ALLEN PARK, Mich. – After a 2018 season in which he came so close to winning his first PBA Tour title on numerous occasions, Kris Prather finally broke through to win Wednesday at the 2019 PBA Scorpion Championship.
Facing brutally tough lane conditions, Prather defeated BJ Moore, who was also seeking his first title, 200-190 in the championship match at Thunderbowl Lanes.
Needing a mark in the final frame to secure the title, Prather sent the ball a pinch high and could have left the 4-9 split, but the nine pin fell and he converted the four pin to take the victory.
The title match was tight throughout with neither player ever having more than a 14-pin lead as they battled the difficult Scorpion pattern. The left lane seemed to play especially difficult, and Moore, having lane choice as the top seed, elected to finish the match first on that lane.
“I just didn’t want to finish last,” Moore told FloBowling after the match. “I figured we were going to have five shots on that lane, and I already took four shots before. I basically had a game on it, so I figured by the end of the game I would have figured it out. Apparently not.”
Prather said he was caught off guard by Moore’s decision.
“It actually surprised me a lot,” Prather said. “I anticipated finishing the match first on the tougher lane. It went in my advantage that he let me finish the match last. I don’t know what to say.”
Prather had three third-place finishes in the 2018 season at the U.S. Open, PBA Bear Open and PBA Wolf Open.
In a wild semifinal match, Prather defeated Bill O’Neill, 198-190, to advance to the title match.
Prather looked down and out after he left a 2-4-8-10 split in the ninth frame for an open, however, O’Neill left a 3-6-7-10 split in the 10th frame. He needed to convert it to advance but missed it. That gave Prather a chance at redemption with two strikes and six pins, and he delivered the clutch double to advance.
Prather survived a close battle with Kyle Troup but escaped with a 222-208 victory in the opening match of the stepladder.
Prather left a blowout 7-10 split in the ninth frame but Troup returned the favor when he left a 4-6-10 split in the ninth frame. Troup finished the game with a 10 pin spare and 2-4-10 split on the fill, meaning Prather just needed to fill 17 pins for the win. Prather struck out to secure the victory.
In the seeding round to open the show, Moore converted a 10 pin in the final frame to earn the top seed with a 224 game, while O’Neill shot 215 to get the second seed. Prather shot 212 to finish third and Troup had 194 to take the fourth seed.
The World Series of Bowling continues Thursday with the taping of the USA vs. The World special match, which will air Friday night, and the live finals of the 2019 PBA World Championship at 8 p.m. Eastern.