Defending champion in position to make history at USBC Open Championships


    United States

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

    More than a century of history wasn't enough to stop Browning Pontiac of Cincinnati from trying to become the first Regular Division team to repeat as champion at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

    Led by USBC Hall of Famer Steve Fehr, the only person to own USBC Open Championships titles in four decades, Browning Pontiac shifted into high gear in its final game and raced back to the top of the leaderboard with 1,085, 1,094 and 1,179 for a 3,358 total Wednesday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

    The 1,179 finale was the third-highest team game of this year's event and helped the group past Forgey Sports Medicine of Vancouver, Wash., which previously held the Regular Team lead with 3,308.

    "We know the history of this tournament," said Fehr, who made his 35th Open Championships appearance. "Some of the guys talked about it all year long and were excited just to have a shot at doing something no one has ever done before."

    Last year in Corpus Christi, Texas, Browning Pontiac took the Regular Team title with a 3,496 effort, the third-highest team total in Open Championships history. The victory was a nice addition to Fehr's trophy case, which includes eagles from his wins in 1978 Classic Doubles, 1980 Regular All-Events, 1982 Regular Team and the 1994 USBC Masters.

    While in Reno, the squad spent some time at the nearby USBC/Storm Bowlers Journal Championships, which included a perfect game by anchor Ken Abner, and the warm-up seemed to pay off on the main stage Wednesday. During their run at the record books, the Browning Pontiac teammates registered 112 strikes and left only nine open frames.

    Fehr set the pace with 738 and was followed by Abner (708), Ken Jessee (652), Jon Murph (646) and George Gohagan III (614).

    "I really can't believe what just happened, and I think the whole team is in shock right now," Fehr said. "These guys are so used to throwing strikes that I have to worry about pulling my weight and stepping up my game just to keep up with them."

    With the tournament's 135-day run already halfway to the finish line, all that's left to do is wait and see if history will be made when the last team event of the year concludes on June 30.

    "The scores have shown that this year's lane condition is definitely tougher than 2006," Fehr said. "Our plan was just to keep the ball outside of 10 and continually execute good shots. Once that happened, we were able to get to the lead. We only dreamed of going back-to-back, but now it seems like a real possibility."

    Team All-Events champion won't repeat at USBC Open Championships

    As the reigning Team All-Events champion, Linds Lakers 1 of Minneapolis took to the lanes at the National Bowling Stadium hoping to recreate the magic it found at last year's USBC Open Championships.

    Since the group also won the event in 2002, the teammates understood the pressure of being the defending champion, but since the addition of Team All-Events in 1947, there have been only three teams to win back-to-back titles.

    The most recent title defense came at the 1998 event, also at the Stadium, when Lodge Lanes of Belleville, Mich., successfully defended its title with a staggering 10,421 total, just four pins shy of the all-time tournament record.

    This time around, Linds Lakers 1 had a slow start in team, and although the group bounced back in doubles and singles, it ultimately was unable to repeat the feat and claim another line in the pages of Open Championships history.

    "We all sat down together and talked about what happened in team event and how we could rebound from it," said Todd Savoy, a USBC Hall of Famer and six-time tournament champion who is third on the career average list with 214.09. "We talked over some strategies and how to handle what we might see depending on how the bowlers in front of us played the lanes."

    Savoy led the group with a 1,973 all-events total and was followed by USBC Board member Sam Lantto (1,953), John Eiss (1,920), Charles Vashaw (1,847) and Gary Green (1,749) for a 9,442 total. Smith Barney 1 of Madison, Wis., the 2005 Team All-Events champion, leads with 10,040.

    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, Browning Pontiac (Steve Fehr, George Gohagan III, Ken Jessee, Jon Murph, Ken Abner), Cincinnati, 3,358. 2, Forgey Sports Medicine, Vancouver, Wash., 3,308. 3, Red Carpet Lanes, Waukesha, Wis., 3,287. 4, S & B Pro Shop 1, Troy, Mich., 3,280. 5, Smith Barney 1, Madison, Wis., 3,261. 6, Wichita Bowling Supply, Wichita, Kan., 3,259. 7, MoRich Enterprises, Ocala, Fla., 3,249. 8, Rick Starbuck's Pro Shop, Dayton, Ohio, 3,233. 9, Vic Telemarketing 2, Westfield, Mass., 3,218. 10, My Bowling Shop 2, Dallas, 3,212.

    1, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis./Richard Volhard, Rothschild, Wis., 1,467. 2, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis./Chris Pounders, Sun Prairie, Wis., 1,463. 3, Mike Shady, Fairview, Pa./Marc McDowell, Madison, Wis., 1,437. 4, David Ewald, Macomb, Mich./Nicholas Wissinger, Utica, Mich., 1,434. 5, Darren Jones, Waldorf, Md./William Blaney III, Indian Head, Md., 1,424. 6, Charles Hall Jr., Elk Grove Village, Ill./Mike Thomka, Wood Dale, Ill., 1,416. 7, Brian Hoffman, Mount Horeb, Wis./Jay Heinzelman, Madison, Wis., 1,408. 8, James Augustine, Grand Forks, N.D./Ron Zutz, Warren, Minn., 1,402. 9, Steven Malik, Racine, Wis./Scott Kelnhofer, South Milwaukee, Wis., 1,397. 10, Tim Reinke/Darin Zanke, New Ulm, Minn., 1,393.

    1, Chip Aki, Nicholasville, Ky., 814. 2, Andrew Udahl, Elk Grove, Calif., 792. 3 (tie), Chad Gutzman, Mount Pleasant, Mich., and Robert Daugherty, Dayton, Ohio, 783. 5, Harry Banks Jr., Coal City, Ill., 782. 6, Ronnie Russell, Indianapolis, 780. 7, Justin Smith, Bluffton, S.C., 774. 8, Ted Pritts, Frisco, Texas, 773. 9, Michael Barron, Monroe, Mich., 770. 10, Hugh Miller, Mercer Island, Wash., 767.

    1, David Beres, Waukesha, Wis., 2,164. 2, Mike Shady, Fairview, Pa., 2,126. 3, Dede Davidson, Buellton, Calif., 2,118. 4, Mike Miller, Rio Rancho, N.M., 2,114. 5, Douglas Stone, Troy, Ohio, 2,107. 6, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis., 2,106. 7, Robert Spigner, Vernon Hills, Ill., 2,104. 8, Jeremy Sonnenfeld, Sioux Falls, S.D., 2,102. 9, Ronnie Russell, Indianapolis, 2,100. 10, David Ferguson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 2,096.

    Team All-Events
    1, Smith Barney 1 (Marc McDowell, Steve Richter, Jeff Richgels, Gail Myers Jr., Mike Shady), Madison, Wis., 10,040. 2, Tom's Rhinoplasty, Newton, Iowa, 9,764. 3, S & B Pro Shop 2, Troy, Mich., 9,762. 4, Team USA Support 5, Omaha, Neb., 9,755. 5, The BRD House 1, Dayton, Ohio, 9,723. 6, Lakeview Lanes, Fulton, N.Y., 9,676. 7, Vic Telemarketing 2, Westfield, Mass., 9,654. 8, MoRich Enterprises, Ocala, Fla., 9,652. 9, Team Dirty, Madison, Wis., 9,619. 10, Pins & Needles 2, Hemet, Calif., 9,587.


    1, Roberts Repair (Dave Schmidt, Jerry Roberts, Rich Bucheit, Rick Rambo, Felix Salinas Jr.), Pontiac, Ill., 2,845. 2, Pfeifer Printing, Champlin, Minn., 2,820. 3, Moeller Plastering, St. George, Utah, 2,747. 4, Winkeljohn Printing, Celina, Ohio, 2,743. 5, Galaxy-Dew's Crew, Kinston, N.C., 2,737. 6, Lake County Rollers 1, Clarissa, Minn., 2,719. 7, The Insurance Center 1, Valentine, Neb., 2,711. 8, Sportsman Bowling Club 3, Cerritos, Calif., 2,704. 9, Pla-Mor Lanes 4, Coldwater, Ohio, 2,702. 10, H & J Chevrolet, Kerman, Calif., 2,696.

    1, Larry Harvanko, Champlin, Minn./Brett Pfeifer, Minneapolis, 1,232. 2, Felix Fines/Paul Magaoay Jr., Sacramento, Calif., 1,230. 3, Michael DiPaolo, Eighty Four, Pa./Donald Hughes, West Newton, Pa., 1,186. 4 (tie), Frank Goff Jr./Issac Vidaurri, Kingsville, Texas, and Gary Noteboom, New Holland, S.D./Eric Noteboom, Valentine, Neb., 1,181. 6, John Bassi/Michael Malgrat, Key West, Fla., 1,174. 7, Jonathan Carter, Seven Springs, N.C./Freddie Marshall, Kinston, N.C., 1,173. 8, Ralph Johnson/Dave Dahl, Ada, Minn., 1,170. 9, Dave Engelkes, Arnolds Park, Iowa/Greg Rolling, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 1,167. 10, Emmanual Abaya, Pearl City, Hawaii/Ignacio Abaya, Aiea, Hawaii, 1,160.

    1, Lenny Boogaard, Osakis, Minn., 673. 2, Matt Klenke, Coldwater, Ohio, 671. 3, Ken Varner, Lexington, N.C., 664. 4, Rand Syverson, Onamia, Minn., 660. 5, Tim Frank, Hastings, Neb., 656. 6, Don Manhalter, Sterling, Colo., 652. 7, Robert Stephens, San Francisco, 650. 8, Joseph Paussa, Baldwinsville, N.Y., 649. 9, Glen Lupton, Tipp City, Ohio, 648. 10, Rita Kirkland, Spring, Texas, 647.

    1, Larry Harvanko, Champlin, Minn., 1,836. 2, Michael Tieden, Blaine, Minn., 1,809. 3, Van Vasquez, Longmont, Colo., 1,795. 4, Leroy Hayes, Cambridge, Neb., 1,794. 5, Frank Kostik, Ruffs Dale, Pa., 1,789. 6, Lenny Boogaard, Osakis, Minn., 1,779. 7, Anthony Kastle, Wilmington, N.C., 1,776. 8, Tate Ziglar, Lexington, N.C., 1,770. 9 (tie), Arthur Lewis, Oakland, Calif., and Mike Godfrey, Meade, Kan., 1,762.