Lots of Early Lead Changes at USBC Open

by Bob Johnson 0

The Regular Team lead changed hands five times over the past week at the USBC Open Championships, with Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 of Sartell, Minn., settling into the top spot with a 3358 total on Sunday.

Consistent games of 1128, 1124 and 1106 helped Breakpoint move just ahead of Towne and Country Lanes 1 of Hartland, Wis., which took over the No. 2 spot with 3328 several pairs away.

Rancho Bowl 1 of Lompoc, Calif., had set the bar earlier in the day with 3285.

Jeff Smith led Breakpoint with a 762 series, aided by Eric George (668), Barry Zimmerman (657), Justin Schiffler (645) and Greg McCullough (626).

“We really don’t have any expectations coming in, but I think this year everybody stayed in the same zone a lot longer than we have in the past, and it really seemed to help as we went along,” said McCullough, who made his 24th ABC/Open Championships appearance.

“Sometimes, this event is the only time we get to see each other, so it’s fun to get together. Obviously, when you’re bowling well, it makes it even better.”

Towne and Country Lanes 1 returned to the National Bowling Stadium on Monday and cruised into the top spot in Team All-Events with a 9766 total. Milwaukee’s Tony Buss led the charge with a 2016 all-events effort, and he was joined by Matt Zagar (2003), Dave Gajewski (1983), Robert Milbrath (1909) and Jerry Riemer (1855).

Other highlights of the week...

• Shannon Dins of Fitchburg, Wis., rolled the first perfect game of the 2013 tournament on Friday. The 38-year-old right-hander started his team event with a 191 game before firing 12 consecutive strikes to earn his place in tournament history. He finished his set with 153 for a 644 series. Dins added 640 in singles and 605 in doubles for an 1889 all-events total.

• Brandon Brilinski of Flint, Mich., took the Regular All-Events lead with a 2103 total yesterday. The 30-year-old right-hander had 739 in singles, 717 in doubles and 647 in team to move past Richard Thomas of Middleton, Wis., who previously held the lead with 2051.

• Syl Thiel of Lake City, Minn., and USBC Hall of Famer Bill Lillard of Houston will continue their marches toward history this week in Reno. Thiel is the active participation leader at the Open Championships, and will make his 68th tournament appearance on today at 3 p.m. Pacific. He is in pursuit of Bill Doehrman and USBC Hall of Famer Joe Norris, each of whom competed in 71 ABC/Open Championships. 

Lillard, an eight-time eagle winner and the event’s active pinfall leader, will compete for the 66th consecutive year. He will hit the lanes next Monday at 3 p.m. His 120,015 career pinfall total is 3,755 pins shy of Norris, who tops the list with 123,770.

Here’s a look at the leaders in the Regular Division...


1, Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 (Greg McCullough, Eric George, Justin Schiffler, Barry Zimmerman, Jeff Smith), Sartell, Minn., 3,358. 2, Towne and Country Lanes 1, Hartland, Wis., 3,328. 3, Rancho Bowl 1, Lompoc, Calif., 3,285. 4, Stars and Strikes 1, Channahon, Ill., 3,222. 5, ND Storm, Mandan, N.D., 3,197. 6, Team Dirty, Madison, Wis., 3,174. 7, Action Realty 2, Fargo, N.D., 3,152. 8, KK Bowling Services 1, Las Vegas, 3,120. 9, The Legend of Dung Ho, Cerritos, Calif., 3,114. 10, Aframe Awards 3, Grand Blanc, Mich., 3,104.


1, Derek Hartnell, Wichita, Kan./Scott Hartnell, Kenosha, Wis., 1,341. 2, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill./Rick Coy, Taylorville, Ill., 1,323. 3, Dave Gajewski, Oak Creek, Wis./Tony Buss, Milwaukee, 1,314. 4, James Gronwoldt/Mike Norby, LeRoy, Minn., 1,312. 5, Brian Shidler, Coldwater, Mich./Brent Ritchie, Madison, Wis., 1,303. 6, Steve Kenyon/Dan Knowlton, Dade City, Fla., 1,302.  7, Bo Johnson/Doug McHugh, Huron, S.D., 1,300. 8, Jason Link, Billings, Mont./Josh Link, Glendive, Mont., 1,297. 9, Kyle Taylor, Loveland, Colo./Scott Horvath, Windsor, Colo., 1,294. 10, James Skarhus, Rosemount, Minn./Zack Wilhelmi, Fargo, N.D., 1,292.


1, Greg Roberts, Oshkosh, Wis., 771. 2, Kris George, Las Vegas, 745. 3, Terry Fredrickson, Grand Island, Neb., 741. 4, Brandon Brilinski, Flint, Mich., 739. 5, Scott Salinas, Racine, Wis., 731. 6, Thomas Wolf, Bismarck, N.D., 728. 7, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 727. 8, Henry Dykeman, Pawling, N.Y., 722. 9, Robert Grexer, Lords Valley, Pa., 721. 10, Dan Knowlton, Dade City, Fla., 720.


1, Brandon Brilinski, Flint, Mich., 2,103. 2, Richard Thomas, Middleton, Wis., 2,051. 3, Steve Diederick, Wahpeton, N.D., 2,049. 4, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 2,038. 5, Kris George, Las Vegas, 2,033. 6, Justin Ward, Lexington, Ky., 2,031. 7, Kyle Taylor, Loveland, Colo., 2,025. 8, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 2,023. 9, Scott Salinas, Racine, Wis., 2,019. 10, Tony Buss, Milwaukee, 2,016.


1, Towne and Country Lanes 1 (Matt Zagar, Robert Milbrath, Dave Gajewski, Tony Buss, Jerry Riemer), Hartland, Wis., 9,766. 2, ND Storm, Mandan, N.D., 9,553. 3, Breakpoint Pro Shop 2, Sartell, Minn., 9,408. 4, Solid 9 Pro Shop 1, Taylorville, Ill., 9,336. 5, Team Dirty, Madison, Wis., 9,274. 6, Stars and Strikes 1, Channahon, Ill., 9,244. 7, KK Bowling Services 1, Las Vegas, 9,231. 8, Action Realty 2, Fargo, N.D., 9,123. 9, Dykeman's Farm, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., 9,119. 10, Action Realty, Fargo, N.D., 9,116.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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