Monday, January 18, 2010

Earl Anthony Memorial Classic

First, I want to apologize for my lack of blogging. I hope to keep my blog more current now that the PBA tour is back in action.

So, let's talk about this past week and the demanding lane conditions at the Earl Anthony Memorial Classic...

Fortunately for me, this year the PBA Tour opened up the second half of the season in Dublin, Calif. So that meant a 6 hour drive up to Northern California as opposed to another plane trip. To break up the monotony of making the same boring drive up the center of California, my fiancee and I choose to take the scenic and much LONGER route up Hwy 1.

If you've never had the opportunity to travel up or down the coast of California via Hwy 1, it's definitely a trip you want to take some time in your life. Much of the journey is up steep cliffs, 20 mph turns, but the view is absolutely gorgeous - huge cliffs right alongside crashing waves from the ocean. We made a few stops along the way. We first drove around Morro Bay and saw the HUGE rock protruding out of the ground around the bay and into the ocean. We also stopped at an elephant seal safe haven and saw the magnificent creatures lying on the beach, flopping around on the sand and playing in the water. The amazing part was that little elephant seal pups had been born not that long ago, so there were numerous baby seals on the beach nursing from their mothers. We also managed to stop at an inlet that takes you on a small hike to a gorgeous waterfall and then finally made it into Dublin, Calif. after passing Monterey Bay and the 17 mile drive of Pebble Beach.

Well, last year when we competed on the grueling Earl Anthony lane condition in Medford, Oregon, it proved to be challenging, but nothing compares to how the pattern played this year at Dublin Bowl.

I have had the pleasure of bowling in some PBA regional tournaments at Dublin Bowl in the past, and there was always one common denominator - the lanes were always HARD! The conditions, no matter what pattern was put out, always relied on repeating shots - making good first shots and picking up your spares. So with the combination of a tough pattern combined with a naturally tough bowling center, I knew we were going to be in for a grind out shot. And that was saying it mildly!

With this tournament being the first full blown tour stop that I had competed in since the World Series of Bowling, I was concerned about my leg holding up through the entire event.

In the off season, I spent most of my 3 1/2 months rehabbing my leg and working out on a bike, trying to recover from a pulled groin muscle at the Women's U.S. Open in August. I bowled a few tournaments, one of which I re-hurt my leg at in October. So after injuring my leg again, I decided to stick with more rehab and less bowling. I finally started throwing the ball like my old self only one week before the Earl Anthony Memorial Classic. Although I didn't get in much practice, I still felt really good throwing the ball and was pretty confident that I would bowl well at the Tour Stop, having success at Dublin Bowl in the past.

However, my assumption proved to be wrong as carry problems combined with a tough tough pattern just didn't match up for me this week.

The first day, I shot -81 for 7 games and that was one of the most grueling days of bowling for me. I actually bowled really well, but couldn't seem to knock the 10 pin down. Then every little mistake was multiplied as I would split or leave a washout for barely missing the target or throwing the ball a little slower or harder. So when you split once or twice a game and can't seem to get a double, that's going to make for some low scores. We've all been there.

So I made some surface adjustments and was ready to start striking the next day. Well, the next day I didn't really throw the ball that well. I struck a little more when I did hit the pocket, but I just wasn't throwing the ball consistently well the entire day. And on a pattern like the Earl Anthony pattern, you can't afford to have one of those days. So I ended up shooting -102 for the day and ended up in 14th at -183 overall. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've shot that much in the negative, but I know I wasn't the only one.

However despite the low scores, I did have one very BIG positive out of the week. I bowled all 14 games and my leg never bothered me once. So that is great news! Now I can start to practice more and get geared up for the Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, Calif.

Til then...