Mike Fagan beats Chris Barnes to win 2012 United States Bowling Congress Masters


    2011-12 PBA Tour #10 / 2012 WBT #2

    Claims his first PBA "major" title and the $50,000 top prize


    201112PBA10MikeFagan8.jpgMike Fagan (pictured left with the trophy) of Dallas won his first career major title Sunday, defeating Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 246-213, to win the 2012 Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters.

    A three-time winner on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, Fagan completed a 30-pin comeback in the back half of the game to pull off the upset over the top-seeded Barnes at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center.

    "All week long I really wasn't thinking about majors, matches or what my opponents were doing. I just wanted to do what I do to the best of my ability," said Fagan, a two-time Team USA member who earned $50,000 for the victory.

    201112PBA10MikeFagan6.jpg"Now the fact that it has paid off feels amazing. Sometimes you can bowl your best and not come out on top. I know how few and far between these opportunities can be, so for me to take advantage of it is amazing."

    Fagan failed to strike in the first four frames of the championship match, while Barnes started the match with four out of five strikes. Fagan then rattled off seven consecutive strikes to take control.

    201112PBA10ChrisBarnes.jpg"I really didn't like any of the first couple shots off my hand because they were a little fast or a little bit too aggressive," Fagan said. "The next few shots I really just wanted to get my body position right and let the swing follow and the pins cooperated thankfully."

    Barnes (right) was hoping to become just the third player in PBA history to complete the career Grand Slam with victories at each of the PBA's four majors (PBA World Championship, U.S. Open, PBA Tournament of Champions and USBC Masters). Only two players in bowling history have accomplished the feat - Mike Aulby and Norm Duke.

    201112PBA10BryonSmith2.jpg"This one hurts; it was a difficult day," said Barnes, who has now lost the Masters as the top seed three times. "I was more nervous today for the final than I have been in a long time. There were a lot of legacy things on the line, and I'm not confident I will get another chance to win this tournament because it's so hard to get through all the matches."

    201112PBA10DanMacLelland4.jpgFagan advanced to the championship match by defeating 2003 Masters champion Bryon Smith (left) of Roseburg, Ore., 228-180. Smith never led in the match and failed to double, allowing Fagan to pull away with a four-bagger down the stretch.

    In the opening match, Smith had a come-from-behind victory against Canada's Dan MacLelland (right), 251-212. MacLelland opened the match by striking on five of his first six shots and grabbing a 24-pin lead, but an open in the seventh frame allowed Smith to pull ahead and take the win.

    Barnes received $25,000 for his third runner-up finish in the Masters, Smith took $15,000 for third place and MacLelland pocketed $10,000 to fourth place.

    USBCMasters_small.jpg WBTLogo_small.jpgThe USBC Masters was the tenth event of the 2011-12 PBA season and the second stop of the 2012 World Bowling Tour. The tournament drew 305 of the best players in the world vying for a piece of the $235,000 prize fund."


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    2011 Bayer USBC Masters - Match play

    Strike Zone at Sunset Station in Henderson, Nev., United States (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

    201112PBA10MikeFagan5Check.jpgChampionship Round:
    1. Mike Fagan, Dallas, 474 (2 games), $50,000
    2. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 213 (1 game), $25,000
    3. Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 431 (2 games), $15,000
    4. Dan MacLelland, Canada, 212 (1 game), $10,000

    L-R PBA's Mike J. Laneside, USBC Masters champion Mike Fagan, newly lected USBC President Andrew Cain and USBC Executive Director Stu Upson.

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: No. 4 Smith def. No. 3 MacLelland, 251-212
    Second Match: No. 2 Fagan def. Smith, 228-180
    Championship: Fagan def. Barnes, 246-213.

    Photos courtesy of Hero Noda.

    Match Play Brackets (PDF file)