Kentucky bowler exceeds expectations at USBC Open Championships


    United States

    National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. (Feb. 17 - June 30, 2007)

    For the 26th year, Chip Aki of Nicholasville, Ky., traveled to the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships with his sights set on a 2,000 all-events total, and this time he far exceeded that goal at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

    The 45-year-old right-hander capped off his 2007 USBC Open Championships campaign with games of 279, 277 and 258 for an 814 series and the lead in Regular Singles, while the strong finish helped him to a 2,081 total and eighth place in Regular All-Events. Andrew Udahl of Elk Grove, Calif., previously held the Regular Singles lead with 792, while Dede Davidson of Buellton, Calif., leads Regular All-Events with 2,118.

    "My goal is always to reach 2,000, and even though I had to shoot 800, I finally did it," said Aki, who had 652 in doubles and 615 in team. "I got to this point by lining up off one of the guys on my pair and ended up with a great result. This is the best I can remember throwing the ball for three games, especially on a stage like this."

    Prior to his performance Monday, the highlight of Aki's Open Championships career was a 14th-place team finish at the 2003 event in Knoxville, Tenn. He also has enjoyed other team success in his bowling career, including a collegiate national championship with Wichita State University in 1987 under the guidance of long-time coach and 2007 USBC Hall of Fame inductee, Gordon Vadakin, and alongside future Professional Bowlers Association standouts Rick Steelsmith, Pat Healy Jr. and Justin Hromek.

    "I'm used to seeing people I've bowled with over the years on TV or just bowling well, so now it's going to be fun to have them watching my score instead," said Aki, who manages a pro shop. "There's not any extra pressure to perform, but a lot of guys from Wichita have had success at the Open Championships, and I'd love to be able to add to it."

    Aki attributes much of his success to years of experience, but admits that he still was a nervous wreck Monday.

    "I've been to this event many times, and even though the environment changes every year, the goals are always the same," Aki said. "But when you start off with two 270 games, your mind starts to wander about the possibilities. Sometimes it's even harder to bowl well because you somehow have to remain calm and keep doing what you've been doing. My friends said I looked calm, but I was running pretty hard on the inside."

    With more than three months of competition remaining at this year's Open Championships, Aki knows that a lot of talented bowlers are scheduled to appear in Reno, but he will be making regular visits to the tournament leaderboards on to see how his score is holding up.

    "I'd rather post a big number early and let the other bowlers chase it, but this is all new to me, so I'm sure I'll be checking out the scores often," Aki said. "This tournament is really unique because you come out, bowl nine games on a relatively unfamiliar lane condition and then go home and wait to see how the thousands of bowlers do. And in a Reno year when we're in the Stadium, the bar is raised even higher. This has been an amazing experience and I'm hoping to get that special phone call when it's all over."

    Presenting sponsors for the 2007 USBC Open Championships are Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev. Other participating sponsors are Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Sands Regency Casino and Hotel, official brackets sponsor and supporting sponsors Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and Harrah's Casino and Hotel.

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfalls:


    1, Vic Telemarketing 2 (Brian Boghosian, Ron Nelson Jr., Bill Webb, Bryan O'Keefe, Chris Viale), Westfield, Mass., 3,218. 2, Tom's Rhinoplasty, Newton, Iowa, 3,203. 3, Warrior Lanes, Des Moines, Iowa, 3,191. 4, Village Bowl 1, Mitchell, S.D., 3,175. 5, Team U S A, St. Louis, Mo., 3,167. 6, Team USA Support 5, Omaha, Neb., 3,148. 7, Team Boroff, Mansfield, Texas, 3,125. 8, Mark Weller Pro Shop, Coldwater, Mich., 3,123. 9, Lawn Lanes 2, Burbank, Ill., 3,118. 10, Hi Score North Starz 1, Minneapolis, 3,112.

    1, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis./Richard Volhard, Rothschild, Wis., 1,467. 2, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis./Chris Pounders, Sun Prairie, Wis., 1,463. 3, Darren Jones, Waldorf, Md./William Blaney III, Indian Head, Md., 1,424. 4, Brian Hoffman, Mount Horeb, Wis./Jay Heinzelman, Madison, Wis., 1,408. 5, James Augustine, Grand Forks, N.D./Ron Zutz, Warren, Minn., 1,402. 6, Tim Reinke/Darin Zanke, New Ulm, Minn., 1,393. 7, Chad Pierce, Flowery Branch, Ga./Randy Russell, Monroe, Ga., 1,386. 8, Mike Kruse/Mike Kruse Jr., Vermillion, S.D., 1,383. 9, George Kontos, Joliet, Ill./Paul Nicholas, Romeoville, Ill., 1,371. 10, Jake Monto, Walbridge, Ohio/Nick Stone, Toledo, Ohio, 1,367.

    1, Chip Aki, Nicholasville, Ky., 814. 2, Andrew Udahl, Elk Grove, Calif., 792. 3, Harry Banks Jr., Coal City, Ill., 782. 4, Greg Brooks, Sturtevant, Wis., 758. 5, Jeremy Sonnenfeld, Sioux Falls, S.D., 751. 6, Daniel Falconi, Mexico City, 745. 7, Mike Miller, Rio Rancho, N.M., 739. 8, Charles Hagstrom, Sioux City, Iowa, 733. 9, Dewey Whitecotton, Hayden, Colo., 730. 10, David Johnson, Fallon, Nev., 729.

    1, Dede Davidson, Buellton, Calif., 2,118. 2, Mike Miller, Rio Rancho, N.M., 2,114. 3, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis., 2,106. 4, Robert Spigner, Vernon Hills, Ill., 2,104. 5, Jeremy Sonnenfeld, Sioux Falls,S.D., 2,102. 6, Bill Webb, Enfield, Conn., 2,095. 7, Curtis Odom, Coldwater, Mich., 2,089. 8, Chip Aki, Nicholasville, Ky., 2,081. 9, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis., 2,075. 10, Harry Banks Jr. Coal City, Ill., 2,066.

    Team All-Events
    1, Tom's Rhinoplasty (Dick Lankford, Eric Arnold, Jason Hale, Michael Miller, Matt Smith), Newton, Iowa, 9,764. 2, Team USA Support 5, Omaha, Neb., 9,755. 3, Vic Telemarketing 2, Westfield, Mass., 9,654. 4, Team Dirty, Madison, Wis., 9,619. 5, Village Bowl 1, Mitchell, S.D., 9,562. 6, Team U S A, St. Louis, Mo., 9,554. 7, Clone Huskers, Greenfield, Wis., 9,536. 8, Waynedale Bakery, Fort Wayne, Ind., 9,477. 9, Vic Telemarketing 3, Westfield, Mass., 9,451. 10, Joliet Town/Country Lanes 2, Joliet, Ill., 9,422.


    1, Galaxy-Dew's Crew (Dalton Kennedy, James Baker, Michael Eubanks, David Whitfield, Bob Poole), Kinston, N.C., 2,737. 2, Lake County Rollers 1, Clarissa, Minn., 2,719. 3, H & J Chevrolet, Kerman, Calif., 2,696. 4, Steel City Strikers, Rostraver, Pa., 2,675. 5, Coral Lanes, Miller, S.D., 2,671. 6, Washington Volunteers, Everett, Wash., 2,664. 7, R&S Stevens Seed, Clarion, Iowa, 2,651. 8, Plattsburg Bowl, Plattsburg, Mo., 2,648. 9, Suburban Lanes, Meade, Kan., 2,638. 10 (tie), Melody Farms Dairy 3, Lincoln Park, Mich., and Ainokea 2, Honolulu, and Alibi Lounge, Shelby, Mont., 2,624.

    1, Michael DiPaolo, Eighty Four, Pa./Donald Hughes, West Newton, Pa., 1,186. 2, Frank Goff Jr. and Issac Vidaurri, Kingsville, Texas, 1,181. 3, Jonathan Carter, Seven Springs, N.C./Freddie Marshall, Kinston, N.C., 1,173. 4, Ralph Johnson/Dave Dahl, Ada, Minn., 1,170. 5, Dave Engelkes, Arnolds Park, Iowa/Greg Rolling, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 1,167. 6, Tom Holland, Dayton, Minn./Ronald Mead, Rogers, Minn., 1,156. 7, Mike Lovelace/Neil Zink, Fargo, N.D., 1,154. 8, Troy Drath, Altura, Minn./Alan Schroeder, Mount Vernon, S.D., 1,153. 9 (tie), Rodney Richardson/Terry Hahn, Laramie, Wyo., and Jack Raymond, Sandy, Utah/Wayne Inman, Salt Lake City, 1,151.

    1, Ken Varner, Lexington, N.C., 664. 2, Rand Syverson, Onamia, Minn., 660. 3, Don Manhalter, Sterling, Colo., 652. 4, Robert Stephens, San Francisco, 650. 5, Joseph Paussa, Baldwinsville, N.Y., 649. 6, Ron Hester, Lexington, N.C., 635. 7, Brian Wright, Buckinghamshire, England, 633. 8, Marvin Clark, Aransas Pass, Texas, 631. 9, Jerry Stratman, Shelby, Mont., 628. 10, Roy Umehira, Honolulu, 627.

    1, Michael Tieden, Blaine, Minn., 1,809. 2, Anthony Kastle, Wilmington, N.C., 1,776. 3, Tate Ziglar, Lexington, N.C., 1,770. 4, Mike Godfrey, Meade, Kan., 1,762. 5, Marvin Clark, Aransas Pass, Texas, 1,751. 6, Donald Hughes, West Newton, Pa., 1,750. 7, Ken Varner, Lexington, N.C., 1,725. 8, Martin Rovella, Hollister, Calif., 1,723. 9 (tie), Bernie Schmitt, Big Lake, Minn., and Jerry Stratman, Shelby, Mont., 1,722.