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Michigan team sets pace at 2018 USBC Open Championships


On the strength of a 1,213 effort in its second game, S & B Pro Shop 1 of Warren, Michigan, easily raised the bar in Regular Team at the 2018 United States Bowling Open Championships with a 3,322 performance Wednesday.

Led by a 763 series from 1997 Regular Team champion Kurt Pilon, S & B Pro Shop 1 rolled to the top of the standings, adding bookend scores of 1,019 and 1,090. Highland Lanes 1 of Westerville, Ohio, previously held the lead with 3,051, rolled during the opening squad of the 2018 event Saturday.

Pilon was joined at the Oncenter Convention Center in the effort by Marcus McClain (698), Ryan Mouw (664), two-time USBC Open Championships titlist Billy Orlikowski (606) and Andrew Burke (591).

Click here for the 2018 scores.

The group’s crossing team, S & B Shop 2, moved into second place in the Regular Team standings with a 3,102 total after games of 981, 1,040 and 1,081.

Matthew Anderson, who rolled a perfect game at the 2014 Open Championships, led S & B Shop 2 with a 681 series. Team USA’s Andrew Anderson was next with 673 and was followed by Brad Smyth (600), David Reaume (574) and Justin O’Hara (574).

The talented group of 10 kept their options open as they began their team event, and S & B Pro Shop 1 was able to take advantage of what it saw in Game 2, averaging better than 242.

“Because we didn’t have a chance to really watch too many other teams, we really tried to keep an open mind coming in,” said Pilon, who owns one Professional Bowlers Association Tour title.

“Straighter angles were a little too strong, so we opened up them up early. I really could see the picture the other guys were showing me, and once we got there, it really freed everybody up. I feel that’s a nice number any year, and I’m thinking we don’t have quite enough, but it’ll be nice to celebrate for tonight. Our guys did a great job of working together, and I’m most happy about that.”

The trip to Syracuse also served as a nice homecoming for Orlikowski, who captured the first of his two Eagles at the Oncenter Convention Center during the 1999 tournament. The 51-year-old right-hander fired a 299 game and 822 series in doubles to help Ottman Enterprises of Troy, Michigan, claim the Team All-Events title with a 9,919 total.

“There’s definitely a lot of good karma here in Syracuse,” said Orlikowski, who claimed his second Team All-Events title in 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “We actually bowled pretty early that year, too, and we were able to hang on through the rest of the tournament. Winning your first Eagle is incredibly special, and it’s great to be back and be back in the lead.”

The two-team group will look to set the pace in Team All-Events on Thursday as they hit the lanes for doubles and singles at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Teams competing in the Regular Division have combined entering averages of 1,046 and above.

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Herbert Bickel

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