There’s a chance for an all-Dallas-Fort Worth-area final Sunday in the Alka Seltzer Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters in Henderson, Nev.
That’s because Double Oak’s Chris Barnes finished Friday’s match play in the top spot after beating Grapevine’s Mike Fagan to help determine the positions for the live ESPN-televised stepladder that begins at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. They will be joined by No. 3 Dan McClelland of Canada and No. 4 and 2003 Masters winner Byron Smith of Roseburg, Ore.
Barnes earned the No. 1 position with an 806-743 three-game outcome against Fagan at Sunset Station’s Strike Zone Bowling Center. He’s the only bowler to win all six matches in the weeklong event.
“Things definitely fell my way today,” said Barnes, who finished as the runner-up to Walter Ray Williams Jr. at 2004 and 2010 Masters. “This is where I wanted to be at the start of the week. After having Walter Ray fire a 268 and a 290 at me when I was the top seed previously, I feel like this time it’s my turn. I’m a big believer that everything evens out, and I’m a long way from being even.”
If he wins one match Sunday, Barnes would earn his first Masters title and become just the third bowler to capture the Grand Slam. Professional Bowlers Association and United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famers Mike Aulby and Norm Duke are the only bowlers to capture the Masters, PBA Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open and PBA National/World Championship.
“Winning this event is definitely a bucket list item for me,” Barnes told bowl.com. “This tournament is the most important one on my career list right now.”
Fagan, who recently moved to the Metroplex, won five matches before meeting Barnes.
“I feel good, and I’m just happy that match with Chris came at the end and not earlier in the bracket,” said Fagan, who will be seeking his first major title. “I’m just trying to play my game and not worry about any of my competitors. That’s the frame of mind I need to keep for the TV show.”
The winner earns $50,000 of the $250,000 overall prize fund.