Just weeks into the new year, two Team Dexter pros took two of the top honors in the sport of bowling. Less than a week after Chris Barnes became PBA World Champion, Mika Koivuniemi won the PBA Tournament of Champions.
Barnes, a native of Topeka, KS, won the $50,000 prize at the PBA World Championships, defeating Bill O’Neill 267-237 at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas on January 16. Before facing off against top qualifier O’Neill, Barnes, ranked 4th going into the tournament, defeated Michael Haugen Jr. 243-172 in the January 15 elimination round, then Osku Palermaa of Finland (246-176) and Sean Rash by a score of 237 to 161.
This newest title makes Barnes, winner of the 2005 US Open and the 2006 Tournament of Champions, one of only six bowlers in PBA history to win the triple crown of bowling – joining the ranks of Hall of Famers Mike Aulby, Norm Duke, Billy Hardwick, Johnny Petraglia, and Pete Weber.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment when Mika Koivuniemi, an impressive force in the US and international bowling circuit, won top honors at the 2011 Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas on January 22.
The Finland native took home the $250,000 grand prize following his 269-207 defeat of Tom Smallwood, which was preceded by a 299-100 matchup against Tom Daugherty and a close four-point win over Andres Gomez (224-220) in the opening match. Koivuniemi is now the first international bowler to claim the PBA Tournament of Champions title.
Congratulations to Chris and Mika on these incredible milestone victories!