Thursday, February 24, 2011

USBC Masters

Hello everyone!

After the PBA Tournament of Champions, I decided to skip the Earl Anthony Memorial Classic in Dublin, California and competed in the USBC Masters at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.

During the practice session, I had a large variety of bowling balls that seemed to work well and I could play a variety of different lines. However, we all know (or should know) that the lanes aren't necessarily going to play the same the next day during competition, so I kept an open mind but had a very positive outlook going into qualifying. I knew I was throwing the ball well physically and everything seemed to be matching up, which is always a bonus.

Now the format for this tournament is rather difficult due to the fact that you only have a total of 10 games - two 5-game blocks, to figure out the lanes and make it to the casher's round. This leaves little room for mistakes or a bad game. With the lower amount of entries into the tournament, the casher's round was cut to the top 65. Then another 5 game block was bowled to cut to the top 63 bowlers, plus last year's defending champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. Then the tournament really began with head-to-head 3-game total pinfall matches, in a double elimination style format.

I bowled on B squad and therefore was able to watch all of my competitors on A squad prior to my start. The lanes were also not re-oiled inbetween squads, so it was very important to watch where everyone was playing on the lanes and especially where everyone was ending up on the lanes towards the end of the block.

After watching, I was pretty confident that it was going to be a good day...So...we started bowling. I had a great look with my polished Bank and shot 208 the first game with a slam 9 pin and pocket 7-10 inbetween strikes and a ring 10 pin in the 10th frame. Then I shot 196 and 202 and decided that although I could hit the pocket well, maybe I should try some different bowling balls to see if I could up my carry. So I switched to the AMF Shred-It. I had a great game going and could strike out for 248. I needed to make a move in the 10th frame, so I did and through it exactly where I wanted to and left an untimely pocket 7-10, to only shot a disappointing 215. My last game I then started out with a pocket 4-9 and later in the game through another pocket 7-10. I ended up bailing out the game, striking out from the 8 frame for a 204 game to end the block and be at +25 for day. Not bad, but very disappointing since my ONLY opens for the entire block were four pocket 7-10s and a pocket 4-9.

However, I was definitely within striking distance of the cut number and would be bowling on the fresh condition the next day. So after a good night's rest and a few surface adjustments to some equipment (I sanded my Bank Pearl to 2000 and my Black Break to 4000), I was ready for a day of good bowling.

However, my day didn't turn out according to plan. I started out shooting 201, but then caught an awful pair and shot a 175. I switched balls, using my 900 Global Profit and shot 225. Needing a couple of big games, the lanes began to transition a bit and alongside that, I still had my carry problem and couldn't get my ball to quite see the lanes correctly, so I shot a 187 and then needed a 250+ game to make it. I threw the ball well, but then another pocket 7-10 stood in my way early on in the game and locked me out of making the cut. So I ended with a 171 game.

All in all I was pleased with how I physically executed. I bowled well and just couldn't quite get lined up well to score.

Until next time...