LAS VEGAS – Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, and Professional Bowlers Association World Series of Bowling star Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., hope to end the international domination of the World Series in the GEICO Shark Open finals Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The GEICO Shark Open is the last of four PBA “animal pattern” championships conducted during the World Series at South Point Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
Barnes, a 13-time PBA Tour titlist, averaged 235 over 14 games to earn the top qualifying position in the Shark finals. He’ll be joined by Australia’s Jason Belmonte, winner of the Chameleon Open earlier in the World Series; Rash, who qualified for a record six World Series finals, and reigning PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi, a native of Finland who now lives in Hartland, Mich.
Sunday’s ESPN eliminator-format finals will feature three one-game rounds. All four players bowl the opening game, with the lowest-scoring player after each game being eliminated. In the two rounds to follow, the same “low man out” format applies.
In the title match, the two surviving players will bowl for a $15,000 first prize, a PBA Tour title and, with the exception of Belmonte, a berth in the Round of 36 for the end-of-season PBA Tournament of Champions. Belmonte already has clinched a Round of 36 berth with his Chameleon Open victory.
While Barnes and Rash will bowl for American pride, Belmonte and Koivuniemi will try to extend the string of World Series titles won by international player to five (not including the World Bowling Tour men’s title – a non-PBA event – won by Koivuniemi to kick off the World Series).
A Shark Open pre-event show will be webcast at no cost on pba.com’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel starting Wednesday, with a follow-up post-game show immediately following Sunday’s ESPN telecast. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.