Photos: Terence Yaw
As Marshall Kent made a charge for his first PBA Tour title at the 8th Kingdom International Open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 2, other, equally familiar competitors enjoyed the fruits of the event’s distinctive format.
Players bowled 18 qualifying games broken into three blocks of six games starting Nov. 29, each on a different World Bowling lane pattern. The first day of qualifying featured the 39-foot Seoul pattern, the second featured the 45-foot Mexico City pattern, and the last day featured Seoul on the left lane of each pair and Mexico City on the right.
[Craig Nidiffer capped off a tremendous year on the lanes by dominating the “shootout” events in Riyadh]
The top four finishers each day qualified to compete in a special, “shootout” round for a $5,000 top prize. Craig Nidiffer, who this year won both the New Mexico Open’s $10,000 top prize and $20,000 at a High Roller event in Las Vegas, dominated the shootout rounds, winning on days one and three for $10,000 combined.
Nidiffer downed two of the sport’s hottest names along the way, defeating Dom Barrett in the Seoul pattern shootout, and Mike Fagan in the mixed pattern shootout.
Chris Barnes was the shootout winner on day two, defeating Saudi Arabia’s Bader Al Shaikh, 223-181, to claim the $5,000 top prize that day.
Kent bagged $10,000 and the overall title by winning the Masters portion of the event, defeating Thomas Larsen, 257-206, for his first PBA Tour title and a berth into the 50th anniversary PBA tournament of Champions. The win came after his finals appearance at the Japan Cup just weeks prior, and helped erase the memory of a difficult World Series of Bowling in which he failed to make a single cut.
Larsen won $7,000, while Fagan and Al Shaikh rounded out the top four, winning $5,000 and $4,000 respectively. The 8th Kingdom International Open was the final stop on the 2014 PBA International Tour-World Bowling Tour schedule.
[Kent has made a distant memory of his struggles at WSOB VI]