Malott retains crown as "King of Bowling" Series begins


    2009 "King of Bowling" Series #1

    Newly-crowned PBA Player of the Year turns back Barnes in first Amp Energy test

    2009PBAKoBWesMalott.jpgNewly-crowned Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, withstood the first challenge to his reign as King of Bowling, defeating Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, in the inaugural King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy telecast.

    Trailing Barnes by nine pins after four frames, Malott when went on a seven-strike binge, racing away to a 268-214 victory after Barnes lost his carry.

    Barnes, No. 3 in the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour Player of the Year points race, won a brilliant battle with No. 3 Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., 257-248, for the right to challenge Malott for the King of Bowling throne. Barnes converted the 6-7-10 split in the sixth frame and then finished his game with six strikes in a row. Needing a strike for a shot at a 259 game of his own, Duke then left a 10 pin on his second shot in his half of the 10th frame.

    While the preliminary match was going on, Malott had a chance to observe how the two leading challengers to his Player of the Year title were attacking the lanes.

    "The king gets to decide which lane conditioning pattern is used," Malott noted. "I went with the Scorpion pattern because I've had quite a bit of success on that one all year.

    "The king has to sit on a throne right next to the action," he continued, "so I had a bird's eye view of what was going on. I knew the scores would be high, and I figured I'd just try to out-strike everyone. As it turned out, the lanes broke down just a little bit. I made a couple of slight adjustments that worked, and I threw the ball really well."

    Malott knew he was going to have his hands full, regardless of whom he had to bowl.

    "At the end of the season, I did OK, but I wasn't even a threat to make a TV show the last couple of tournaments," he said. "I was fighting some timing issues. Being at the Kegel Training Center and knowing the way the lanes were oiled, the condition was fairly snug which allowed me to stay slow. By staying slow, it kinda fixed my timing issues."

    In a way, he was also pleased he got a chance to defend his King of Bowling crown against Barnes because of the way Barnes' season ended in the Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open.

    "(U.S. Open champion Mike) Scroggins knew he was fortunate to win," Malott said. "Barnes threw one of the best shots of his career in the 10th frame and left an 8 pin. That 8 pin possibly cost him another U.S. Open title and possibly the Player of the Year title. But he was also the first guy to text me after the show and congratulate me. I gained that much more respect for him."

    By defeating Barnes, Malott collected $10,000 and earned the right to return as King of Bowling in week two of the five-week series of one-hour King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy telecasts – all of which air on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Eastern on Wednesdays through May 20.

    In the next show, Malott will bowl the winner of a match between Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and Scroggins, the No. 4 and No. 5 players in the 2008-09 Player of the Year points race.

    The week one King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy show will re-air on ESPN2 on Sunday, April 26, at 1 p.m. Eastern.