|Photo courtesy PBA LLC|
RENO, Nev. (Feb. 14, 2010) - Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., won his second United States Bowling Congress Masters title Sunday, defeating top seed Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 290-217, at the National Bowling Stadium.
The victory was Williams' 47th on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour, extending his record for the most in PBA Tour history, while also moving him up to a tie for second with eight career major titles.
"This is just another little feather, it's just awesome," said Williams, who defeated Barnes, 268-239, to win the January 2004 USBC Masters also at the National Bowling Stadium. "It's hard to explain it better than that. To win any tournament is awesome, and the bigger ones are even better."
Williams is now tied with Pete Weber and Mike Aulby with eight career major titles, but all three players trail USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Earl Anthony, who won 10 majors and 43 total titles.
"I really don't envision that I can get to 10, but I'm not giving up yet," said Williams, who turned 50 in 2009. "I'm going to go out there and plug along as good as I can, and the year that I'm no longer exempt out here, that's when I will have had enough."
In the title match against Barnes, Williams got off to a shaky start, going high on his first shot, breaking up a split and leaving a 7 pin. From there, he was perfect, finishing with 11 consecutive strikes to take home the $50,000 prize and two-year PBA Tour exemption.
Williams said the turning point in the match was when Barnes left a 10 pin in the fourth frame, but he managed to carry a similar shot in the fifth frame.
"Chris left that weak 10 pin after a scout came over and touched it but didn't knock it over, and then I step up and leave a 10 pin but the scout comes over and gets it," Williams said. "That helped me get a little more comfortable, and from that point, every one of my strikes was high flush."
Looking back on the loss, Barnes said he thought he threw the ball well, but it was the way the lanes broke down in practice that had a major impact. "I lost this one in the practice session," said Barnes. "He played further right than I anticipated. When I broke them down, it made the lanes pretty good for me, but it had no affect on him."
When Williams and Barnes met for the Masters title in 2004, the scenario set up the same way. Barnes was the top seed, while Williams was No. 2.
"The last two Masters here in Reno, I've gone undefeated in match play, I haven't lost a three-game match, yet I haven't won either tournament," said Barnes, who made it through the double-elimination bracket unscathed in both events. "TV is one of the best things the sport has going for it, but it is probably the worst thing I have going for me personally."
To reach the championship match, Williams defeated No. 3 seed Ryan Ciminelli of Buffalo, N.Y., 258-224. Ciminelli advanced with a 246-229 victory over fourth seed Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, in the opening match.
The 2010 USBC Masters featured a field of 267 of the top professional and amateur bowlers in the world, competing for an overall prize fund of $255,000.
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