The strikes came in bunches at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Friday night.
The headliners were a man who is becoming known as Mr. Open Championships in his debut year with one of the greatest teams in tournament history, and a relative unknown player and team that nearly set a tournament record.
The latter was Chris Dunham of Indianapolis, who closed with a 300 game for a 722 series as his DV8 Indianapolis team finished with a 1,261 game for a 3,206 series, USBC reported.
Nicholas J's Pro Shop 2 of La Crosse, Wis., leads with 3,401.
The 1,261 is the highest game in the tournament this year and sixth-highest ever, just 20 pins behind the record 1,281 our Turbo 2-N-1 Grips 1 team set last year on the way to the team title.
Chris Curry added a 256-584 for DV8 Indianapolis, Mike Bankert 245-676, Lou Franzetti 234-632, and Michael Lisch 226-593.
“This feels pretty good," Dunham said in this USBC news release. "It really means a lot to me. It means more because of the guys I come with. They've taught me a lot, and I'm sure they will teach me more. They've been coming for more than 20 years. I am very proud of every single one of these guys. To shoot 1,261 is awesome. I'm speechless.
"Since I started bowling on Sport patterns, I haven't shot 300 in about four or five years. This means that much more to me. I had shoulder surgery in February, and I haven't been real confident in my game. I haven't been able to bowl a lot and haven't been bowling well, so this really means a great deal to me. I'm excited."
Mr. Open Championships is Matt McNiel, the Minnesota lefty who has dominated the Open Championships the past couple of years and this year joined the great Linds Lakers group out of Minnesota.
I’ve heard a few comments to the effect that there is no shot on the left side this year in Baton Rouge, even though lefty Hugh Miller and Adam Barta led the doubles for weeks before falling into second.
McNiel further disproved that with 792 (257-279-256), the highest series in team event this year, leading Linds Lakers 1, the 2002 and 2006 team all-events champs, into fifth in team with 3,278 (1,065-1,127-1,086)
Sam Lantto added 681, USBC Hall of Famer Todd Savoy 612, John Eiss 602, and Luke Voaklander 591.
Cross team Linds Lakers 2 totaled 3,158 (995-1,068-1,095).
McNiel won the all-events in 2010 with a record 2,326, then finished third with 2,241 last year.
“Man, I honestly could not believe how everything comes together when I walk down that aisle,” McNiel said in a Facebook message Saturday morning.
That is an understatement! It's almost unfathomable.
“I threw it pretty ugly the last two days at the BTM and during our practice on the showcase lanes," McNiel said. "I told (USBC’s Matt) Cannizzaro, if I shoot 690 I will be absolutely thrilled.”
McNiel said he and the other two lefties on the pair — Chuck Vashaw and Dave Hoppenrath — “broke them down sweet in practice. I used my 900 Global Bank Roll, which is probably 2-3 boards more ball than my Break Out, which just did not give me the shape I wanted.
“My teammates though made it possible for me. The thing about the Lakers is everyone sticks to the plan, we all play as a team for the team. I felt so comfortable on the lanes with those guys. That’s why this team has the all the titles they do, because everyone supports each other, stays loose, and most importantly, we always make sure we have fun out there.”
McNiel, who bowls minor events at 11:30 p.m., wanted to thank Eric Thomas at 900 Global, and Lauren Gdula at Turbo 2-N-1 Grips.