The Wesley Chapel, Fla., left-hander slipped past his fellow southpaw, close friend and Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour roommate Rhino Page of Topeka, Kan., 267-263, to win his second career major championship and his second title in three weeks. It meant a $50,000 payday and a two-year PBA Tour exemption in the crowning event of the PBA’s 50th Anniversary Gala week.
Allen had a hard time shaking off the fact that his buddy basically handed him the glory by making an errant shot on his second shot in the 10th frame. Needing only a nine-count spare after striking on his first shot in the final frame, Page – the PBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year – called for a re-rack to calm himself. Not realizing he had already used the two re-racks he was allowed, he glanced at the 25-second shot clock before re-composing himself.
“Rhino got the ball a little too far left. It came off his hand with nothing on it,” Allen said. “I could see it was a bad shot.”
Page missed the headpin, knocking down four pins and his dream of winning his first major title disappeared.
“I knew the shot was in trouble when it came off my hand,” Page said. “I got distracted with the time clock, but sometimes you have to learn the hard way. I still had a great week. I’ll take second after not making the cut the previous three weeks.”
“He out-bowled me until that shot,” Allen said. “I really feel for him. You don’t win out here if you don’t get some breaks, but that’s not the way you want to win. I got a huge break two weeks ago against Walter Ray Williams Jr., but to be honest, I didn’t feel as bad for Walter Ray. He’s got 45 titles. You have to get breaks to beat him."
“Over the past few weeks, everything has been going my way,” Allen added. “It was an honor to be here the whole week. Winning the Tournament of Champions, especially this week, is something I’ll never forget. It was an honor just to be here this week.”
The victory for Allen, who was the top qualifier making his PBA record-tying fifth consecutive television appearance, continued an amazing turn-around after a dismal start to the season.
“After the first six weeks, I was on the verge of bowling for my job. I was bowling terrible. But I had a practice session with Doug Kent and things began to click after that.”
Right-hander Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, defeated lefty Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, 276-203, in the opening stepladder match, but back-to-back 4-6-7-10 splits in the semifinal match against Page ended Malott’s bid for a third title in six weeks. Page won, 243-200.