It came down to the final throw — and the final pin — to decide the U.S. Open champion in the PBA Tour’s final event.
Dom Barrett needed nine pins to clinch his second career major championship with his second throw in the 10th frame, but he left a 4-6 split. His final throw barely shaved the No. 6 pin for the win, leaving Barrett hunched over in disbelief with how close it had been.
Bowlers from the Wichita State and Newman programs packed the stands at Northrock Lanes in Wednesday’s televised final to watch Barrett, who is from England, win four straight stepladder matches to capture the title. Barrett defeated Jakob Butturff in the final match, 207-206.
“Wichita is my favorite city in the United States now,” Barrett joked afterward.
It not only made for good television for the CBS Sports Network cameras, but it was the perfect conclusion for a monumental week for bowling in Wichita. The U.S. Open was by far the largest PBA Tour event the city has hosted.
“I’m so proud of the city of Wichita and the bowlers of Wichita coming out and doing a great job supporting this event,” Northrock general manager Brent Bowers said. “The greatest athletes on earth have been here for a week now. They’ve been in our community, they’ve eaten our food, they’ve enjoyed our entertainment and I’ve heard nothing but praise about the city.”
Marshall Holman, a PBA Hall of Famer, was in Wichita for three days as he was the color analyst for the televised broadcasts, and he echoed those sentiments.
“Northrock has always been a great venue, and I think the people here in Wichita did a great job,” Holman said. “They came out and supported and I’m really happy that the tournament is back in Wichita. I just hope they keep bringing it back.”
So does Barrett.
After Butturff had dominated the week and earned a bye into the final match of the final day’s stepladder, it was Barrett who caught fire at the right time.
He started with a 258-203 win over Marshall Kent, then knocked off Player of the Year contender EJ Tackett, 264-248, in the next round. He then made a stunning comeback to knock off Wichita State graduate Kris Prather in the third match to win 226-222.
In the final match against Butturff, Barrett made several ball changes.
“When you get in these TV matches, you have to follow your instincts and trust your gut and go out and execute,” Barrett said.
Holman was stunned by how narrowly Barrett won on his final throw.
It was the second straight year Butturff has lost in the final match at the U.S. Open.
“There’s nothing easier for a right-handed bowler than to pick up a 6 pin,” Holman said. “But under the gun, in that moment, you saw what almost happened.”
Barrett already had a positive outlook on the dramatic finish.
“That wasn’t my best attempt, but no one is going to remember that,” Barrett said with a laugh and the trophy in hand.
2018 U.S. Open
Wednesday’s TV finals at Northrock Lanes
First stepladder: Dom Barrett def. Marshall Kent, 258-203.
Second stepladder: Dom Barrett def. EJ Tackett, 264-248.
Third stepladder: Dom Barrett def. Kris Prather, 226-222.
Fourth stepladder: Dom Barrett def. Jakob Butturff, 207-206.