This year's match play invitiational was another good one! We had tons of close matches and pressure shots. There is no question the most entertaining form of bowling is match play bowling! The bracket ended up having a large variety of averages and skill levels advancing through. We had Eric Flick get really close to being the first player ever to go back to back, but that was cut shot. We also saw Bill Brackett who is tough every year in this event go pretty deep.
The top 8 players in points get byes in this event and every year it is clear that those are a huge advantage as they are a little more rested and only have to win a few matches to be able to cash. This event really showcases the importance of the season points race. Wheither it's the seeding and what bracket you put in, whether you are are high enough to get in on the waiting list, or just how many byes you get, the points are very crucial.
This year, like many years, we had most of the players that advanced to the end being players that got byes, but there were also a few players who were just hot and stayed hot for most of the day. Since it's a double elimination event, they don't have to be hot everygame, but they better not be "cold" for two of them, or they will be eliminated.
We had some regulars who have had a lot of experience in matchplay become most of the events cashers. Armando Viramontes, Bill Brackett, Brian Roever, Eric Flick, Ron Gonzales, and Sean Kearney were all cashers, but they all came up short of the ulimate goal, which is to win event exemptions. Event exemptions grant free access to any non-major event's quarter finals. This means a guaranteed check, but most importantly, it means a free chance that the always large first place prize.
This year the two finalists represented she side of the coin. Brian Jackson had the maximum number of byes due to his season points ranking. This meant he got three byes and only needed to win 3 matches to bowl in the final match. His opponent Renee, however, had no byes and had to bowl his way through the bracket which was a total of 8 matches to get to the final match. After those 8 matches, since he was in the loser's bracket he also had to defeat Brian twice to take home the title. There is also practice before each round, so before the final match it's likely that Renee had already bowled 12 games, while Brian was probably only around 5.
However, that didn't stop Renee from staying on fire and defeating Brian in back to back matches in a medium scoring match to bring home the MI title and 3 event exemptions! Brian took home 2 event exemptions! A big thanks to all of our sponsors who ended up adding over $600 in main and side event prizefund!