With the very important qualifiers that the tournament has just begun and I have yet to bowl on it, the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships team pattern is looking very similar to the 2011 pattern.
And the USBC guru who designs the patterns says that as well — more on that down in this blog.
In the first webcast of the 2013 tournament, The Legend of Dung Ho of Cerritos, Calif. grabbed the team lead with 3,114 on games of 969, 1,023 and 1,122 on Thursday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno.
The team’s two left-handers — Douglas Svela (620) and Vayle Floria (571) — appeared to have a nice look going fairly straight up 5-board to a little bit inside that, while the three right-handers — John Mongillo (703), Michael Villarreal (683) and Scott Poddig (537) — broke them down nicely starting fairly straight outside 10-board and never appeared to get inside 15-board.
In their big last game, it looked like the righties had developed some push and some miss room right.
And if they could it with just three righties and without a top level cross team, imagine what two good teams might do?
“The most important aspects are our teamwork and communication,” Poddig, who led Cal-State Fullerton to a national collegiate championship in 1989, said in this USBC news release. “We know each other’s games, and we talk a lot. It’s always nice to get together as a group, and it makes it even nicer to be able to grind something out, so we can at least place.”
Last year, The Legend of Dung Ho led the team event early on, eventually finishing in the top 75, and managed a 12th-place finish in team all-events. This time, the group was without 1992 Regular All-Events champion Michael Tucker, but Villarreal was able to step in and calmly perform under pressure, USBC reported.
“They told me they usually do fairly well in the team event, so there was some pressure, especially with me subbing for a guy with an eagle,” Villarreal, whose only other Open Championships appearance came in 2007, said in the release. “I’m super relieved I didn’t let them down, and it’s even better to find out we’re actually in the lead.”
The next live webcast will be Sunday at 1 p.m. Central time as retired PBA touring pro Curtis Odom and his group compete in doubles and singles. The webcasts are at YouTube.com/BowlTV.
Perhaps the most valuable part of Thursday’s webcast was listening to USBC lane pattern designer Eric Pierson, who was on from about 45 minutes to 90 minutes into the show.
Pierson talked about the new Kegel Ice oil being used at the tournament, said this year’s team pattern was similar to 2011, discussed lane play and strategy, and predicted that 3,400 would not be enough to win a team eagle this year.
I’ve already seen some of my “Chicken Little” friends predicting multiple 3,500s, and perhaps this will be the year they are correct. Time will tell.
Pierson also revealed something I had not heard or seen previously: that the 900 Global side events lane pattern is similar in ratio to a USBC Blue pattern at 4.5-1 or softer and the new Kegel Fire oil is being used (the sister oil to Ice).
He also said Fire is being used for the USBC Women’s Championships.
Pierson also goes into detail on the patterns, the philosophy behind them, and the Ice oil on Above180.com here. He also discusses strategy and how to set up the patterns for practice at your home center.
I continue to receive information that the hubub about Ice is much ado about not much.
I talked to early all-events leader Rick Thomas at league on Thursday night and he said he would not even have known it was a different oil if he hadn’t learned that ahead of bowling last weekend. He said the team pattern broke down fairly slowly, but that his group moved a lot in minors.
And Iowa’s Shane Stark sent me a Facebook message after his team shot 3,009 on Thursday.
“We tried to break down around 6 in warmups,” Stark said. “Had 7 righties on the pair. Did a good job, shot 1,033 1st and in the 3rd frame of 2nd game the transition started. We all tried to ‘ball down’ and looking back we should of just moved left with same ball. ... The middle held up well and we didnt end with anyone left of 15. Left a lot of pins out there cause we made wrong decision ... could of had at least 200 more than that. We ‘over thought’ it and should of just moved left. Looking back, they weren’t hard at all ... but like always carry at the Stadium is questionable.”