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Veteran Kent outduels Duke

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It's hard to top a season in which you win two Majors and set a career-high in earnings, but 18-year Denny's Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour veteran Doug Kent added to what was already a dream season.

Kent defeated Norm Duke, six-strikes-to-three, to win the third annual Motel 6 Roll to Riches special event and take home the $150,000 winner-take-all top prize.

The final round consisted of a Race to Six Strikes, with the first bowler striking six times taking home the title.

Kent jumped out to the early lead, striking with his first shot after Duke had missed on his first. Though Duke struck with his next shot, he got bad breaks in his next two frames and Kent capitalized to take a 3-1 lead.

After missing with his next shot, Kent struck twice in a row to put Duke on the ropes, but he missed in the next frame to give Duke another chance. Duke could have pulled within one, but the 5-pin wobbled and stayed up and Kent struck with his next shot to win in his first Motel 6 Roll to Riches appearance.

"It's a great finish to a great year. You come in here against five of the best players in the world and you think, 'what are your chances against Norm Duke, Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr.?'" Kent (Newark, N.Y.) said. "It's just an incredible finish to a great year."

Though Kent's win does not count toward official PBA earnings or titles and does not factor in a wide open PBA Player of the Year race, few have ever topped Kent's 2006-07 season in which he became just the sixth bowler to win two Majors in a season and took home a career-high $200,530.

Kent advanced to the Race to Six Strikes by winning a one-ball sudden death roll-off over Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the semifinals after they tied at 116 through six frames. All Semifinal Round and Elimination Round matches consisted of six-frame matches with a maximum score of 180.

Williams could have won by one pin by striking in the 10th, but after doubling he left a 10-pin to send the match to an extra frame. In the roll-off, Kent struck while Williams could only muster an eight count.

The second semifinal featured a battle between the only two bowlers who have competed in all three Roll to Riches events. Duke (Clermont, Fla.) advanced with a 159-124 win over Tommy Jones in the first of the two Semifinal Round matches.

The event started with the Challenge Round, where bowlers participated in one-ball roll offs with the lowest score after each frame moving into the Elimination Round and the two surviving bowlers earning byes into the Semifinal Round. After all six bowlers struck on the first ball, Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) and Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.) had eight counts on the second ball to drop into the Elimination Round.