Rash Wins USBC Masters
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Going into the 58th United States Bowling Congress Masters, Sean Rash was considered by many to be a rising star in professional bowling.
Now, there is no doubt.
Rash, of Wichita, Kan., remained unbeaten in televised finals by edging Steve Jaros, 269-245, in the USBC Masters title game Sunday before 2,712 spectators at Miller Park.
Rash got a break on a crossover strike in the third frame and struck out after leaving a 6-pin in the fifth.
The 25-year-old has won titles in each of his first four TV appearances, tying Hugh Miller as the only bowlers to accomplish that feat. He improved to 7-0 in TV matches to start his career and is one shy of tying George Branham III's record 8-0 start.
"Being undefeated on TV, I love it," Rash said. "That's where you want to be on Sundays. If you're not on the show you didn't have a good week."
Rash, a second-year exempt player on the Denny's PBA Tour, earned $100,000 from the purse of $350,000. The USBC Masters is one of four major championships in bowling and is the first U.S. event on the 2007-'08 tour schedule.
Rash secured the No. 1 seeding by being the only bowler to go unbeaten through the double-elimination match play bracket.
Jaros, 42, of Yorkville, Ill., went into the finals as the No. 4 seed but beat third-seeded Walter Ray Williams Jr., 279-254, and then knocked off second-seeded Patrick Allen, 290-233.
Jaros struck on all but two shots in those games, leaving only a wobbly 7-pin in the seventh frame of the first game and a 10-pin in the first frame of the second. He earned $50,000.
"I felt like the entire day I had a pretty good handle on getting the ball to the pocket," he said. "When you come out of the first match with a pretty decent look you definitely try to capitalize on that. But I didn't really feel Sean was the underdog (in the title match) because he's been undefeated on television."
Williams, of Ocala, Fla., is the tour's all-time winner with 42 titles but hasn't won since the 2006 season-opening event, a span of 22 events that includes five television appearances.
He advanced to the finals through the loser's bracket, averaging 244.5 in match play and converting all 61 of his single-pin spares and 88.24% of his multi-pin spares.
"I'm still bowling pretty decent," the 48-year-old Williams said. "I still definitely want to be player of the year again, but bowling with all these talented young players out here, it's going to be tough."
Allen, of Wesley Chapel, Fla., opened the second match with four consecutive strikes but couldn't keep pace with Jaros, who struck out after leaving the 7-pin in the first frame.
"Two-thirty was all right but I would have laid some pretty good odds that wasn't going to get it done," Allen said. "It just looked like it was going to take a lot to win. It just shows how good these guys are, shooting the scores that they did."
Rash, a member of the USBC board of directors and named last week to Team USA, earned a two-year tour exemption for winning the title.
"Yeah, the money is great," he said. "But for me it's two more years on tour. Two more years to get better and stay after (Williams)."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)