Lubbock is one of Chris Barnes’ favorite places to visit on Professional Bowling Association tours. It helps that he’s been able to attain success while in the Hub City.
Barnes’ first victory on the PBA50 tour came a year ago, when he edged Pete Weber to claim the PBA50 Cup title at South Plains Lanes. Barnes is coming back looking to add to his trophy collection in the Senior US Open, which starts Saturday.
For as many different cities and venues he’s seen throughout his professional bowling career, Barnes has an affinity for Lubbock. He highlighted the Texas Tech campus’ modern look and the city’s continued efforts to grow.
Winning certainly doesn’t hurt Barnes’ outlook. His first victory in Lubbock came a few years ago while on the PBA tour. His rookie campaign on the PBA50 circuit saw his first major title come last June. That, though, was a different event than this week’s will be, so Barnes isn’t considering this a defense of his Cup title.
“Expending energy to try to defend it is kind of … wasted,” Barnes said. “It’s really hard to do anyway, and it is a different format. I kind of like to treat it like I would walking into any major, the big bullet points on your season.”
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That includes escalating practice habits to prepare for strenuous events like the Senior US Open. Barnes has had success in other majors over the last year, though he’s fallen short of the ultimate prize each time.
Barnes took fifth in the Senior Masters last week in Las Vegas, when he watched Dino Castillo bowl a 279 and a perfect game in the stepladder portion of the tournament. Barnes said he’s known Castillo for many years and the two live about 15 minutes away from each other. Knowing the competition is part of the battle, but it all comes down to the scores.
“I guess I know the answer, just stop missing at all,” Barnes quipped, later adding, “I know I keep putting myself in those positions, but I guess I better prepare to shoot almost 300 in the stepladders to win.”
Barnes didn’t need a 300 to topple Weber in last year’s PBA50 Cup final. The Denton resident edged the legendary bowler 247-224.
To Barnes, there’s not much you can do — at least in the spirit of the game — to keep an opponent from having a great game. He likens his strategy to a certain famous former Texas Tech quarterback.
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“Really, it’s kind of like watching the Chiefs play football,” Barnes said. “It’s the (Patrick) Mahomes strategy. The best defense is just great offense.”
Going full Mahomes may be necessary for Barnes to win another title in Lubbock. The Senior US Open field includes several bowlers Barnes feels will have a great shot to walk away with the title.
He named Tom Hess, the reigning PBA50 bowler of the year, his friendly rival Castillo, Parker Bohn III and Brad Angelo as ones to watch this weekend.
This will be the second PBA50 major held in Lubbock.
JimBo Evans of South Plains Lanes has wanted the city to be a destination for a major bowling event for some time. He got his wish last year and is happy to be hosting the Senior US Open, one of four majors on the circuit.
Evans said he isn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of attendance, or even how many bowlers will make up the field.
Between the recent surge of new COVID-19 cases and high gas prices, Evans said some of the expected participants have already dropped out.
However, Evans is hopeful the event can draw around 200 spectators per day, with more expected for Wednesday night’s championship.
In addition to the slew of talented veterans, a number of local bowlers will also be vying for the championship.
Five bowlers from Lubbock — John Hanel, Kenneth Harlan, Eddy Kelley, Joan Simi-Dalton — are slated to participate in the event. Others from the area joining the fold include Mark Waters (Plainview), Randy Turner (Shallowwater), Ray Kegi (Brownfield), Bryan Crabtree (Canyon) and Kirk Aduddell (Amarillo).
PBA50 Senior US Open
at South Plains Lanes
9 am-noon — Practice sessions
2 pm — Pro-Am Squad
8 am-12:30 pm — Qualifying “A” Squad
1 pm-5:30 pm — Qualifying “B” Squad
8 am-12:30 pm — Qualifying “B” Squad
1 pm-5:30 pm — Qualifying “A” Squad
8 am-11 am — Advancers round (top 24 advance to match play)
1 pm-4:30 pm — Match play, Round 1 (eight games)
8 am-11:30 am — Match play, Round 2 (eight games)
1:30 pm-5:30 pm — Match play, Round 3 (eight games)
6:10 pm-6:30 pm — Stepladder practice (top five bowlers advance to stepladder final)
6:30 pm-8 pm – Stepladder matches