After firing the last 10 strikes for a 269 to rout Tony Oliva in the semifinals of the 2022 GIBA 11thFrame.com Open, Chad Maas looked like a runaway train that couldn’t be stopped.
In the title match against top seed Nick Pate, Maas started with a double to complete an “Andy Varipapa 300,” while Pate started with a 2-8 he spared, struck, and then left a 10-pin he spared. The Mass train still was rolling.
But Maas left a blower 7-pin in the third for a spare, and followed with a double, a high pocket 6-9 and then a 10-pin for spares. He followed with a double to give himself a potential 246 that could have put pressure on Pate, who had followed his third frame spare with a 6-bagger.
But Maas said he got his first shot in the 10th too far to the right, very close to the gutter, and it jumped high for a 3-4-6-7-9-10 split. He made it, but the title already was lost to Pate, who struck out for a 270-220 win.
The lane pattern famed pattern designer Nick Hoagland crafted working with Cherry Lanes director Bob Hochrein was 37 feet with 24.63 mL of Connect oil and pattern ratios by volume of 1.11-1 on the left and 1.66-1 on the right. I thought there might be a lot of urethane being used, but it was not as dominant as I expected. The PDF of the pattern is attached to this story.
Maas was throwing it very hard from right of 10 at the arrows toward the gutter, while Pate was slower and steeper.
Pate tried two balls in his practice balls on stepladder pair 13-14 and chose a Radical CRYPTO.
“It's kind of a medium range ball,” Pate said in an interview after his win. “It's got a strong cover on it. And just that medium diff kind of blended the lane out really, really well. So that's what I went with.”
He said after not striking twice in his first three shots, “I actually hit it harder, believe it or not. I figured I'd just stay in the same spot. Once I saw it kind of do that in practice and the 2-8 (in the first frame) I'm like, 'OK, I can actually be really aggressive and it shouldn't overhook.' ”
Pate knew what he might face from Maas after the 269, “but I just stuck to my process, did what I could do, controlled what I can control.”
After Saturday’s six games of qualifying, the top 48 from the 156-entry field advanced to Sunday’s competition. Sunday’s innovative format that comes from the fertile mind of Mike Flanagan features 12 games with bonus pins based on score from highest to lowest. For example, if 48 advance to Sunday in each game the highest scorer will get 48 bonus pins, the second-highest scorer 47 pins, so on down to 1 bonus pin for the lowest score each game.
Yes, it’s not head-to-head; instead, it’s all-against-all. The idea is to reward the consistently solid bowler and not the one who may bowl the right people at the right time. And everyone who makes the cut gets to bowl all of Sunday's games.
The lanes were oiled before each round of qualifying, the 12-game round Sunday, and the stepladder.
With 12 games and the bonus pins, players can make huge moves. Stepladder finalists Pate, Maas, Matt Gasn, Tony Oliva, and Craig Keith qualified in 11th, 35th, ninth, 14th and 29th.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, qualifying leader Ashton Yamasaki finished 27th and No. 2 Erin McCarthy ended up eighth, with a 141 in Game 11 the killer for the PWBA Tour champion.
Pate is a full-time PBA Tour player who finished second to Jason Belmonte in February in the 2022 PBA David Small's Kokomo Championship. Pate needed to double in the 10th to win his first PBA Tour title, flushed the first shot and then left a brutal ringing 10-pin on his second shot.
He could have competed for 5-figure top prizes at a PBA Super Regional in Virginia or the New Mexico Open over the weekend, but instead chose the GIBA 11thFrame.com open, which paid $2,800 for first, plus $720 in the Bet You Win pot.
“I actually live in Cedar Rapids, so it's cost effective to drive up, and I like supporting the Engelkeses and your tournament,” said Pate, whose girlfriend Sydney Brummett coaches Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids and is a PWBA Tour player who finished 44th in the 11thFrame.com Open. “I've bowled this for five years. It's just nice to support local bowling. The regional out east is just too expensive. And then the same with New Mexico.”
With no PBA Tour competition until 2023, Midwest tournaments will see more of Pate in the coming months, starting with the Ebonite Fall Classic in Waterloo next month.
“And then it's just weekends after weekends just to stay sharp,” he said.
Oliva opened the stepladder with a 239-174 win over Keith, staying clean while Keith missed a 2-8 in the fourth and opened again on consecutive splits in the seventh and eighth.
Oliva and Keith both were playing direct off the edge, but Gasn was playing more where Maas and Pate would: inside swinging to the gutter.
That seemed to impact Oliva’s reaction, as he opened twice on 4-6 and pocket 7-10 splits, but Gasn struggled after an opening 3-bagger as he was battling a beat-up thumb that impacted his shotmaking.
Gasn, the 2014 11thFrame.com Open champion, missed the head-pin left for an open in the sixth, and opened in the eighth and 10th on 3-6-7-10 and 4-6-7-10 splits as Oliva advanced 188-172.
Oliva adjusted and bowled a solid clean 215 in the semifinal, but after a blower 7-10 for an open and a blower 7 for a spare, Maas fired 10 strikes for his 269, setting up the title match.
Second was $2,300, third $1,800, fourth $1,400, and fifth $1,100. The full prize list is attached to the story as a PDF.
The tournament featured more than $4,000 in added money from returning sponsors the Dubuque Regional Sports Commission, Diamond Jo Casino, Cherry Lanes, Storm Bowling Products, IAMBowling, and 11thFrame.com.
The GIBA is sponsored by EBI (Brunswick) and we thank EBI (Brunswick) for graciously allowing my Storm-sponsored tournament — I have been on Storm’s staff since 1996 — to be part of the GIBA schedule.
GIBA administrator Joe Engelkes later sent out this report on the tournament:
"Congratulations to Nick Pate on winning the 11thFrame.com Open held at Cherry Lanes over the weekend. Pate topped a field of 156 bowlers as he averaged 233 over the 6 games of qualifying and 12 games on Sunday's unique second round of the tournament. Pate topped Chad Maas 270 to 220 in the title match. Maas, who was 2nd high qualifier, topped Tony Oliva in the semi-final match 269 to 215. Oliva qualified in the 4th position and topped Craig Keith in the first stepladder match 239 to 174. Oliva moved on to face 3rd high qualifier Matt Gasn and Oliva prevailed in that match 188 to 172. Pate won $2800 for first along with the bet you win pot of $720, Maas won $2300 for 2nd, Oliva $1800 for 3rd, Gasn $1400 for 4th and Keith $1100 for 5th. We paid out a total prize fund of $29,540 with the top 1/3 of our bowlers cashing.
We took in a total of $24,640 in entry fees and Cherry Lanes donated the lineage so that full amount went into the prize fund, In addition, we have some great sponsors for this tournament including the Diamond Jo Casino, Jeff Richgels's 11thFrame.com, IAM Bowling, and Storm Bowling Products. In addition, the GIBA donated bracket proceeds to the prize fund.
There was a significant amount of discussion concerning the pattern we used for this tournament. The pattern was designed by Nick Hoagland and was 37' with 24.63 mL in volume and ratios of 1.11-1 on the left and 1.66-1 on the right. I was amazed with how well the pattern held up considering the low volume and short distance. The scoring pace on the right side ended up being higher than anticipated, while the left side definitely played more difficult. I can assure everyone that our intent is never to use a pattern that would intentionally give a major advantage to either the right or left side. Our goal is to provide a fair challenge to all bowlers, but in reality, that is extremely difficult with the modern game of bowling. We will definitely be looking to make some changes prior to next year's 11thFrame.com Open."
Nate Stubler edged Tom Hess to win the 2021 GIBA 11thFrame.com Open and join Matt McNiel as a 2-time champion, as I detailed in this story.
Save the dates: The tournament is set for the same weekend in 2023, Aug. 18-20.