Derek Eoff started qualifying with 280, 298, and 227 for 805, led the qualifying wire to wire, and ultimately took home his fourth MBA Masters trophy. He’s certainly the man to beat in this event, having won four titles in five tries (Gibbons, 2015). The “rest of us” will take a great deal of pride with any Masters win we can wrest from Eoff – particularly when he has to explain why year “X” is missing from his growing collection of crystal Eagles.
It’s not like we haven’t had our chances. Even with the qualifying lead, he still had to win one match from the top spot. Had a a break or two gone one way instead of another, this might be a different story. And there is plenty of talent around here to give him a fair match. Still, there is more than plenty of talent in the bowler that is Derek Eoff. He’s raised the bar pretty high, and that’s a good thing.
There were 41 bowlers this year at the Masters. The field averaged just over 200 on the WTBA Paris pattern, which is pretty much the bullseye number for a local Masters challenge condition. The pattern is long, at 47 feet, yet without much volume. Still, playing outside 10 was very difficult. Conditions put down at Prairie Lanes seem to play a little tighter, anyway. The pattern seemed to yield better scores to bowlers who could play in, keep it in, and migrate into the middles as the day went on. It was a fun pattern.
As if that wasn’t enough, Eoff matched up with MWBA Queens Champion Lauren Sammel in a winner-take-all match of tournament champions. The prize was a crisp $100 bill, courtesy Jeff Richgels of the 11th Frame. Again, no mercy, as Eoff blasted Sammel 248 to… not quite 248.
The last order of business on the day was the MBA City Tournament Captain’s Drawing. We had 98 teams in the city tournament this year, and we give away a bowling ball to one out of 30 tournament captains. Three entries were drawn and the winners were Dennis Breunig, John Lehan, and Trevor Habich. Thanks to ALL team captains for organizing a team for the city tournament and congratulations to these three lucky winners. We’ll send out a claim letter to the winners in the mail.
Plans are to continue the Masters on the day before the Super Bowl next year, at the city tournament host house. I’m already reviewing short patterns to challenge the area’s top bowlers. With our local associations merging, however, concrete plans will not be made until the new Board of Directors is elected this spring.