On the Lanes with Bill Lillard

    03/21/09

    United States

    By Matt Cannizzaro

    2008USBCOCBillLillard.jpgIn the coming months, we'll talk with some of best-known bowlers at the Open Championships and get their thoughts on their time at the tournament and what it takes to succeed on the championship lanes.

    This week, we heard from Bill Lillard, 81, who will be in Las Vegas to compete in this year's event on March 23 and 24.

    Lillard, who will be making his 62nd consecutive tournament appearance, is the tournament's active pinfall leader with 113,404. He is second all-time behind fellow USBC Hall of Famer Joe Norris (123,770), who also bowled in a record-tying 71 tournaments.

    In 1956, Lillard became the first bowler to claim four titles in the same year when he won Regular Team, Regular Doubles, Regular All-Events and Team All-Events. He also won the team and Team All-Events titles in 1955 and Classic Team in 1962 and 1971 to give him eight career titles, which ties him with Fred Bujack of Detroit. Only Nelson Burton Jr. of St. Louis has more (nine).

    2009USBCOCBillLillard.jpgLillard has maintained a 200 average for his 61 tournament appearances.

    HOMETOWN: Houston

    OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS APPEARANCES: This year will be 62 consecutive.

    OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS TITLES: Eight

    BOWLING BALL WEIGHT: 15 pounds of dynamite

    FAVORITE BRAND OF BOWLING BALLS: Storm

    ONE all-time favorite host city: Rochester, N.Y.

    TWO best Open Championships memories: 1, Memphis in 1981- My son Bill and I finished third in doubles. 2, Winning four titles in 1956.

    THREE keys to success at the Open Championships: 1, String strikes (now). 2, Stay clean (then). 3, Stay comfortable.

    FOURgettable Open Championships moment: The last three tournaments.

    FIVE bowlers in history on your Open Championships fantasy all-star team: Ned Day, Don Carter, Dick Weber, Ray Bluth, Buddy Bomar.

    SIX bowling balls currently in your Open Championships arsenal: Only need two- Storm Tour Power and Columbia house ball for spares.

    SEVEN cities you'd like to see the Open Championships go to/return to: So many good cities over the years to choose from.

    EIGHT favorite bowling balls ever: Three come to mind- Brunswick Black Beauty, Blue Hammer and Storm Tour Power.

    NINE other bowlers you would choose to join you on your ideal pair of companion teams at the Open Championships: Bill A. Lillard, Pete Treybig, Don Carter, Dick Weber, Ray Bluth, Tom Hennessey, Junie McMahon, Stan Gifford and John Jowdy.

    TEN seconds or less, who is your favorite bowler of all-time?: Don Carter and Dick Weber

    ELEVEN strikes in a row to start a game at the Open Championships, what's going through your head?: Think positive!

    TWELVE years from now, where do you hope to be in your bowling career?: Are you kidding?


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