By Dennis Clark
The U.S. Open returned to the Hoosier state this week at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, with the nationally-televised finals (ESPN) scheduled for 12:30 p.m. today.
The U.S. Open has returned to Woodland Bowl after a 14-year absence, and three previous tournaments (1990, 1991, 1996) at this venue have created enduring memories through the years.
Two of the best?
n Nobody is likely to recall Pete Weber defeating Mark Thayer 289-184 in the 1991 U.S. Open. But many non-bowlers recall Weber dropping the winner’s trophy, a faux pass that’s been a regular on various sports blooper reels through the years.
n The men’s and women’s U.S. Open in 1996 were run side-by-side for the first time ever at Woodland Bowl, with the finals contested before a crowd of 1,600 at Market Square Arena.
The U.S. Open features the most entrants in a PBA Tour event (352 this year) and the bowling conditions are also the toughest of the season.
How tough you ask?
At Bethpage Black, a challenging golf course used in the PGA’s U.S. Open, a warning sign is posted at the first tee box, saying, “The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.”
This week’s U.S. Open in Indy features such a warning, “The U.S. Open Pattern features the toughest lane oil design in all of bowling. The U.S. Open condition is a ‘flat’ oil pattern with equal oil being placed on each board, gutter to gutter. Premium shotmaking and precision accuracy are required to conquer this difficult condition.”
If that’s not enough of a challenge, the four bowlers in today’s televised finals will have already bowled 51 games this week.
The entire field rolled 18 games, six each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in three different shifts at three different times of the day and night. The top 88 (top one-fourth of the field) survived the cut to the “cashers round”, bowling nine games starting at 9 a.m. on Friday.
The field was cut yet again to the top 24 for match play, eight games on Friday night, then two sets of eight games on Saturday. For the top 24, that means they bowled 33 games on Friday and Saturday.
So, it’s easy to see why just any bowler off the street has a near impossible task to crack the final four for today’s TV show. This year’s winner earns a $60,000 first prize and a three-year PBA Tour exemption.
• • •
• Local bowlers in U.S. Open — Local league bowler Austin Marsh competed in this year’s U.S. Open. Marsh, one of the rare two-handed bowlers, has bowled in several PBA Regional Tour events the last couple of years.
Marsh rolled an 18-game score of 3,475 (193.06 average) to finish 152nd in the field of 352 bowlers. His best score was 1,216 on Tuesday, followed by scores of 1,145 and 1,114 the next two days.
Aiden Fellows, a local junior bowler at the Terre Haute Bowling Center, competed in the U.S. Open pro-am event last Sunday.
• State finals — J.D. Pizzola (Terre Haute North) placed 10th and Adam Smith (South Vermillion) placed 12th in the Indiana High School Bowling State Finals on Feb. 20 at Cooper’s Sports Bowl in Anderson.
Pizzola had a three-game score of 574, while Smith had 562. A score of 628 was needed to achieve the top four for the stepladder finals.
Marty Porter (South Ripley) was the No. 1 seed with a score of 704, then defeated Luke Jeffers (Bloomington South) 212-143 in the championship game.
• Winter Olympics moment — If you’ve watched any televised coverage of the Winter Olympics the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely come across the sport of curling.
It’s probably related to my lengthy background in bowling, but one rule in curling keeps me from fully enjoying the sport. Am I the only person who cringes every time when the person delivering the stone slides across the “foul” line.?
Dennis Clark can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Vigo County Bowling Leagues
Terre Haute Bowling Center
Russ Fisher Truck Parts — High games: Tom Brown 279, Sweet 16 1,110. High series: Brown 724, Cinema Box Office Rehab 3,071.
ANG Mixed — High games: Bryan Salmond 244, Jodi Moan 244, Hair Gallery 756. High series: Salmond 701, Moan 614, Hair Gallery 2,158. (Previous week) High games: Craig Rudisel 246, Marsha Marcum 201, Hair Gallery 710. High series: John Chapman 662, Marcum 538, Big Dogs 2,011.
Savannah’s Trophy House — High games: Dallas Bowler 300, Jan Sparrow 211, Savannah’s Trophy 771. High series: Darryl Pine 707, Laura Hayworth 529, Schrader Well 2,158.
THBC Minors — High games: RIchie Fields 134, Rachael Goekler 107. High series: Fields 372, Goekler 284.
Wednesday Prime Timers — High games: Jay Scamihorn 267, Jean Liggett 182. High series: Scamihorn 638, Liggett 508.
Guarantee Roofing — High games: Ryan Nichols 279, Bowling Ball Garage 1,182. High series: Bryan Barton 744, Bowling Ball Garage 3,337.
Nancy’s Song Bird Karaoke — High games: Carol Davis 254, Savannah’s Trophy House 824. High series: Davis 649, Savannah’s Trophy House 2,382.
Monday Prime Timers — High games: Guy Belzile 236, Pat Kays 222. High series: Jay Scamihorn 639, Kays 592.
Wabash Valley Christian — High games: Larry Collier 258, Peggy McCarty 184, Central Christian II 761. High series: Collier 682, Martha Stearley 463, Central Christian II 2,128.
THBC Majors — High games: Rodney Lockman and Ian Bartlett 236, Mack Pepper 221. High series: Lockman 608, Pepper 607.
Savannah’s Trophy House — High games: Karen Prettyman 257, UR Up 861. High series: Prettyman 682, UR Up 2,487.
Chandler Construction — High games: J.C. Dressler 279, Misty Chandler 246, Lucky Strikes 988. High series: Dressler 727, Chandler 690, Spare Me and Ten in the Pit 2,896.
Art Compton — High games: Jeri Russell and Misty Chandler 245, Family Affair 938. High series: Russell 677, Family Affair 2,763.
Thursday Seniors — High games: Herb Gosnell 233, Pat Stewart 201, Cobras 782. High series: Woody Ferris 581, Barbara Hills 547, Cobras 2,156.
Bell Welding — High games: Gary Young 279, Diana Heubel 193, Nina’s Tavern 970. High series: Brian Clouse 700, Heubel 546, Vigo Bowl Pro Shop 2,870.
Eagles Mixed — High games: Ron Leon Pharris 278, Crystal Sullivan 235, Hangover’s 801. High series: John Young 731, Melissa Troxel 629, Thunderstruck 2,220.
Monday Mixed Bush — High games: Larry Hatfield 279, Mandy Wilkins and Lori Fugate 269, Carmichael Exhaust 1,177. High series: Brandy Leturgez 782, Wilkins 714, Carmichael Exhaust 3,273.
Distributor’s Terminal — High games: Laura Danforth 222, Gutter Gals 662. High series: Danforth 563, Gutter Gals 1,890.
DeBaun Funeral Homes — High games: Charlie Pender 190, Mary Patterson 158, Drop Dead Freds 542. High series: Pender 538, Patterson 434, Drop Dead Freds 1,592.
Vigo Bowl Wednesday Youth — High games: Jacob Sedletzeck 277, Brooke Lynch 210, Abel 582. High series: Sedletzeck 653, Sara Sebring 524, JD and Cam R Cool 1,570. (Previous week) High games: Eli Perry 278, Amanda Perry 207, JD & Cam R Cool 684. High series: Cameron Frye 653, A.Perry 596, Abel 1,728.
Davison Service and Equipment — High games: John Michael Fugate 276, Remax 1,097. High series: Chris Drake 736, Sturgeon’s Farm II 3,135.
The Bush Men — High games: Ryan Hayes 288, Maurizio’s Pizza 1,150. High series: Brian Britton 757, Maurizio’s Pizza 3,197.
Baesler’s Market Senior — High games: Gary Busiere 278, Sue Chandler 225, 3 Queens and a Joker 790. High series: David Moore 710, Chandler 613, 3 Queens and a Joker 2,283.
School Staff — High games: Matt Lugar 278, Karla Smith 199, Low Rollers 739. High series: Lugar 814, Merri Farrar 495, Low Rollers 2,068.
Vigo Bowl Seniors — High games: Caleb Bruce 232, Brooke Lynch 223, eam 1 880. High series: Bruce 647, Sara Shepherd 532, Team 1 2,510.
Vigo Bowl Juniors — High games: C.J. Brooks 207, Lacey Cooksey 203, Team 3 734. High series: Brooks 560, Cooksey 488, Team 3 2,135.
Vigo Bowl Preps — High games: Brendon Cooper 141, Erica Ornduff 143, Skittles 518. High series: William Fields 359, Bailee Poore 357, The Pin Eaters 1,466.
Vigo Bowl Bantams — High games: Logan Thomson 84, Kylar Hiddle 90, Dark Dragons 262. High series: Thomson 144, Morgan Adams 148, Dark Dragons 504.
Mic’s Pics — High games: Laura Leturgez 209, Vigo Bowl 553. High series: Leturgez 529, Vigo Bowl 1,478.
Lami Craft — High games: Jennifer Hanley 212, Lami Craft 895. High series: Ann Barnes 566, Lami Craft 2,530.
CBM Monday Mixed — High games: Jim Shepherd 278, LaDonna Singleton 221, Chico’s Bail Bonds 845. High series: Shepherd 704, Singleton 617.
Archie’s Tuesday Men — High games: Larry Knight 280, Bud/Crock 1,145. High series: Darrell Davis 737.
Tuesday Ladies — High games: Phyllis Grover 197, Go Getters 290. High series: Grover 504.
Kirby Risk Wednesday — High games: Jason Hiddle 276, Mysti Fisher 277, Sandcut Tavern 1,165. High series: Hiddle 753, Fisher 701.
Al’s Sports Bar Thursday Mixed — High games: Adam Morely 259, LaDonna Singleton 244, Fluffy Pillows 1,015. High series: Jeremy Pruiett 655, Mysti Fisher 666.
Elks Thursday Men — High games: Cody Moore 267, Molar Bowlers 990. High series: Moore 748.
Layton Refrigeration Mixed — High games: Chuck Ross 274, Janie Martin 266, Crazy Eights 828. High series: Brad Smith 671, Martin 667, Crazy Eights 2,382.