Perseverance pays off at USBC Open Championships


    United States

    Hall of Famer Bill Lillard makes his 63rd consecutive championships appearance

    2010USBCOCRandallMontoyaAlanJohnson.jpgTraveling thousands of miles to compete at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships and not bowling as well as you're capable of can be disappointing, but putting it behind you and turning in a career-best performance the next day can be unforgettable.

    During team Sunday, Randall Montoya (pictured left) of Albuquerque, N.M., and Alan Johnson of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., each posted the lowest sets they've ever bowled on the tournament lanes, but made the right adjustments and found a way to strike during doubles and singles at the National Bowling Stadium on Monday.

    Montoya and his doubles partner, Kenneth Stephens (right) of Frankfort, Ky., proudly walked out of the Stadium as the Regular Doubles leaders, while Johnson is the owner of the 2010 event's first 299 game.

    After rolling a 440 series in team, Montoya simply changed the surface of his ball before doubles and bounced back with games of 246, 266 and 248 for 760 series, the highest of his tournament career. He ended the set with four strikes, which helped him and Stephens into the doubles lead with a 1,434 total.

    Stephens contributed games of 184, 234 and 256 for 674 as the duo passed Terry Hall of Rocklin, Calif., and Andrew Udahl of Elk Grove, Calif., who previously held the lead with 1,421.

    "Last night was the most humbling experience I've ever had on the lanes," said Montoya, a 46-year-old right-hander who made his 14th USBC Open Championships appearance. "I've never shot that low. Coming in today, my confidence wasn't the best, but I made the changes I had to, and it worked out. To go from what happened yesterday to what happened today feels amazing."

    Montoya and Stephens had no idea what the top doubles score was, but the reaction of the crowd gave them a clue that they might be close.

    "I knew every strike would help our score, and when I saw the first one leave his hand, I knew he had pured it," said Stephens, a 41-year-old left-hander who bowls regularly at Collins Bowling Centers-Eastland and made his 10th trip to the Open Championships. "Once it struck, I was cheering like a cheerleader. I still had no idea what was leading, but when I found out, my heart really started pumping. It took me a good five minutes to calm down."

    Stephens, who shot 544 in team, added a 600 series in singles and finished with a 1,818 all-events total. Montoya closed out with 615 in singles for 1,815.

    2010USBCOCAlanJohnson.jpgFor Johnson (pictured right), his 488 series in team was as confusing as it was disappointing.

    The 44-year-old southpaw came into this year's Open Championships throwing the ball well and was as confident as he's ever been, but for some reason, his thumb swelled up during team and he couldn't get out of the ball cleanly.

    "I was feeling good about this year because I finally had another lefty on the pair with me, and I thought we'd be able to break the lanes down together," said Johnson, who bowls at Surfside Lanes in Kenosha, Wis., and made his 14th tournament appearance. "I'm not sure what happened, but I didn't sleep last night because I was so frustrated. I've been bowling really well this year, so it was pretty disappointing."

    Johnson had his equipment worked on Monday morning and hit the lanes hoping to improve on the night before. He opened with the games of 217 and 233 before stringing together 11 consecutive strikes. His final offering crept high and a 6 pin stood between him and the fifth perfect game of the 2010 tournament.

    Johnson's 299 gave him a 749 doubles series, and he teamed up with Kenosha's William Valenti for a 1,340 total, placing them just outside of the top 10.

    "I've had 300s and 800s before, but shooting 299 here is by far my best accomplishment," said Johnson, who added 595 in singles for a career-best 1,832 all-events effort. "I was frustrated with the result, but I was happy I threw a good shot. Coming in tonight, I just wanted to do well enough to leave with some dignity. I come from an area with a lot of good bowlers, so to bowl well here once in a while feels good."


    Hall of Famer Bill Lillard adds to career pinfall total

    2010USBCOCBillLillard.jpgUSBC Hall of Famer Bill Lillard Sr. (pictured) of Houston made his 63rd consecutive USBC Open Championships appearance and added to his career pinfall total this week at the National Bowling Stadium.

    The 82-year-old right-hander is the tournament's active pinfall leader and second on the all-time list behind late hall of famer Joe Norris of San Diego, who toppled 123,770 pins in a record-tying 71 trips to the Open Championships. The late Bill Doehrman of Fort Wayne, Ind., also made 71 appearances.

    Lillard shot 604 in doubles, 543 in singles and 489 in team for a 1,636 all-events total Tuesday and increased his career total to 116,828. In 63 tournament appearances, the eight-time titlist has maintained a 199.7 career average.

    There are 11 members of the tournament's elite 100,000-Pin Club, and Anthony Malone of Erie, Pa., and Les Zikes of Palatine, Ill., are expected to join later this year.


    Minnesota bowlers take Classified Team lead

    2010USBCOCHuikkosBowlingCenter3.jpgHuikko's Bowling Center 3 (pictured) is part of an eight-team contingent from Buffalo, Minn., and left the National Bowling Stadium with bragging rights after taking the Classified Team lead Monday night.

    The group was consistent with games of 897, 922 and 911 for a 2,730 total. EWI/NPS/Denny's of Mentor, Ohio, previously held the lead with 2,699.

    "It feels good to be in the lead, but I'm a little surprised at the same time," said leadoff bowler Pam Strong. "You just hope that sometime you'll come out and do well, but we're really just here to have fun."

    Huikko's Bowling and Entertainment Center has 14 lanes, bar, game room, mini-golf, restaurant, banquet hall and volleyball, and each year, owner Les Huikko organizes the group that represents his center at the Open Championships.

    Although the teams are mixed and matched each year, most of the bowlers are familiar with each other because they bowl in the same leagues. That familiarity helped Huikko's Bowling Center 3 on the lanes Monday.

    "Sometimes, it's nice to get to bowl with different people, but because we all bowl league together, we're able to work together and help each other out," said Strong, who made her 10th tournament appearance. "This is just a great feeling, and we'll make sure everyone else in our group hears about it."

    Dale Bauman led the way for Huikko's Bowling Center 3 with a 612 series and was followed by Ronda Bauman (559), Jeanne Schmid (549), Strong (548) and Jeffrey Schmid (462).


    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, Rob Bailey's Pro Shop 1 (Terry Norton, Bruce Herreman, Scott Lindsey, Joel Carlson, Rob Bailey) Sun Prairie, Wis., 3,202. 2, Design Wizards, Mandan, N.D., 3,159. 3, Bluebird Lanes, Orland Park, Ill., 3,122. 4, Rob Bailey's Pro Shop 2, Sun Prairie, Wis., 3,102. 5, St. Charles Lanes, St. Charles, Mo., 3,085. 6, Central Saw and Mower, Racine, Wis., 3,081. 7, Bowlers Junction, Hemet, Calif., 3,080. 8, Capri Lanes, Dayton, Ohio, 3,073. 9 (tie), Strive To Be Average, Colorado Springs, Colo., and J&J Pro Shop, Mount Crawford, Va., 3,066.

    1, Kenneth Stephens, Frankfort, Ky./Randall Montoya, Albuquerque, N.M., 1,434. 2, Terry Hall, Rocklin, Calif./Andrew Udahl, Elk Grove, Calif., 1,421. 3, Mandy Wilson, Dayton, Ohio/Douglas Stone, Troy, Ohio, 1,419. 4 (tie), Jason Hale, Des Moines, Iowa/Matt Smith, Altoona, Iowa, and Lana Schwab, Lake Villa, Ill./Davey Rosen, Northbrook, Ill., 1,411. 6, Brian Salapatek, Cortland, Ill./Anthony Jovanovich, DeKalb, Ill., 1,379. 7, Tony Buss, Milwaukee/Dave Gajewski, Franklin, Wis., 1,366. 8, Mark Henrichs, Edgar, Wis./Jim Moore, Mosinee, Wis., 1,362. 9, Megan Kelly, Huber Heights, Ohio/Shannon Pluhowsky, Phoenix, 1,361. 10, Sean Mason, Brookings, S.D./Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 1,357.

    1, Barry Zimmerman, Grand Forks, N.D., 766. 2, George Kontos, Joliet, Ill., 760. 3, Larry Thompson Jr., Spring, Texas, 742. 4, Anthony Woollis, Lubbock, Texas, 740. 5, Hank Jordan, Lubbock, Texas, 739. 6, Tony Biondi, Orlando, Fla., 734. 7, Mike Kruse Jr., Vermillion, S.D., 731. 8 (tie), Steven Vance, Stone Mountain, Ga., and Troy Kendrick, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 729. 10, Ron Davis, Orland Park, Ill., 727.

    1, Shannon Pluhowsky, Phoenix, 2,083. 2 (tie), Matt Smith, Altoona, Iowa, and George Kontos Joliet, Ill., 2,073. 4, Mandy Wilson, Dayton, Ohio, 2,059. 5, Marty Lavigne, Temperance, Mich., 2,049. 6, Davey Rosen, Northbrook, Ill., 2,048. 7, Barry Zimmerman, Grand Forks, N.D., 2,044. 8 (tie), Ray Struck, Orland Park, Ill., and Andrew Udahl, Elk Grove, Calif., 2,023. 10, Robert Phillips, North Ridgeville, Ohio, 2,017.

    Team All-Events
    1, Bluebird Lanes (Dennis Campbell, Ron Davis, Michael Dugan, Robert Flaws, Ray Struck), Orland Park, Ill., 9,602. 2, Rob Bailey's Pro Shop 2, Sun Prairie, Wis., 9,450. 3, Sign Producers 1, Winter Garden, Fla., 9,341. 4, Team USA, St. Louis, 9,223. 5 (tie), Bowlers Junction, Hemet, Calif., and Pilat Design Elite, Auburn, N.Y., 9,214. 7, South Point Pro Shop, Antioch, Ill., 9,200. 8, Davy's Pics Com, Glenview, Ill., 9,180. 9, Capri Lanes, Dayton, Ohio, 9,171. 10, Super Bowl-Appleton, Kaukauna, Wis., 9,165.



    1, Huikko's Bowling Center 3 (Pam Strong, Ronda Bauman, Jeanne Schmid, Jeffrey Schmid, Dale Bauman), Buffalo, Minn., 2,730. 2, EWI/NPS/Denny's, Mentor, Ohio, 2,699. 3, Garden Center Lanes 2, Alexandria, Minn., 2,683. 4, Garden Center Lanes 3, Alexandria, Minn., 2,663. 5, Roadrunners, Las Cruces, N.M., 2,604. 6, Whitlow Furnace, Scobey, Mont., 2,602. 7, Garden Center Lanes 4, Alexandria, Minn., 2,600. 8, Stevens Seed, Clarion, Iowa, 2,594. 9, Who U Wit, Hayward, Calif., 2,578. 10 (tie), MN Select Sires 3, Fergus Falls, Minn., and Garden Center Lanes 6, Alexandria, Minn., 2,575.

    1, Tyson Sims/Scott Wilcox, Georgetown, Idaho, 1,182. 2, John Bishop/Dan Mosteller, Tooele, Utah, 1,175. 3, Pat Fitzgibbons, Colorado Springs, Colo./Pete Fitzgibbons, Goodland, Kan., 1,173. 4, Greg Allen/Stacey Bauer, Ogallala, Neb., 1,166. 5, Holly Ventura, Harwood Heights, Ill./Bob Zurek, River Grove, Ill., 1,149. 6, Delmar Brownell/Dale Brownell, Spearfish, S.D., 1,148. 7, Scott Werner, Overland Park, Kan./Mark Klyn, Pella, Iowa, 1,145. 8, Tyler Grabow, Twin Brooks, S.D./Gary Jensen, Benson, Minn., 1,144. 9 (tie), Terry Crowther/Monte Gebhardt, Roundup, Mont., and Richard Anderson, Julesburg, Colo./Dan Ford, Chappell, Neb., 1,141.

    1, David Garcez, Merced, Calif., 669. 2, Mark Plute, Montrose, Colo., 644. 3, Curt VanLaningham, Ogallala, Neb., 624. 4, Ryan Goettsch, Galva, Iowa, 618. 5, Flor Crowley, Oxnard, Calif., 611. 6, Preston Cheeks, Brooklyn, N.Y., 609. 7, Robb Waynick, Dunbridge, Ohio, 605. 8, Ryan Fritchen, Dakota Dunes, S.D., 604. 9, Ethan Buser, York, Pa., 601. 10, Mike Brevik, Des Moines, Iowa, 600.

    1, Richard Eisenhut, Downers Grove, Ill., 1,766. 2, Jake Acuna, Pocatello, Idaho, 1,736. 3, John Stolarski, Waterford, Mich., 1,733. 4, Tom Sellers, Barstow, Calif., 1,732. 5, Preston Cheeks, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1,721. 6, Doug Boleyn, Waterloo, Iowa, 1,719. 7, Ken Hoffman, Durand, Ill., 1,718. 8, Pat Fitzgibbons, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,712. 9, Flor Crowley, Oxnard, Calif., 1,705. 10 (tie), Ryan Goettsch, Galva, Iowa, and Kelly Aeikens, Benson, Minn., 1,702.