Chris Gibbons
Chris Gibbons

Gibbons Denies Eoff Three-Sweep

In an almost extraordinary case of deja vu, two-time defending Masters Titlist Derek Eoff nearly pulled off a third consecutive win. And not just a third win, but a third win after running through the entire stepladder final. But, today was Gibby’s day. Chris Gibbons, who was the tournament high qualifier, earns his second MBA Masters title with a 247-223 win over Eoff.

The seventh annual Masters and was held February 1, 2015 at City Tournament host center Schwoegler E.C.. The tournament attracted 38 bowlers.

The cut to make the stepladder finals (top 5) was +193, and the cut to cash was +80. No honor counts were rolled on the 2014 USBC Nationals Minor Events pattern.


The field averaged just over 208 after the first game, with +19 as the last cash number and +43 as the fifth stepladder spot. Marc McDowell led after one with a 259, followed by Eoff (257), Mike Hoffman (247), Mark Recknagel (245), and Darin Johnson (243).

The scoring pace changed little after two games; the field averaged just under 210 in game two. 28 bowlers were now plus and the cut to cash moved to +32. McDowell added a 257 to go to +116. Mark Newkirk fired a 267 and was second at +93. Eoff fell to third with a 223 (+80). Jeff Richgels (+75) was fourth and there was a tie for fifth at +51 between Mike Hoffman and Cody Ramsden.

Mark Newkirk took over the lead after three games with a +119 set, one pin ahead of Chris Gibbons who just came off a 278 game, and one pin again ahead of Marc McDowell. Eoff was next at +114. Brent Ritchie rounded out the top five following a 278 game of his own. While the cut to the top five jumped from +51 to +93, the cut to cash went up only 10 to +42 with overall scoring practically identical to game two.

After four games the cut to the stepladder only went up 13 to +106, and the cut to cash just 11 to +53. Eoff (+153), Newkirk (+145), Gibbons (+143), McDowell (+121), and Ritchie (+106) stayed in the top five, albeit slightly rearranged.

After five games, Gibbons moved into the lead to stay at +181. Cody Ramsden surged back into the top five with a 279 game and +175. Ritchie had a 267 and was third at +173. Newkirk was fourth at +159, and Eoff fifth at +156. McDowell fell out of the top five to sixth at +151. Tony Thaden moved up to seventh and +121 after a 279 game. No other competitor was within 75 pins of the top five at this point, and the cut to cash at +59.

While most of the top five did not break 200 in game six last year, the lowest game of the top seven THIS year was 220. Gibbons finished with 258 to go to +239, Ramsden 245 (+220), McDowell 256 (+207), Ritchie 224 (+197), and Eoff 237 (+193). Despite a 226 closing game, Newkirk ended up sixth at +185. The cut to cash rose to +80.

1.Chris Gibbons1822582782252382581439
2.Cody Ramsden1942571912542792451420
3.Marc McDowell2592572012042302561407
4.Brent Ritchie1902252782132672241397
5.Derek Eoff2572232342392032371393
6.Mark Newkirk2262672262262142261385
7.Tony Thaden2042362061962792201341
8.Gail Myers1742212252022242671313
9.Jeff Richgels2352402141682102441311
10.Joey Kick1622331822422272541300
11.Herb Kimpel2332132372161602331292
12.Mike Hoffman2472042022002252111289
13.Bill Dennis1872362142001902531280
14.Rob Hamilton2091592272432152261279
15.Matt Midlikowski2352101872212241911268
16.Ted Smith1731892782431692151267
17.Dan Seppa2142092112571871781256
18.Jacob Thomas1832262142131802351251
19.Kevin Thompson2102222131911892141239
20.Matt Pursell2022091951992072241236
21.Don Dudley1842242071721852581230
22.Mark Recknagel2451962441831861731227
23.Darin Johnson2431691902262451511224
24.Mike Pounders2191741962332241671213
25.Chris Jackson2341721762632051551205
26.Bob Holzbauer1902432381561891801196
27.Jeff Sweeney1852171951922131861188
28.Joe Sirianni2152032021732031881184
29.Rick Erce1861812222111991841183
30.Dave Rasmussen1932261932121721651161
31.Shawn Mitchell2391681772141861731157
32.Brian Longfield2191951771681871981144
33.Dan Swenson2212012161881441671137
34.Rollie Truehl1591912021931981891132
35.Jim Fosdick2101841941601871751110
36.Jeff Bach2061801511762201741107
37.Matt Hamen2012061921561561811092
38.Dirty Percy1841491891901522131077

Stepladder Finals

Match 1: #5 Eoff def. #4 Ritchie 228- 182

The first match featured a rematch of last year’s title match, a 269-267 thriller. The game started out with Ritchie and Eoff matching shot for shot and three out of the first four strikes. The wheels fell of for Ritchie, though, in the fifth and sixth frames with consecutive opens. He chopped of a 3-6-10 and left a 4-6-10.

Match 2: #5 Eoff def. #3 McDowell 237 – 188

The next match against McDowell also went easily for Eoff as Mac could not get the left lane to cooperate … until, of course, the last shot.

Match 3: #5 Eoff def. #2 Ramsden 256- 225

The semi-final match featured our Eoff against the last non-Eoff Masters winner, Cody Ramsden. Ramsden started with a four-bagger, spare, and double to put some pressure on Eoff. His first seven frames were double, 9/, 8/, 9/ double. Ramsden left the 3-6 in the eighth and was looking to convert to maintain a one pin lead – but chopped the six off the back. Eoff did not miss again.

Match 4: #1 Gibbons def. #5 Eoff 247- 223

The title match started out a bit slow for Gibbons, who elected to have Eoff start the match, and finish on the right lane. But after a 4-6-7 split in the first frame, Gibby ran the next six strikes. Eoff kept pace, leaving a 10 pin in the fourth and a ‘shocked’ five pin in the sixth … both on the right lane.

Gibby left a two pin in the eighth frame after his six strikes, converted, and then doubled before ringing a 10 pin on his second shot in the 10th and posting a 247. Eoff had three in a row going into the tenth, and needed the first one and good count to seal his third consecutive run through the MBA Masters stepladder. Eoff fired his first ball, gave it a bit of encouragement, but left the 7-10 split. The match was sealed for Gibbons.

Congratulations to Chris Gibbons, who won his second MBA Masters, $518.00, two tickets to the MBA Hall of Fame Dinner and Bowler Recognition ceremony in August, one ticket to the Dinner with the Champions in October, and the crystal Eagle Trophy.

Prize List

1.Chris Gibbons$518.00
2.Derek Eoff$295.00
3.Cody Ramsden$240.00
4.Marc McDowell$205.00
5.Brent Ritchie$185.00
6.Mark Newkirk$125.00
7.Tony Thaden$120.00
8.Gail Myers$115.00
9.Jeff Richgels$110.00
10.Joey Kick$105.00
11.Herb Kimpel$95.00
12.Mike Hoffman$90.00
13.Bill Dennis$85.00