Chris Barnes rolls to victory at Bowling's Clash of Champions


    United States

    2009CoCChrisBarnes.jpgConsider the title defended. Chris Barnes (pictured) of Double Oak, Texas, picked up where his wife, Lynda, left off last year as he claimed the top spot at Bowling's Clash of Champions, a United States Bowling Congress event.

    Barnes, who earned his way into the Clash by being the 2007-08 Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year, defeated collegiate bowler Rebekah Diers of Kingston, N.Y., in the man versus woman title match 257-207 Thursday at the Reno Events Center.

    A crowd of nearly 1,500 fans watched the special made-for-television event that showcased 16 champions of various events competing for a total prize pool of $100,000. The Clash will air on CBS Sports on May 9 from 4-6 p.m. EDT.

    "In this format, with this field, it's tough to have high expectations," said Barnes, whose wife Lynda defeated pro bowler Sean Rash to win last year's inaugural Clash. "I was fortunate that Lynda bowled in this event last year because I knew what I wanted to try and accomplish and it worked."

    The victory didn't come easy for Barnes, however, as Diers, who bowls collegiately at McKendree, put him on his heels early in the match.

    2009CoCChrisBarnes2.jpgDiers opened the game with four consecutive strikes before leaving the 2-4-10 split and converting it. In the seventh frame, however, she left the 4-6-7-10 split to effectively end her upset bid. Barnes, meanwhile, started with a strike and a spare before rattling off six consecutive strikes, one of which was a Brooklyn. Needing a mark in the final frame to win, Barnes crushed the pocket for a strike.

    "Rebekah bowled just terrific and her first six frames were way better than my first six frames," Barnes said. "If I don't have that Brooklyn in the fourth frame, she is ahead by almost 20 and there's no pressure on her. She sure didn't seem nervous about bowling me in those first few frames."

    Barnes took home $50,000 for his victory, while Diers earned $25,000 for finishing second. It was an experience Diers said she will never forget.

    "I just tried to do my best every shot," Diers said. "This is the best day of my life. I got to not only bowl with Chris Barnes, I got to bowl against him."

    In the semifinals, Diers eliminated Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., while Barnes took out collegiate bowler Dan Vick of Pittsford, N.Y., 226-223.

    All four players advanced to the championship round by surviving one of the most unique formats in the history of bowling. Each player made it through their foursome in the one-ball, sudden-death round, defeating opponents who ranged in age from teenagers to seniors.


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