At age 40, Dick Allen isn't past his bowling prime, but he is at an age where appreciation for tour wins is a little higher than perhaps it used to be.
Hailing from Lexington, South Carolina, Allen marched through qualifying and Monday night's initial game to decide seeding for the TV finals to earn the top seed, and that position benefited him greatly as he won his seventh PBA title, and second this year.
Once the seedings were determined, the night's first match pitted thirty-three year old Matt McNiel from Minneapolis against twenty-five year old Kyle Sherman from O'Fallon, MIssouri. This was Sherman's first tournament since hip surgery in August, and he sure didn't show any rust. After leaving a 9-pin and converting the spare in the first frame, he then struck the next eleven frames enroute to a 290-152 win. McNiel is an outstanding bowler in his own right, but today's tough oil condition just couldn't be overcome, as he became the first professional bowler I've ever seen to not throw a single strike in a game.
Sherman then moved on to face number two seed, thirty-five year old Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida. Page has six career titles, including one major, so he had experience going for him, and started the game strong with four strikes in the first five frames, while Sherman couldn't convert the 3-6-7-10 split in the third frame. But the two bowlers' fortunes changed after the mid-game commercial break, as Page threw only a single strike the rest of the game, while Sherman ripped off five strikes in a row and won 229-204.
So Kyle Sherman, seeking his first PBA singles title, advanced to the title game against top seed Dick Allen. By pure coincidence, I had been sitting next to Sherman's parents this night (wonderful people...that southern charm really came through), so I was wondering if I'd be sharing in a truly wonderful family moment with them. Allen started the game with five strikes, while Sherman left 10-pin after 10-pin...good shots that he wasn't being rewarded for. Although Allen then started leaving his own 10-pins in the sixth through tenth frames, the lead he built up was more than enough to secure his seventh PBA title, 234-195.
I spoke to Allen immediately after Thunderbowl Lanes owner Tom Strobl presented him with his trophy, and he told me how extra special it was for him winning here in Detroit, with our rich bowling history.