SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Kurt Pilon of Warren, Michigan, may be known as a bit of a jokester, but when it's time to perform on the lanes, the 45-year-old right-hander is all business.
The 24-time United States Bowling Congress Open Championships participant headlined the list of 33 champions at the 2018 event, where he claimed the Regular All-Events title with a 2,186 nine-game tally and helped Warren's S&B Pro Shop 1 to the Regular Team title with a 3,322 total on games of 1,019, 1,213 and 1,090. The group bowled March 28, the fifth day of the 107-day tournament.
The wins mark the second and third of Pilon's career, with the first coming in Regular Team in 1997.
He led the team effort this year at the Oncenter Convention Center with a 763 series and was joined by Marcus McClain (698), Ryan Mouw (664), Bill Orlikowski (606), who also picked up his third USBC Open Championships title, and Andrew Burke (591).
Pilon, a past member of Team USA (1998) and a Professional Bowlers Association Tour titlist (2001), averaged nearly 243 over his nine games this year in Syracuse, adding sets of 752 in doubles and 671 in singles, to give him the highest all-events total on the tournament lanes since 2015.
"When we left, we were happy with how we bowled, but since it was so early, we didn't know how good of a number it was overall," Pilon said. "I never would've thought that 20 years after winning an Eagle, I'd be able to win two more. The whole experience has been great, and our entire group is really excited. We were open-minded on the lanes, let everyone be as aggressive as they wanted to and play their own games and we really just saw things well and communicated well the entire time."
Not far behind Pilon in the all-events standings, fourth overall, was former Team USA member AJ Chapman of St. Paul, Minnesota, who teamed with 33-time Open Championships participant Richard Eighme of Waterloo, Iowa, to lead Regular Doubles at the Oncenter Convention Center with a 1,457 total.
The two opened with a 553 game, which included a 296 effort from Eighme, and added 435 and 469 to set the bar May 14. Chapman, a 24-year-old right-hander and five-time tournament participant, led the performance with a 737 series, and Eighme, a 50-year-old right-hander, posted a 720 series.
"I probably was more nervous watching the scores after we left than I was when we were actually bowling," said Chapman, who added sets of 735 in singles and 675 in team for a 2,147 all-events total. "I don't think it really has sunk in yet, but it's pretty sweet. People bowl in this tournament their whole lives and never win, so to have an Eagle at 24 is very special."
The 2018 Regular Singles title was earned with the lone 800 series of the year, tossed by right-hander Cotie Holbek of Burlington, Wisconsin, now 25 years old.
Holbek made his second visit to the Open Championships, first since 2015, and rolled games of 278, 278 and 246 for an 802 series April 23.
"After getting home and thinking about it all a little more, of course I would've liked the final frame back, but I'm ecstatic to know now that it was enough after all," Holbek said. "The whole last weekend, we were watching the scores quite a bit. During the final squads, we actually were at the (Milwaukee) Brewers game, and I think I watched the live scoring more than I watched the baseball game."
Taking the top spot in Team All-Events was a long time coming for the members of Red Carpet Lanes of Greenfield, Wisconsin, who finally can call themselves Eagle winners after many close calls over the years. They earned that right with a 10,252 total at the Oncenter Convention Center.
The Team All-Events title is determined by combining the nine-game all-events totals of all five team members.
Red Carpet Lanes' latest addition, David Labinski, led the effort in the Salt City with a 2,129 all-events total, which was ninth in Regular All-Events.
Ken Duffield, who is one of 35 players in tournament history with a 300 game and 800 series at the event, added 2,111 and was followed by Dave Beres (2,065), former Junior Team USA member Chris Pierson (1,991) and Chad Maas (1,956).
The quintet finished fourth in Regular Team, but it was an incredible surge in doubles and singles May 5, where they averaged 227 and 237, respectively, that helped them past early leader, S&B Pro Shop 1, by more than 500 pins. The 2018 Regular Team champions ended up just outside the top 10 in Team All-Events.
"This is something we've worked toward for a long time, with some close calls, so it definitely feels like a weight has been lifted," said Beres, team captain for Red Carpet Lanes. "We knew when we left we'd put up a good number based on the teams that already had bowled, but we still were cautiously optimistic. As the tournament went on, we started feeling even better about our score. We're just really excited right now."
The second year of the tournament's Standard Division, for individual bowlers with entering averages of 181-209, doubles pairs with combined entering averages of 361-418 and teams between 901-1,045, also featured its fair share of excitement.
In the team event, Tracy Anderson of Prospect Heights, Illinois, became the second bowler in history with titles at the Open Championships and USBC Women's Championships, the world's largest participatory sporting event for women.
The 2011 Diamond Team and 2013 Scratch Team champion at the Women's Championships helped The Bowlers ER Tres of Des Plaines, Illinois, to the Standard Team win at the 2018 Open Championships with a 2,843 effort May 29.
Anderson, who joins USBC Hall of Famer Wendy Macpherson on the elite list, contributed a 544 series to the winning-effort this year at the Oncenter Convention Center. Anderson was joined by Jason Intravaia (639), Daniel Luncsford (613), Bill Shaw (536) and Jannard Remo (511). The group put together games of 921, 975 and 947.
The young Standard Division got its first tie, as well, as twin brothers Michael and Jeffrey Krywcum of nearby Buffalo, New York, shared the top spot in Standard Doubles with longtime friends Chad Green and Chad Queen of Athens, Tennessee, with matching 1,203 totals.
The Krywcums, 29-year-old right-handers, posted the score to beat May 27, with Michael leading the way with a 640 series. Jeffrey added 563.
Green and Queen attacked the lanes from opposite sides and grabbed a share of the lead June 23.
Green, a 31-year-old left-hander, led the way in his fifth tournament appearance with a 616 series, while Queen, 32-year-old right-hander also visiting the Open Championships for the fifth time, contributed a 587 set.
In Standard Singles, 54-year-old Ted Rybialek of South Elgin, Illinois, delivered a must-have strike to start his final frame May 18 and then toppled the 6 and 10 pins from the 3-6-10 combination to inch into the lead by a single pin.
The right-hander, making his fifth Open Championships appearance, finished with games of 215, 263 and 229 for a 707 series, the highest individual series in two years of Standard competition. It was just the second set of his tournament career above 600.
Alex Houston, a 30-year-old right-hander from Rochester, Minnesota, celebrated 10 years of Open Championships competition by posting the highest Standard All-Events total of the year, a 1,855 effort that included sets of 686 in singles, 612 in team and 557 in doubles April 6-7. His singles series was fourth overall.
The list of leaders this year in the Classified Division, for individual bowlers with entering averages of 180 and below, doubles tandems with combined entering averages of 360 and below and teams entering at 900 and below, was an eclectic mix, too.
The 2018 Classified Team trophies will be headed west to Oceanside, California, as the ultimate souvenirs for the vacationing members of Team "Beav," who made their first trip to the Empire State a memorable one.
The group posted games of 807, 798 and 844 en route to a 2,449 total June 14.
Maurice Anderson led the way for Team "Beav" with a 529 series and was followed by Vanessa Beaver (504), Victoria Beaver (483), Leonard Beaver (480) and Bermadel Hagen (453). Together, the five have combined for 19 appearances at the Open Championships.
In Classified Doubles, Edward Cotter and Jessica Archer of Portland, Maine, overcame a slow start June 1 to take the top spot in the standings with a 1,116 total.
Cotter, a 30-year-old right-hander, led the way with games of 128, 223 and 233 for a 584 series, while Archer, a 28-year-old right-hander, added 148, 182 and 202 for a 532 total.
Both players delivered in the final frame, as Cotter connected for a pair of strikes, and Archer converted a 10 pin to move to the top of the leaderboard.
The Classified Singles Eagle will be flying overseas to Jochen Rehbein of Lindenfels, Germany, whose first appearance at the Open Championships since 2009, and eighth overall, ended with games of 231, 201 and 190 for a 622 series May 17, the highest of his tournament career.
Finally, first-time participant Isaac Wake of Versailles, Indiana, heeded the advice of his coach, USBC Hall of Famer and Open Championships titlist Ron Pollard Sr., and enjoyed a very successful trip to Syracuse in 2018.
Wake, now 18, will add his own name to the tournament record book as the 2018 Classified All-Events winner. His debut included sets of 605 in team, 602 in singles and 547 in doubles for a 1,754 total.
The young right-hander also finished his visit to the Salt City atop the 209 & Under Singles standings at the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC with a 683 total.
The Bowlers Journal Championships, held in conjunction with the world's largest participatory sporting event for the 72nd time, featured the same oil pattern used for doubles and singles at the Open Championships.
The 2018 Open Championships got underway at the Oncenter Convention Center on March 24.
During the 107-day run, there were 13 perfect games, 11 299s and two 298s, while 19 additional bowlers rolled 11 consecutive strikes.
Additional highlights included 13 bowlers entering the event's 50-Year Club and three new members of the 60-Year Club, while Minnesota's Maynard Johnson became the 12th participant to reach 65 years of Open Championships participation.
USBC Hall of Famer Gordy Baer of Tinley Park, Illinois, became the 21st member of the 100,000-Pin Club, and Joseph Pursel Jr. of Hellertown, Pennsylvania, one of the new members of the 60-Year Club, also reached 100,000 pins in Syracuse.
In early April, the one-of-a-kind 48-lane tournament venue played host to the USBC Masters, the first time the two events shared a staged since 2011. Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan, earned the 2018 Masters title, live on ESPN.
In 2019, the Open Championships will return to the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas. It will be the tournament's fourth trip to the Entertainment Capital of the World.
For more information on the Open Championships, visit BOWL.com/OpenChamp.
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2018 USBC OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Oncenter Convention Center
(Division leaders with hometown and pinfall)
(Combined averages of 1,046 and above)
1, S&B Pro Shop 1 (Bill Orlikowski, Andrew Burke, Marcus McClain, Ryan Mouw, Kurt Pilon), Warren, Mich., 3,322. 2, Higgy's Aquarium, Westerville, Ohio, 3,300. 3, The Locker Guy 1, Owatonna, Minn., 3,279. 4, Red Carpet Lanes, Greenfield, Wis., 3,277. 5, Lodge Lanes Too, Orlando, Fla., 3,248. 6, Team NABR, Fairport, N.Y., 3,217. 7, Shox City, Lawrence, Kan., 3,216. 8, 4 Revs & 1 Cripple, Ontario, Canada, 3,213. 9, The Shim Reapers, Franklin, Wis., 3,206. 10, #TeamWhenYo, Rochester, N.Y., 3,190.
(Combined averages of 419 and above)
1, Richard Eighme, Waterloo, Iowa/AJ Chapman, St. Paul, Minn., 1,457. 2, Alex Ouellette, Linwood, Mich./Justin Neiman, Macomb, Mich., 1,456. 3, Ryan Stubblefield, St. Charles, Mo./Bryan Hahlen, Greenwood, S.C., 1,454. 4, Steve Kloempken, Pleasant View, Utah/David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,453. 5, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo./Ronnie Fujita, El Sobrante, Calif., 1,443. 6, Francois Louw, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa/Michael Mak, Hong Kong, 1,437. 7, Brandon Martin, Derby, Kan./Roger Petrin, Wichita, Kan., 1,429. 8, Matt Tomsu/Jay Watts, Omaha, Neb., 1,421. 9, Mitchell Katic, Kissimmee, Fla./Tyler James, Deltona, Fla., 1,416. 10, Dan Chambers/Steven Nava, Hopkins, Minn., 1,412.
(Averages of 210 and above)
1, Cotie Holbek, Burlington, Wis., 802. 2, Chris Hill, Franklin, Wis., 795. 3, Brenden Sramek, Bellevue, Neb., 790. 4, Rick Justice, Lawton, Okla., 786. 5, Michael Fitzgerald, Phoenix, 785. 6, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 784. 7, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 781. 8, Trevor Roberts, Crystal River, Fla., 773. 9, Rameses Chambers, Kansas City, Mo., 771. 10, Chad Oachs, Mankato, Minn., 770.
(Averages of 210 and above)
1, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 2,186. 2, Josh Johnson, Callahan, Fla., 2,181. 3, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 2,164. 4, AJ Chapman, St. Paul, Minn., 2,147. 5(tie), Jonathan Schalow, Evansville, Wis., and Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 2,146. 7, Francois Louw, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, 2,131. 8, Russ Wilson, Lawrence, Kan., 2,130. 9, David Labinski, South Milwaukee, Wis., 2,129. 10, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 2,124.
(Combined all-events totals of all five team members)
1, Red Carpet Lanes (Christopher Pierson, David Labinski, Ken Duffield, Chad Maas, David Beres), Greenfield, Wis., 10,252. 2, Higgy's Aquarium, Westerville, Ohio, 10,011 3, Lawn Lanes 8, Burbank, Ill., 10,006. 4, Brian Brazeau Pro Shop, Ocala, Fla., 9,959. 5, One & Done, O'Fallon, Mo., 9,932. 6, Maxxx Revs Pro Shop 1, Peoria, Ill., 9,882. 7, Shox City, Lawrence, Kan., 9,805. 8, StormEBI, Cincinnati, 9,772. 9, #TeamWhenYo, Rochester, N.Y., 9,741. 10, Team NABR, Fairport, N.Y., 9,735.
(Combined averages of 901-1,045)
1, The Bowlers ER Tres (Tracy Anderson, Jason, Intravaia, Jannard Remo, Bill Shaw, Daniel Luncsford), Des Plaines, Ill., 2,843. 2, AJ's Boys & Grandkids, Sparta, Mich., 2,735. 3, Dooley's, Woodbridge, N.J., 2,730. 4, Mel's Diner, Calmar, Iowa, 2,720. 5, Pla-Mor Lanes 5, Coldwater, Ohio, 2,719. 6, Manassas VA Team 3, Manassas, Va., 2,718. 7, Eastman, Jonesborough, Tenn., 2,717. 8, R&G Ag. 2, Grand Forks, N.D., 2,708. 9, Let's Roll, Simpsonville, S.C., 2,704. 10, Pollard's Bowl 5/Volidco, Versailles, Ind., 2,703.
(Combined averages of 361-418)
1(tie), Jeffrey Krywcum/Michael Krywcum, Buffalo, N.Y., and Chad Green/Chad Queen, Athens, Tenn., 1,203. 3, Thomas Dutkiewicz/Stacey Browe, Kentwood, Mich., 1,200. 4, David Stettnichs, Madison, S.D./Aaron Stettnichs, Rock Rapids, Iowa, 1,192. 5, Geoffrey Raasch/Darrell Raasch, Houston, 1,189. 6, Brian Hall, Blaine, Minn./Robert Pfeifer, Coon Rapids, Minn., 1,188. 7, Jack LittleRaven, Clinton, Okla./Stephen Kelley, Moore, Okla., 1,186. 8, Joseph Ortega/Richard Ciessau, Chicago, 1,174. 9, Ed Sauer/Thomas Shea, Billings, Mont., 1,172. 10, Mark Pifer, Covington, Va./Jerry Byer, Eagle Rock, Va., 1,171.
(Averages of 181-209)
1, Ted Rybialek, South Elgin, Ill., 707. 2, Rob Pierson, Miles City, Mont., 706. 3, Neil Vitale, Benton Harbor, Mich., 694. 4, Alex Houston, Rochester, Minn., 686. 5, Lauren Pixley, Modesto, Calif., 678. 6, Robert Tuchek, Alliance, Neb., 667. 7(tie), Kevin Cotterman, Sidney, Ohio, and Dawn Lienhop, Deland, Fla., 666. 9(tie), Wendy Inscho, Roseville, Mich., and Sheldon Fettig, Killdeer, N.D., 657.
(Averages of 181-209)
1, Alex Houston, Rochester, Minn., 1,855. 2, Quentin Daniels, Hyattsville, Md., 1,835. 3, Jesse Gibson, Vincennes, Ind., 1,822. 4, Tyrone Brewington, Goldsboro, N.C., 1,811. 5, Joseph Stapert, West Jordan, Utah, 1,806. 6, Steve Kuykendall, Oakland, Calif., 1,800. 7, Mike Menge, Cleveland, 1,798. 8, Jorge Acurero, Taylorsville, Utah, 1,797. 9, Jon Lee, Alexandria, Minn., 1,795. 10, John Albrecht, Oak Creek, Wis., 1,794.
(Combined averages of 900 and below)
1, Team "Beav" (Bermadel Hagen, Victoria Beaver, Leonard Beaver, Vanessa Beaver, Maurice Anderson), Oceanside, Calif., 2,449. 2, Really???, Katy, Texas, 2,414. 3, Fiesta Bowl 2, Hanover Park, Ill., 2,409. 4, NYC Rollers in Motion, Bronx, N.Y., 2,399. 5, 2 Legit 2 Split, Mount Ayr, Iowa, 2,386. 6, Silver Bullets, Palm Coast, Fla., 2,381. 7, Bowling World 7, Owens Cross Roads, Ala., 2,340. 8, Knights and More, Aiken, S.C., 2,338. 9, Sarge's Pin Killers 9, Las Cruces, N.M., 2,336. 10, OSNM 1, South Holland, Ill., 2,334.
(Combined averages of 360 and below)
1, Jessica Archer, Portland, Maine/Edward Cotter, Levant, Maine, 1,116. 2, Adam Valentinas, Palos Park, Ill./Daniel Hartmont, Orland Park, Ill., 1,097. 3, Robert Johnson, Stansbury Park, Utah/Kenneth Poulsen, West Valley City, Utah, 1,082. 4, Jennifer Geimer, Miami Shores, Fla./Doug Romanik, Miami, 1,077. 5, Larry Pizzini, Boerne, Texas/Woodrow Gearhart, San Antonio, 1,073. 6, Norman Bentley/Richard Stone, Hoosick Falls, N.Y., 1,072. 7, LaVerne Ashley, Yonkers, N.Y./Dwayne Redman, Bronx, N.Y., 1,064. 8, James Pfeiffer, Camanche, Iowa/Randall Prokopec, Wauconda, Ill., 1,063. 9, Cody Warriner Chateaugay, N.Y./Roger Wilcox, Brainardsville, N.Y., 1,061. 10, Jennifer Pitti, Lakeland, Calif./Mike Lee, Los Angeles, 1,059.
(Averages of 180 and below)
1, Jochen Rehbein, Lindenfels, Germany, 622. 2, Juan Cavazos, Clinton, Iowa, 617. 3, Miriam Beckles, Ajax, Ontario, Canada, 611. 4, Larry Roundtree, Lakeland, Fla., 608. 5, Jeannie Hockenberry, Natrona Heights, Pa., 604. 6(tie), Isaac Wake, Versailles, Ind., and Darren Robitaille, Grove, Okla., 602. 8, Rocky Martin, Enosburg Falls, Vt., 597. 9, Joe Rybialek, South Elgin, Ill., 594. 10, Eva Smerecki, Norristown, Pa., 592.
(Averages of 180 and below)
1, Isaac Wake, Versailles, Ind., 1,754. 2, Jochen Rehbein, Lindenfels, Germany, 1,718. 3, William Michalski, Syracuse, N.Y., 1,693. 4(tie), Joe Rybialek, South Elgin, Ill., and Pat Anderson, Cut Bank, Mont., 1,656. 6, Billy Nagengast, West Point, Neb., 1,641. 7, Francisco Pina, Bakersfield, Calif., 1,628. 8, Bryon Monnier, Brandt, S.D., 1,627. 9(tie), Esau Hernandez, Kissimmee, Fla., Jeannette Anderson, Burns, Wyo., and Juanita Holt, Bronx, N.Y., 1,614.