2017 USBC Open Championships concludes in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Adam Barta of Girard, Ohio, hasn't slept much over the last three months, but he can rest easy now that the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships has come to a close with his team atop the standings in Regular Team and Team All-Events.

Team NABR's double-Eagle performance topped a list of many highlights during the 149-day event at the South Point Bowling Plaza, where the USBC Open Championships featured three divisions for the first time in nearly four decades.

More than 50,000 bowlers made their way to Las Vegas this year in search of Open Championships glory in team, doubles, singles, all-events and Team All-Events in three average-based divisions - Regular, Classified and the new Standard Division, which falls between the two.

All standings are unofficial and pending final verification.

Team NABR of Fairport, New York, took the lead in the team event during an emotional outing April 13, posting games of 1,023, 1,082 and 1,161 for a 3,266 total, but after a short, tear-filled celebration, team member Mike Rose Jr. headed to the airport to get home in time for his sister's memorial service.

Three members of the team bowled doubles and singles the next day as scheduled, leaving the group in a great position for Team All-Events, but it was more than three weeks before Rose and Scott Pohl could return to the South Point Bowling Plaza to finish the job of putting Team All-Events out of reach.

"I really feel like my sister was watching over our shoulders this whole time," said Rose, whose sister Shelly Rose Stein lost her battle with cancer April 12. "Without the rest of the guys there to help me get through this, I don't know how I could've made it through. I'll never look at them the same, and I don't know how I can express my appreciation. It all brought us closer together, and to hold on for two Eagles this year is incredible. It's something we'll always share."

Pohl, a former Team USA member who rolled a perfect game in the team event at the 2013 Open Championships, led the way for Team NABR in the team event this year with a 694 series. He was followed by first-year team member Anthony Pepe (675), Brian Waliczek (655), Barta (640) and Rose, the 2007 Regular All-Events champion (602).

Their 3,266 total is the lowest winning number since 1990, when two teams shared the title with 3,201. It also marks the second time Pohl, Barta, Waliczek and Rose have found success in the team event. They claimed the 2015 Regular Team title in El Paso, Texas, with Rob Gotchall of Clarksville, Tennessee.

In the overall effort this year, which made Team NABR the first quintet since 2009 to claim the top spot in Regular Team and Team All-Events in the same year, Waliczek led the way with a 2,051 all-events total and was followed by Barta (2,040), Pepe (2,010), Pohl (1,991) and Rose (1,865) for a 9,957 total.

As the rest of the more than 10,000 teams made their way through the Bowling Plaza, Barta spent countless hours and restless nights watching live scoring and tracking top performers through their nine games of Open Championships competition. The relief that comes with the event concluding almost is indescribable.

"After a few years of showing we could compete, we were able to win for the first time, and to now hang on for two more Eagles is an indescribable feeling," said Barta, who also rolled one of five 299 games this year en route to a seventh-place finish in Regular Singles with a 776 series. "With the late hours of checking and tracking scores, everyone thought I was nuts, but it definitely was entertaining and worth watching. It was more stressful than I ever thought it would be, but totally worth it. However, I'm glad it's finally over."

HattoriCoffey_637This year's Regular Doubles leaders didn't have long to wait to see if their 1,478 total was enough to hold on.

Zachary Hattori of Henderson, Nevada, and Michael Coffey of Melbourne, Florida, grabbed the top spot July 15 with just one doubles and singles squad remaining in the 2017 event.

Hattori, a 24-year-old right-hander, led the charge with games of 248, 289 and 279 for an 816 series, the fourth 800 of the 2017 Open Championships, and first in doubles.

Coffey, a 22-year-old right-hander and the 2015-2016 National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Player of the Year while at Lindenwood University, added 231, 227 and 204 for a 662 series.

"I never anticipated something like this happening so early in my tournament career, but this is really cool," said Hattori, who made his third Open Championships appearance. "I always hoped that someday I'd be on a team that would give it a run, but to happen like this is amazing. I didn't have the best look in singles after, but for those three games of doubles, everything was perfect for me."

In Regular Singles, senior standout Ron Jacobson of Jupiter, Florida, rolled nine consecutive strikes in his final game June 25 to sneak into the lead with an 804 series, the first time he'd surpassed the 700 mark in 14 trips to the Open Championships.

The 56-year-old right-hander finished with games of 269, 258 and 277 and moved past Matt Gasn of Clarksville, Tennessee, and Steve De Kerf of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, who had shared the top spot for nearly three months with 802, rolled March 25 and March 31, respectively.062517-Ron-Jacobson

"I've been bowling for 50 years, and, at 56, I didn't think this would ever happen," Jacobson said. "It was a much different wait than I expected, because I didn't plan on paying attention with everything I had going on at work. Every single morning, though, I looked at the leaderboard. Every day, when I knew singles was starting, I opened up the live scoring. I'm still in awe."

Brad Angelo of Lockport, New York, entered the 2017 Open Championships focused on the success of his two-team group and maintained that mindset throughout his nine games at the Bowling Plaza, which ended with him leading Regular All-Events with a 2,176 total.

The 47-year-old right-hander was clean in 87 of his 90 frames on the way to sets of 735 in singles, 723 in team and 718 in doubles June 2-3. His performance also included a fourth-place effort in Regular Doubles with Andrew Herbert of Eden, New York (1,428), and a pair of top-10 finishes in Team All-Events for BowlU 1 and BowlU 2.

AngeloBrad2017OCForWeb465x262"Even as I sit here hearing the news over the phone, it doesn't feel real," said Angelo, a 2016 Open Doubles titlist at the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC. "I didn't allow myself to get too excited because I knew there still were a lot of great teams and bowlers coming in, including one of my former students, Zack Hattori, who made a run just yesterday. What an absolute honor this is. It couldn't have happened without the other nine guys, but I accept this win as a token of all the hard work they've put in."

The tournament's new 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, will welcome its first class of winners to the Open Championships record book.

Minnesota Select Sires 1 of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, set the bar in Standard Team with a 2,922 performance March 22. The group had games of 953, 1,012 and 957, led by Andrew Kasten's 725 series. He was joined by Arvid Strande (639), Paul Buendiger (542), Scott Molnar (528) and Carl Krause (488).

Two longtime friends, Stuart Sheck of Germantown, Maryland, and Robert Tonelli of nearby Henderson, got the job done in Standard Doubles with a 1,236 effort May 14.

Tonelli, 71, who bowled in his 41st Open Championships, led the charge with games of 213, 235 and a 182 for a 630 series, while Sheck, 56 years old and a 22-time participant, added 200, 179 and 227 for 606.

The Standard Singles and Standard All-Events standings were topped by a pair of young collegiate bowlers, who both competed for the first time.

Thorsten Przychocki, a 20-year-old right-hander from Sebring, Florida, rolled games of 211, 269 and 224 to lead the way in Standard Singles with a 704 series July 11, while Rusty Johnston, a 19-year-old right-hander from Austin, Texas, had 681 in singles, 670 in doubles and 564 in team to set the pace in Standard All-Events with a 1,915 total May 29. Przychocki was second in the all-events standings with 1,897, and Johnston's singles effort was tied for third.

The Classified Division at the Open Championships is 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.

The Classified Team trophy will be headed to Alexandria, Minnesota, for the third time in four years, this time bearing the name Scotty's 8, which led the way with a 2,569 total on games of 908, 810 and 851.

Alan Iverson, a 2015 Classified Team champion, led the charge for Scotty's 8 with a 546 series April 5, and he was joined by Zach Hedine (541), Chad Brandt (527), Ryan Dew (493) and Bruce Corneliusen (462).

In Classified Doubles, first-timer Dustin Keener of Cleveland, Georgia, and John Carter of Toccoa, Georgia, swooped in during the event's homestretch and moved into the lead with a 1,133 total July 7.

Keener, 32, led the pair with a 611 series, and Carter, a 60-year-old right-hander whose debut came at the 2016 event, added a 522 series.

Two more first-time bowlers landed at the top of the Classified Singles and Classified All-Events standings.

Wiley Collins, a 50-year-old right-hander from Winter Springs, Florida, rolled games of 202, 257 and 193 to set the singles mark with a 652 series June 14, and Lawrence Brossett, a 61-year-old right-hander from Natchitoches, Louisiana, had sets of 630 in singles, 577 in team and 538 in doubles for a 1,745 leading all-events total July 9.

The 2017 Open Championships got underway at the South Point Bowling Plaza on Feb. 18.

During the 149-day run, there were 10 perfect games, five 299s and two 298s, while 22 additional bowlers rolled 11 consecutive strikes.

ZikesLes2017OCForWeb465x262Additional highlights included 21 bowlers entering the event's 50-Year Club, while USBC Hall of Famer Les Zikes of Palatine, Illinois, became the 11th participant to reach 65 years of Open Championships participation. Fellow hall of famer Marvin Stoudt of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, became the 20th member of the 100,000-Pin Club.

In 2018, the Open Championships will head east and make its first appearance in Syracuse, New York, since 1999. It will be the tournament's fifth trip to Salt City.

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