Jason Sterner made his PBA television debut earlier this season at the World Series of Bowling, falling to eventual champion Tom Daugherty in the Scorpion Championship, and it didn’t take him long to get back to television.
With only two TV spots open for the Don Carter Classic, and with top seed Wes Malott running away from everyone during qualifying, Sterner had to battle everyone else for that second berth in the finals.
After match play and going into position round, Sterner had a fairly safe lead of 121 pins over Walter Ray Williams, Jr. and 143 over Stuart Williams, but Sterner didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
In the position round, Malott and Sterner battled to a 279-276 finish. Sterner knocked down seven on his fill ball in the 10th, otherwise they would’ve tied. Nobody could catch either one of them, and their match proved they belonged in the finals together.
Championship Match: Wes Malott vs. Jason Sterner
Although this was a tremendous day for Jason Sterner, we shouldn’t forget how impressive Wes Malott was throughout the whole tournament. He averaged 255.94 over 17 games of qualifying, match play and position round and grabbed the first seed by nearly 200 pins over Sterner.
In short, Wes Malott put on an incredible performance over the course of the entire tournament. If you would’ve asked anyone in Allen Park, you likely would’ve been told Malott would defeat whomever made it to the finals with him.
Of course, that’s not what happened. Jason Sterner, not wanting to leave anything to chance, threw strikes. 11 of them in a row, in fact. Malott wasn’t struggling, either. Aside from a split in the third and two 9 spares in the fifth and sixth, he threw nothing but strikes.
There’s only one score that can beat 299, though. Sterner bowled with such confidence and exuberance, it was as if he bowls on TV every day. At the same time, he kept himself in check, settling down long enough to throw pure strike after pure strike.
Even the ringing 10 pin on his last shot, which cost him his perfect game (and the $10,000 bonus he would’ve received for throwing a 300 on television), couldn’t bring down Sterner, who claimed his first PBA Tour title and a spot in the Tournament of Champions.
Final scores: Sterner 299, Malott 235
- Jason Sterner, $15,000
- Wes Malott, $7,500