December 03, 2012
When the PBA and WTBA announced their alliance early this year, allowing players to earn PBA titles in WTBA events, no one was more prepared for the coming competitions than Chris Barnes. His performance in international events has been stellar, leading up to the finals of the World Bowling Tour, which will be televised Dec. 9th.
Barnes’ history in international competition began as a member of Team USA for four years prior to his membership in the PBA, and was named as USOC’s Athlete of the Year for bowling in 1994, 1996 and 1997. In 2008, he played with Team USA’s “Dream Team,” the first time Team USA membership was open to professional players. In total, he’s been a member of Team USA 9 times, including now.
“I’m no stranger to overseas travel,” said Barnes. “The four weeks I spent on the road this fall, however, was the longest overseas trip I’ve ever taken. I’m glad to be back at home now for some much-needed family time.”
The journey began in Limassol, Cyprus, at the First World Singles Championships. After a slow start, Barnes did qualify well and made match play. In match play competition, Barnes used the Columbia 300 Omen and Wicked Encounter to advance to the final match, after a 3-2 (best of 5 game format) victory over Malaysian Zulmarin Zulkifli. Both players made history by surpassing 1250 total pins.
Once Barnes passed Andres Gomez with a clutch double in the tenth frame, he faced Tommy Jones for the title match. Jones had an equally impressive tournament, but was unable to make it past Barnes in the one-game title match for the Gold medal.
With little time to rest, Barnes next entered World Bowling Tour Thailand in Bangkok. Barnes was one of eight U.S. players to make it through qualifying to stepladder competition, and made the final match by shooting a 247 against Korean Jang Dong-Chul, but was shut out by his Korean countryman Cho Young-Seon in the final game, 234-212.
Following that event, Barnes was able to meet up with wife Lynda in Munich, Germany. After long hours demo-ing new product with Ebonite Europe Tech Rep Mike Calderone, the Barneses were able to have some fun at the genuine German Oktoberfest, before heading to competition the next day in Vienna, Austria.
At the 10th Columbia 300 Vienna Open, Barnes qualified easily in singles competition, and he and Lynda did well in doubles. After qualifying for the semifinal by only 25 pins, Barnes knew he needed a different strategy for the next 12 games.
“By switching to my Oath, I was able to do much better for the next set, shooting 1506 for the first six games,” explained Barnes. “That gave me a 100-pin lead over Tommy [Jones] and put me in the final spot for the stepladder. With Calderone’s help, I was able to switch to the Eruption to shoot a 258 for the win.”
The win in Vienna, in front of the event’s largest crowd ever, was not only Barnes’ second Vienna Open title, but also his 14th career PBA title. To top it off, his title was won on his wife’s birthday, but Barnes’ journey around the world wasn’t yet complete.
Next, Barnes was off to Paris, France, to host a couple of bowling clinics with Jones and Dino Castillo, and then to Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England to compete in the Weber Cup.
The Weber Cup, a made-for-TV arena event, featured four-man teams from Europe and the U.S., in singles, doubles and Baker team events. Points are awarded to the winning players’ respective team in each competition, and the first team to reach 17 points was declared the winner.
The American team of Barnes, Jones, Mike Fagan, and Bill O’Neill, led only by one point after the first 15 matches, but went on to win the next nine consecutive matches for the win.
“Our team averaged over 250 in singles and doubles,” said Barnes. “In my doubles matches with Tommy and Mike we were 6-0, and in singles I averaged 266. We were able to win by the largest margin ever with 17-7, and I couldn’t be prouder of my team’s performance.”
The trip to five different countries was part of Barnes’ strategy to prepare for the PBA World Series of Bowling, held in Las Vegas. While the competition over the month was tough, the variety of locations and patterns made for an excellent workout. In addition, his success overseas qualified him for the WTBA Bayer Advanced Aspirin World Bowling Tour Finals, which will air on ESPN Dec. 9th at 1:00 PM ET.
“Looking at my equipment for the World Series, I know that the lanes at South Point are high friction, heavy lineage,” explained Barnes. “I wanted to use balls with cleaner coverstocks, and the cleanest cover of all was the blue Eruption I used so successfully in Vienna.”
Tune in to ESPN Dec. 9th to see the results of the World Bowling Tour Finals.
To join our eClub, just enter your email address below and click join.