Texas bowler reaches top spot at USBC Open Championships


    United States

    2010USBCOCLarryThompson.jpgLarry Thompson Jr. (pictured left) of Spring, Texas, may be small in stature, but he had no trouble reaching the top of the leaderboard at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Sunday.

    The 5-foot-7-inch right-hander fired games of 215, 248 and 279 at the National Bowling Stadium and moved into the top spot in Regular Singles with a 742 series. Steven Vance of Stone Mountain, Ga., previously held the lead with 729.

    Thompson added 610 in team and 603 in doubles for a 1,955 all-events total, which puts him in second place in Regular All-Events, and teamed up with Craig Diver to move into a tie for third place in Regular Doubles with 1,267.

    William Banks of Laurel Hill, N.C., leads all-events with 1,986, while Mitch Bakies of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Mark Wolford of West Liberty, Ohio, lead doubles with 1,323.

    "I had a bunch of friends watching on the Web cams," said Thompson, who bowls regularly at The Woodlands and made his fourth USBC Open Championships appearance. "I couldn't do it without their support."

    Thompson belongs to a group of bowlers who refer to themselves as the "Texas Midgets," which makes reference to their home state and lack of height. The four bowlers have collected accolades across Texas, and all Thompson wanted to do was make them proud.

    The 32-year-old had his best look of the day on his singles pair and used his knowledge, and lessons he learned during doubles, to his advantage.

    "On my singles pair, I had four or five boards to the right to go back and square up a little bit compared to the doubles pair," Thompson said. "I eventually made a move left, which allowed me to control the ball on the backend. I made an adjustment about every four or five frames so the ball could stay clean through the front part of the lanes and to get some early roll."

    Despite a couple of splits that left him just short of the all-events lead, Thompson is satisfied with his overall performance and how far he's come since making his Open Championships debut at the 2007 event, also at the Stadium.

    "My first event in Reno, I learned a lot because I didn't really know how to play the lanes," said Thompson, who shot 1,842 in his debut. "After the event, I went back home and began to bowl really well. I was able to learn more about equipment by making adjustments here and there to understand it better, which ultimately led to me being able to make better shots as a bowler."


    Ohio bowlers take Regular Doubles lead

    2010USBCOCMarkWolfordandMitchBakies.jpgMark Wolford of West Liberty, Ohio, and Mitch Bakies of Reynoldsburg, Ohio (pictured l-r), have been friends for as long as they can remember and used that familiarity to roll into the Regular Doubles lead at the USBC Open Championships on Sunday.

    The 27-year-old right-handers have developed a knack for reading each other's emotions on the lanes, and that chemistry showed as they teamed up to shoot 1,323 at the National Bowling Stadium. Jim Larsen of Racine, Wis., and Butch Luther of Franksville, Wis., previously held the lead with 1,294.

    Wolford led the pair with games of 223, 246 and 212 for a 681 series, while Bakies added 199, 230 and 213 for a 642 set.

    Wolford, who bowls league at Southwest Bowl in Urbana, Ohio, and made his fourth Open Championships appearance, hoped to post big scores in 2010, but also wanted to relive a memory from the 2009 Open Championships in Las Vegas. During his team event at Cashman Center last year, Wolford rolled his first 300 game on the tournament lanes. He was one of 34 bowlers to reach perfection during the 2009 event.

    Bakies added 608 in team and 573 in singles for a 1,823 all-events total. Wolford finished with 557 in team and 551 in singles for 1,789.

    "I'm not sure if our score will hold up, but this is awesome no matter what," said Bakies, who bowls at Al-Mar Lanes in Bowling Green, Ohio, and competed at the Open Championships for the third time. "Mark and I are childhood friends, so to share this together is priceless. It's such a large event on bowling's biggest stage, so having the chance to lead, even if it's just for a day, is a very humbling experience for both of us."


    2010USBCOCLogo_small.jpg Presenting sponsors for the 2010 USBC Open Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado and Silver Legacy Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Sands Regency Casino Hotel, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, UPS, Nationwide Insurance, Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa, Harrah's Reno Casino and Hotel and Peppermill Hotel Casino.


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    107th USBC Open Championships

    National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., United States (Feb. 20 - July 5, 2010)


    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfalls


    1, Pandorum (Leigh Trostel, Darin Belsito, Settee Johnson, Mark McClung, Justin Gibbons), Buford, Ga., 3,063. 2, CMS Concrete 2, Nashua, N.H., 3,049. 3, Pita Uno, Shakopee, Minn., 3,023. 4, Macanudos, Auburn, Ga., 2,961. 5, Dr. Hooks Pro Shop, Kalamazoo, Mich., 2,928. 6, Bountiful Gardens, Hamlet, N.C., 2,926. 7, Wammes Appraisal, Bowling Green, Ohio, 2,912. 8, TEXA Tonka Lanes-GRN1, Minneapolis, 2,900. 9, Fourinox, Green Bay, Wis., 2,897. 10, On Strike, Castalia, Ohio, 2,896.

    1, Mitch Bakies, Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Mark Wolford, West Liberty, Ohio, 1,323. 2, Jim Larsen, Racine, Wis./Butch Luther, Franksville, Wis., 1,294. 3 (tie), Steve Stone, Kenosha, Wis./Gary Wolf, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Craig Diver/Larry Thompson Jr., Spring, Texas, 1,267. 5, Patrick Kramer/Alan Higueros, Chicago, 1,263. 6, Gary Perry, Mount Airy, Md./Brian Polcari, Annapolis, Md., 1,258. 7, Larry Pratt, Raymore, Mo./Greg Benefield, Lee's Summit, Mo., 1,255. 8, Scott Hartnell/Derek Hartnell, Kenosha, Wis., 1,251. 9, Terry Vaughn, Dunkirk, Ind./Josh Wooten, Muncie, Ind., 1,240. 10, Gene Ennis, Mathis, Texas/Chris Jones, Knoxville, Tenn., 1,239.

    1, Larry Thompson Jr., Spring, Texas, 742. 2, Steven Vance, Stone Mountain, Ga., 729. 3, Steve Blanchet, Lawrence, Mass., 715. 4, Darin Belsito, Oakwood, Ga., 705. 5, Anthony Crews, Sebring, Fla., 695. 6, Michael Burch, Germantown, Md., 687. 7 (tie), Joseph Demartini, Mt. Sinai, N.Y., and Dan Smith, Lawrenceville, Ga., 685. 9, John Gibbons, Atlanta, 682. 10, Robert Baldwin, State College, Pa., 681.

    1, William Banks, Laurel Hill, N.C., 1,986. 2, Larry Thompson Jr., Spring, Texas, 1,955. 3, Justin Gibbons, Lawrenceville, Ga., 1,939. 4, Steve Blanchet, Lawrence, Mass., 1,920. 5, Steven Vance, Stone Mountain, Ga., 1,913. 6, Brandon Martin, Ardmore, Okla., 1,899. 7, Dan Smith, Lawrenceville, Ga., 1,897. 8, Gary Schluchter, Fremont, Ohio, 1,893. 9, Kevin Reinhardt, Schaumburg, Ill., 1,889. 10 (tie), Russell Michaud, Hudson, N.H., and Jason Sincavage, State College, Pa., 1,880.

    Team All-Events
    1, Big Dogs 2, (Doug Vergouven, James Kent Jr., Jim Anderson, Larry Pratt, Greg Benefield), Lee's Summit, Mo., 8,857. 2, Pandorum, Buford, Ga., 8,852. 3 (tie), Macanudos, Auburn, Ga. and CMS Concrete 2, Nashua, N.H., 8,809. 5, Seliga's Pro Shop, Kenosha, Wis., 8,731. 6, Dr. Hooks Pro Shop, Kalamazoo, Mich., 8,680. 7, Wammes Appraisal, Bowling Green, Ohio, 8,670. 8, Bountiful Gardens, Hamlet, N.C., 8,668. 9, Pita Uno, Shakopee, Minn., 8,586. 10, Al Mar Pro Shop, Bowling Green, Ohio, 8,532.



    1, Stuart Bowl 3 (Brian Allsup, Julie Wahman, Jeff Henderson, Gregg Wahman, Gregg Wahman, Jr.), Stuart, Iowa, 2,573. 2, 3 Jokers & 2 Queens, Buford, Ga., 2,536. 3, Stuart Bowl Pro Shop, Stuart, Iowa, 2,519. 4, Golden Gate Bowling Club 3, San Francisco, 2,516. 5, Bowl Mor Lanes, Streator, Ill., 2,476. 6, Hoops, Salisbury, Md., 2,472. 7, Stuart Bowl 1, Stuart, Iowa, 2,466. 8, Steel City Strikers, Eighty Four, P.A., 2,458. 9 (tie), Fairbault Food, Cokato, Minn., and West Side Cafe, Streator, Ill., 2,451.

    1, Holly Ventura, Harwood Heights, Ill./Bob Zurek, River Grove, Ill., 1,149. 2, Scott Werner, Overland Park, Kan./Mark Klyn, Pella, Iowa, 1,145. 3, Kevin Jenkins/George Haney, Incline Village, Nev., 1,138. 4, Christine and Stephen Stewart, South Elgin, Ill., 1,098. 5, Kevin Mitchell/Robert Stephens, San Francisco, 1,088. 6, James Kinney/Casey Clark, Canyon Country, Calif., 1,081. 7, Charles Horstmann, Howard Lake, Minn./Jesse Carlson, Belle Plaine, Minn., 1,079. 8, Joseph Reilly/Mark Richardson, State College, Pa., 1,073. 9, Al Alvord, Arcadia, Fla./Dave Otte, Luckey, Ohio, 1,069. 10, Gary Hagemann/Ann Horstmann, Howard Lake, Minn., 1,066.

    1, Ryan Goettsch, Galva, Iowa, 618. 2, Julie Wahman, Dexter, Iowa, 591. 3, Randy Baucom, Des Moines, Wash., 581. 4, Shannon Burks, Rio Rancho, N.M., 571. 5 (tie), Lee Baird, Brownwood, Texas, Larry Grafreed, Chicago, and Dale Hixson, Ewing, Neb., 570. 8, John Proby, Tacoma, Wash., 568. 9, Jessica Morrow, Red Wing, Minn., 567. 10 (tie), Daniel Phillips, Payette, Idaho, Rodney Jantzi, Shelton, Neb., and Tom Norris, Allison, Park, Pa., 564..

    1, Ryan Goettsch, Galva, Iowa, 1,702. 2, Nick Petri Jr., Bolivar, Mo., 1,679. 3, Lee Baird, Brownwood, Texas, 1,648. 4, Steve Wade, Waco, Texas, 1,615. 5, Terry Gruchalla, Jamestown, N.D., 1,605. 6, Joel Olson, Greenfield, Iowa, 1,601. 7, Dale Hixson, Ewing, Neb., 1,594. 8, Kevin Mitchell, San Francisco, 1,591. 9, John Albaugh, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,586. 10, Jesse Downing, Kenosha, Wis., 1,578.