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Although it didn’t count as a title, winning the PBA Clash felt pretty good for Marshall Kent after a solid 2018 season in which he didn’t win a PBA title.
The Clash, which aired on the FOX network Sunday in the United States and on FloBowling for international viewers, was a special made-for-television event to kick off the PBA’s new partnership with FOX. The archive of the show will be available to all FloBowling subscribers on Dec. 30.
Kent, a four-time PBA champion, took home the $25,000 winner-take-all top prize by defeating Dom Barrett of England, 218-215, at the Kegel Training Center.
The non-title victory comes after a strong 2018 campaign for Kent, who made five championship round appearances this season and finished eighth in earnings. He also finished seventh on the PBA Tour points list despite not winning a title.
Down by 18 in the eighth frame, Kent finished the match with five strikes to go around Barrett who left a 10 pin on his first ball of the 10th frame after a double in the eighth and ninth frames, ending his hopes for the win.
For the unique format, Kent kept things simple using the same ball for the entire tournament while making his adjustments with ball speed and angles to the pocket.
"I prepared like I do for any other tournament," said Kent, who benefited from two crossover strikes in the one-ball elimination rounds. "There weren't a lot of frames to bowl and there was no re-oiling (of the lanes) so I just made it work with one ball."
The eliminator format event showcased the season's top eight money earners from the 2018 season. Joining Kent and Barrett in the field were other top earners Jason Belmonte, Anthony Simonsen, 2018 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Andrew Anderson, EJ Tackett, Stuart Williams and Jakob Butturff.
The telecast began with each bowler rolling a 10th-frame opening round with the low score eliminated. Seven players advanced to the second round where all players competed in a one-ball low-man-out format with the last two survivors bowling a complete game in the title match.
In the 10th frame round, Tackett, the 2016 Player of the Year and the only three-time winner in 2018, was eliminated with an eight count for the frame after leaving the 2-4-10 split.
Kent and Barrett went on to survive the one-ball elimination rounds to advance to the title match.
After the 3-6-7-10 split and an open in the fifth frame of the title match, Kent put his ability to adjust to the test and got back on track with a strike in the sixth and a nine-spare in the seventh before striking the rest of the way.
"It was pressure all the way but I love the pressure," Kent said. "The last half of the match I was able to find some area to the right so I just needed to play smart from that point. Obviously, the most pressure was on the strike in the ninth so after I got that strike and all three in the 10th I felt like I did my part; then it was just wait and see what Dom does."
The revolutionary Specto StrikeTrack was introduced during the Clash telecast, giving viewers the ability to follow the path of the ball going down the lane while providing ball performance data in real time. StrikeTrack is similar in concept to the FOX Sports FlightTrack system used on PGA Tour telecasts that tracks the flight of a golfer's shot.
The 2019 PBA Tour season kicks off Jan. 3 with the PBA Hall of Fame Classic in Arlington, Texas. FloBowling will have live coverage of all rounds leading up to the TV finals.
Jerry Schneider of PBA Media Relations contributed to this report.