JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 11:00 am
Note: The original version of this story posted on Sept. 13, 2018.
The Greater Iowa Bowling Association 11thFrame.com Open at Cherry Lanes inside the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, Iowa, is moving a week later to Aug. 16-18 in 2019.
The tournament was Aug. 10-12 in 2018, but GIBA administrator Joe Engelkes has a family conflict the second weekend of August in 2019. And Cherry Lanes doesn't want to tie up the center for a weekend after the third weekend of August, so we need to avoid being later than that.
The dates put us in conflict with the New Mexico Open and a PBA Tour Summer Tour tournament in Delaware, but that presents a conflict for just a handful of players who typically compete in the 11thFrame.com Open.
The weekend again will feature a Friday sweeper, and the tournament Saturday and Sunday featuring a maximum field of 156 entries that almost certainly will sell out. The formats have not changed from 2018 and are detailed lower in this story. The tournament's Facebook event page is here.
Cherry Lanes General Manager Bob Hochrein already has secured a deal for rooms at the nearby Holiday Inn for $85 per night. Go here to reserve a room at the tournament rate, and do so as soon as possible to avoid having the hotel sell out.
We have been using the 2015 U.S. Open lane pattern as our base pattern since 2016 and are doing so again this year.
Our goals always include not losing control of the lane (no excessive lofting) with 12 games on Sunday, as much equity as possible between left-handers and right-handers (the hardest thing to achieve in bowling), and a tough pattern with a relatively low scoring pace, though we gladly would accept a slightly higher scoring pace than preferred if it meant satisfying the first two things.
In 2016, the scoring pace was low (cut 1,196 and cash 1,191 for six games) but the left-handers really had it tough after dominating in 2015, with none making the top five.
In 2017, a different oil led to higher scores with no change in the pattern (cut 1,293 and cash 1,287), but still tough times for lefties: only Kyle Anderson made the top 48, though he made adjustments and with a big rally on Sunday finished 11th.
In 2018, a tweak of the pattern produced lower scores (cut 1,214, cash 1,208) and a decided advantage for lefties, who went 2-3-4 in qualifying and finished 3-5-6.
For 2019, we have left the left side unchanged and tweaked the right side so the shot outside 5-board has slightly less hang, which hopefully will provide more equity between the sides and should mean slightly higher cut and cash scores, probably closer to 2017.
I went down on Wednesday, Aug. 7 and bowled on Hochrein's modification of the pattern and found it to have slightly better reaction from the outside, though it was from easy, with 2-10 combinations still easy to leave. If right-handers mostly play to the outside and break the pattern down "correctly," the right side should play similar to the left. (Keep in mind that I am 57 and a shell of the bowler I once was.)
As always with anything I attach my name and brand to, there will be transparency in the most impactful thing in our sport — the opposite of the philosophy of our misguided governing body.
The 2019 pattern data is attached to the bottom of this story as a 3-page PDF. It is 43.5 feet, with 33.67 mL of oil and ratios at 13 feet of 1.9-1 on the left side and 1.7-1 on the right, at 25 feet 2.1-1 and 2-1, and at 36 feet 2.5-1 and 2.2-1, if I am reading the Brunswick sheets correctly (my experience is mostly with Kegel).
The 2018 pattern, with different data graphics and also posted at the bottom of the story as a PDF, was 43.5 feet and featured 37.58 mL of oil and main ratios of 1.43-1 on the left side and 1.66-1 on the right side.
All of the $150 tournament entry fee for every player still will go to the prize fund, which again should have more than $5,000 in added money counting the sweeper, which will have $1,000 in added money from the Sports Commission.
The only way to reserve a spot and make a squad and crossing bowler(s) request will be to pay the entry fee. Send your $150 check made out to GIBA to GIBA, c/o Joe Engelkes, 1805 Quail Ridge Road, Cedar Falls, IA 50613. He can be reached at 319-260-1356 or 319-269-6909 or email@example.com. PayPal also can be used to enter.
Update Aug. 14: Engelkes reported that the tournament is full, but that his waiting list now is empty, with some players pulling out and others from the waiting list filling those spots. That also means if you want to get in you may be able to. In addition, Engelkes says he has more than 40 players signed up for the sweeper on Friday.
The only extra fee entrants must pay is the GIBA $10 season membership fee, and that gets you the right to compete in other GIBA events.
Flyers for the tournament and sweeper are attached to the bottom of this story as PDFs.
The sweeper, which replaced the practice session in 2016, starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, and features a simple format of five games with total pins determining finishing position. The entry fee will be $40, with $30 to the prize fund and $10 to lineage. The cashing ratio will be 1-in-4 with a first prize of $400 based on 60 entries. GIBA will run the sweeper.
If you can't make the tournament Saturday and Sunday, you still can enter the sweeper on Friday night.
Saturday’s qualifying again will feature 6-game qualifying squads at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with pins carrying over and one-third of the bowlers advancing to Sunday and cashing. With three squads full, there will be a 156-bowler field, 48 players advancing and four more cashing.
Re-entries will be allowed on B and C squads, with priority given to first entries in this way: New entries will have priority if they are paid before Saturday. Re-entries will come next if they are paid before Saturday. For those paid on Saturday, new entries will get priority over re-entries up to half an hour before the final two squads’ scheduled start time, then it will be first come, first served until the squads start.
As is GIBA policy, bowlers can request to bowl with specific bowlers but lane assignments for pairs will be by random draw.
Sunday’s innovative format that comes from the fertile mind of Mike Flanagan features 12 games of bowling starting at 9 a.m. with bonus pins based on score from highest to lowest. For example, if 48 advance to Sunday in each game the highest scorer will get 48 bonus pins, the second-highest scorer 47 pins, so on down to 1 bonus pin for the lowest score each game. Whatever number of finalists there are, that number of bonus pins will go to the high scorer down to 1 pin for the lowest score each game.
Yes, it’s not head-to-head; instead, it’s all-against-one. The idea is to reward the consistently solid bowler and not the one who may bowl the right people at the right time. And everyone who makes the cut gets to bowl all of Sunday's games.
After those 12 games, the top five will compete in a stepladder finals on fresh oil.
There will be optional prize funds for seniors and women similar to the Fusions, along with brackets and pot games. And there will be a SMART option for youth bowlers, as GIBA offers with the Fusions.
Seniors and women each are guaranteed a 1-in-3 cashing ratio paying at least $150 per check. For example, if 15 seniors enter and two cash in the regular prize list there would be three separate senior checks so five cash.
There also will be brackets, pot games and a Bet You Win pot.
And a separate $20 entry fee for a separate additional prize fund likely will be offered for both seniors and women — this is not noted on the flyer.
With 156 entries, the top five spots will be $2,700, $2,200, $1,700, $1,300 and $1,000, down to $190 for the last four checks.
If additional sponsorship is obtained, it will be used to pay extra spots, senior and/or female checks, or improve the overall prize list.
My 11thFrame.com sponsorship again will be $400 that goes directly into the prize fund for the tournament. Diamond Jo in turn will take $400 of its sponsorship and turn it into 10 $40 free slot play cards for a fun post-qualifying drawing for non-cashers only.
As soon as the final standings are determined, we will draw 10 numbers representing all the non-cashing positions. If there are ties in the standings, the higher position goes to the player with the higher game. The bowlers who finished in those positions will get the free slot play — if they have a Diamond Jo player’s card and are present when their names are called. If a winner is under 21, I will take the free slot play and pay the youth $40 out of my pocket.
This encourages people to get Diamond Jo player’s cards, stick around or return if they bowl early, and gives something back to non-cashers that they might be able to turn into some significant money as if they made the cut. That happened in 2017 when one of the non-cashers who won the free slot play won a jackpot of several hundred dollars.
All we ask of competitors and fans is to patronize the sponsors who help make this such a great tournament: drink Coors Light if you have a beer, eat and gamble at Cherry Lanes and the Diamond Jo, stay overnight in Dubuque, and patronize Storm Products and Logo Infusion if you can. And, yes, please subscribe to 11thFrame.com!
If you do gamble, please get a player’s card and use it! This is VERY important to continue the tournament and sponsorship! (The Diamond Jo is part of Boyd Gaming, so whenever you are in a city with a choice in gambling facilities and one is a Boyd property, you could patronize the Boyd property and let them know why.)
And please thank Hochrein and everyone else at the center and the Diamond Jo. Hochrein is a USBC Open Championships Eagle winner and PBA regional title holder who cares about the sport and manages a top notch staff.
Logo Infusion is offering a 20 percent discount on jerseys ordered using the code GIBA19 through the end of the year, GIBA administrator Joe Engelkes said, adding that "Continued sponsorship from Logo Infusion will be based on the use of this discount code so if you are in need of a new jersey, please use this code when you place an order"
As usual, Engelkes and his family are taking no expense fee for running the tournament, which again will be a points tournament in GIBA’s schedule for 2019-20. All the Engelkes ever do is take a portion of the bracket proceeds while donating the rest back to the prize funds.
Joe is one of the top tournament operators I know and I couldn’t think of a better guy and group to run the 11thframe.com Open.
The GIBA is sponsored by EBI and we thank EBI for graciously allowing my Storm-sponsored tournament — I have been on Storm’s staff since 1996 — to be part of the GIBA schedule.
I plan to do some Facebook Live highlights and interviews on Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday impacted by whether I make the top 48. And we will Facebook Live the stepladder finals.