Duke and Williams improved their record to 2-0 and clinched a spot in the championship round, defeating Chris Barnes and Mika Koivuniemi, 227-184, in the special doubles event featuring 16 of the PBA’s biggest stars.
After winning their opening match in round robin group play, Duke and Williams clinched the first of two spots in the final round by knocking off the “Finn to Win” team of Barnes and Koivuniemi, who were also looking to go to 2-0.
As the top team in the Earl Anthony group, they will play one more round robin match before facing the top team in the Dick Weber group.
Duke and Williams started the match with four consecutive strikes, while Koivuniemi left a 3-6-7-10 split in the fourth frame which Barnes was unable to convert. The event features an alternate shot format with split conversions worth five bonus pins.
Later in the match, Duke left a split of his own and Williams could not convert, giving Barnes and Koivuniemi a chance to get back in the match. Koivuniemi left a 3-6-10 in the eighth frame, however, and Barnes chopped the spare, all but ending the match.
Another special feature of the event is the potential “endless 10th frame,” where teams striking on their fill ball have the opportunity to keep striking for 10 bonus pins per strike. After Williams and Duke struck out in the 10th, they waited to see if Barnes and Koivuniemi could do the same and possibly extend the match, but Koivuniemi was unable to strike on their second shot in the 10th, giving “Will Duke ‘Em” a spot in the finals.
In other matches, “The Kokua Brothers” team of Tony Reyes and Robert Smith won their first match of the competition, 192-170, over Sean Rash and Pete Weber. Rash and Weber fell to 0-2, opening in the third, fourth and 10th frames.
Patrick Allen and Parker Bohn III evened their record at 1-1 with a 267-261 win over Tommy Jones and Wes Malott, who fell to 0-2. The match featured the first endless 10th frame which nearly changed the outcome.
Allen and Bohn struck six consecutive times in frames 5-10 to take control of the match in regulation, but Allen failed to strike on their second shot in the 10th, meaning they could not shut out the “Big and Rich” team. After Malott left a nine count with their first ball in the 10th and Jones converted, Malott struck on the crucial fill ball to extend the match. Needing five strikes to wins, Jones and Malott struck four times before Jones left eight on the fifth bonus frame, giving “Smooth and Slick” the narrow victory.
The other match featured Rash and Weber picking up their first win of the event, 236-217, over the “Fire and Ice” team of Doug Kent and Danny Wiseman. The “Midwest Mafia” struck with their first six shots while Wiseman and Kent could not take advantage of an endless 10th frame situation to draw even.
Round robin match play continues next weekend as three more matches will air Sunday, July 15 at 3 p.m. ET, along with a re-air of a previous match.