ARLINGTON, Texas - The United States Bowling Congress and the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America will introduce a special direct-qualifier program for the 2018 U.S. Open, which will be held at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, the organizations announced Thursday.
The operation of the U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Open is a collaborative effort by USBC and BPAA and jointly funded by the two organizations. The 2018 U.S. Open will take place Oct. 24-31.
The direct-entry program for the 2018 tournament will give 10 BPAA bowling centers across the country the opportunity to host a qualifying event, from which one bowler can earn a spot in the U.S. Open field.
The centers will be able to determine the format, provided it includes at least nine games and is contested on a Sport Bowling-compliant lane condition. Direct qualifiers for the 2018 U.S. Open must be held between Nov. 1, 2017 and May 1, 2018.
The host centers for the direct qualifiers for the 2018 event will be:
* Lucky Strike Lanes, Malone, N.Y.
* Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
* Buffaloe Lanes Mebane, Mebane, N.C.
* Gaudé Lanes Bowling Center, Biloxi, Miss.
* Sparetime Lanes, Decatur, Ill.
* May City Bowl, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
* International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas
* Golden Pin Lanes, Tucson, Ariz.
Please contact the centers directly for additional information. Two additional centers will be announced at a later date.
"We're looking forward to getting some of our centers involved in the U.S. Open and the new format, which we feel really has added even more prestige to a great event," BPAA President Nancy Schenk said. "Bowlers at the grassroots level from coast to coast will have a chance to join the select field, and we can't wait to see the response to these qualifiers."
The U.S. Open is a premier event for 144 of the best bowlers in the world, and Northrock Lanes already has been the backdrop for many great moments in recent bowling history.
The center has been home to the Intercollegiate Team and Intercollegiate Singles Championships and welcomed the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour. It also is scheduled to host the USBC Women's Championships in 2019.
"Wichita has a great local bowling community that will be excited and very welcoming to the competitors," said United States Bowling Congress President Frank Wilkinson. "As we build on the tradition of the U.S. Open, we're thankful to have Northrock Lanes and the Wichita community continue to play a vital role in professional bowling."
The 2017 U.S. Open, which introduces the new invitation-only format, is set for Oct. 25-Nov. 1 at the 40-lane Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, New York.
The U.S. Open is revered for its challenging lane conditions and long format that includes 24 games of qualifying, an eight-game cashers' round and 24 games of round-robin match play, before the field is cut to the top five for the traditional stepladder finals.
The invitation-only field brings together the money leaders from the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and the top performers at a variety of USBC and international events, including the World Bowling Tour, Masters, USBC Open Championships, ISC sectional qualifiers and Junior Gold Championships.
Additional spots are awarded to the Team USA men and Junior Team USA boys, past U.S. Open winners and PBA regional leaders. An on-site qualifier (PTQ) each year will help complete the field.
For more information on the U.S. Open, visit BOWL.com/USOpen.