Barnes held a 12-pin lead in the eighth frame but Kent was able to come back with strikes in the eighth, ninth and the first two in the 10th to clinch the win.
“The first half of the game I just didn’t throw the ball well,” Kent said. “I knew after the seventh frame I still had a chance but I had to buckle down and make good shots. Finally, I executed the way I should have and was fortunate to put those strikes together.”
Kent, who was the top qualifier for the finals averaging 227.4 for the tournament contested on four different PBA lane conditions, earned the opportunity to choose the lane conditions for both Saturday’s semi-final and Sunday’s championship stepladder rounds. He chose the 40-foot Bear lane condition for Saturday’s round but changed his selection to the 32-foot Wolf condition for the championship round.
“In the semi-final the right side (of the lane) got a little ugly and the guys were struggling,” Kent said. “It just didn’t develop the way I thought and felt I would have a more consistent reaction on the Wolf. I was good with my decision, I just had to execute.”
Kent had not won a match on television in six appearances which included three runner-up finishes that came in the 2016 U.S. Open, 2015 Wolf Open and 2013 Scorpion Open.
“This win was important for my confidence,” Kent said. “I proved I have the versatility to compete on a variety of lane conditions and I can win in a pressure situation.”
In the opening match, Barnes, who qualified fourth for the finals, defeated six-time Tour winner Jesper Svensson of Sweden, 190-149, who earned his berth in the championship round by winning Saturday’s semi-final round.
In the second match Barnes beat four-time Tour winner and No. 3 qualifier Rhino Page of Orlando, 206-185, to advance to the semi-final match where he beat three-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia, 256-218.
After a slow start in the tournament, finishing 28th after the first round and 12th after the third round earlier in the week, Belmonte surged to the no. 2 qualifying spot for the finals by averaging 256 in the fourth round on the 44-foot Oklahoma lane condition.
The next stop for the PBA Tour will be the Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles July 27-30 in Houston.
GRAND CASINO HOTEL & RESORT PBA OKLAHOMA OPEN
Grand Hotel Event Center, Shawnee, Okla., Sunday
Championship Round Standings
1, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., $30,000.
2, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas $15,000.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $12,000.
4, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., $10,000.
5, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $9,000.
Match One – Barnes def. Svensson, 190-149.
Match Two – Barnes def. Page, 206-185.
Match Three – Barnes def. Belmonte, 256-218.
Match Four – Kent def. Barnes, 194-188.
Saturday’s Semi-final Stepladder Round Standings
5, Jesper Svensson, Sweden (advanced to fifth qualifying position for Sunday’s stepladder finals)
6, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, $8,000.
7, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., $7,000.
8, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., $6,000.
9, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., $5,000.
Match One – Smallwood def. Daugherty, 232-211.
Match Two – Svensson def. Smallwood, 213-201.
Match Three – Svensson def. Tackett, 179-150.
Match Four – Svensson def. Larsen, 192-160.