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Tom Hess Wins First Career Title At Bayer USBC Masters

Sometimes the stars just align.




Yesterday was that day for Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa. A sod installer by trade, Tom Hess knows what hard work is all about. Finally, that hard work he's put into his bowling paid off.

As the 2nd seed, Hess would either bowl Mike DeVaney or the hottest bowler on the planet, Mika Koivuniemi. Mika continued his hot streak to take his spot in match two against Hess. Tom started the match with a cross-over Brooklyn strike, followed with a flush strike and then tripped the 4 pin forward for another strike. You could feel the stars aligning. He would string 7 consecutive strikes with his Virtual Gravity NANO and go on to defeat Koivuniemi, 254-219.

Hess would move on to face the #1 seed, and probably the most likable person on tour, Jack Jurek. Tom started the match with a 4-9 split with the ball coming in just a touch high. Jurek looked as if he would cruise to victory, striking in 6 out of the first 7 frames and taking a commanding lead. But Hess stayed solid and waited for those stars to finish aligning.

Then it happened. Two straight splits for Jurek in the 8th and 9th. Hess would be down by one pin entering the 10th frame. Jurek started with a textbook strike in the biggest frame of his career. He then let go an identical shot and as the ball hit the pocket, the 7-10 split was left standing. Working on a strike, Tom Hess needed 19 pins to win the USBC Masters.

Hess stepped up in the tenth frame, his childhood dreams a few shots away from realization. He pured it. 10 in the pit, a perfect strike. Barring a freak occurrence where he couldn't finish the frame, this tournament was all but won for Mr. Hess.

Then came one of the most amazing acts of sportsmanship I personally have ever seen. With the sheer excitement Tom Hess was experiencing, his face as red as a beet, a heart attack or stroke wasn't out of the realm of possibility. Jack Jurek, just losing the biggest match of his life, walks up and grabs Hess. He doesn't try to choke him out, but instead congratulates and tells him to try to collect himself so he can finish out his last two shots. The single most selfless act in the history of bowling (that I can remember).

Congratulations to Tom Hess, it was well deserved. But, if there's any truth to that whole karma thing, Jack Jurek will win the US Open in 2 weeks by a landslide. I know who I'll be rooting for.

Dustin Seymour

Bowling balls used during telecast:
Tom Hess - Virtual Gravity NANO and Team Storm Lightning Bolt
Jack Jurek - Anarchy and Natural
Mika Koivuniemi - Mission $250k
Mike DeVaney - Marvel and Team Storm Lightning Bolt