January 29, 2012

Mike Fagan won the USBC Masters on Sunday for first major title, rallying to beat Chris Barnes 246-213 in the final at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center.

Fagan, from Dallas, overcame a 30-pin deficit to beat the top-seeded Barnes, from Double Oak, Texas.

"All week long I really wasn't thinking about majors, matches or what my opponents were doing. I just wanted to do what I do to the best of my ability," said Fagan, a three-time PBA Tour winner. "Now the fact that it has paid off feels amazing. Sometimes you can bowl your best and not come out on top. I know how few and far between these opportunities can be, so for me to take advantage of it is amazing."

Fagan, who earned $50,000, failed to strike in the first four frames, while Barnes started with four out of five strikes to start the match. Fagan then rattled off seven consecutive strikes to take control.

"I really didn't like any of the first couple shots off my hand because they were a little fast or a little bit too aggressive," Fagan said. "The next few shots I really just wanted to get my body position right and let the swing follow and the pins cooperated thankfully."

Barnes was attempting to join Mike Aulby and Norm Duke as the only players in PBA history to complete the career Grand Slam with victories at each of the four majors.

"This one hurts. It was a difficult day," said Barnes, who has lost the Masters as the top seed three times. "I was more nervous today for the final than I have been in a long time. There were a lot of legacy things on the line, and I'm not confident I will get another chance to win this tournament because it's so hard to get through all the matches."

Fagan advanced to the championship match with a 228-180 victory over 2003 Masters champion Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore. In the opening match, Smith beat Canada's Dan MacLelland 251-212.

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