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.
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.