RENO, Nev. - Pam Pancoast of Lomita, Calif., saved her best performance for last at the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships as she rolled a 300 in her final game to take the lead in Scratch Singles and Scratch All-Events at the National Bowling Stadium on Friday.
After starting the tournament with a 730 series in team and 710 in doubles, she rolled games of 213 and 266 before becoming the 18th competitor in USBC Women's Championships history to achieve perfection on the tournament lanes. She finished with a 779 series, just one pin ahead of previous leader Tammy Lewis of San Jose, Calif.
Pancoast, a 50-year-old right-hander, struck on 27 of her last 28 shots, and her 2,219 all-events total is the third highest 93 years of Women's Championships competition. Megan Kelly of Dayton, Ohio, previously held the lead with 2,168, while Jodi Woessner of Oregon, Ohio, posted a record 2,330 total on the way to the Scratch and Diamond All-Events titles at the 2010 event in El Paso, Texas.
"Any 300 is exciting, but it's fun to do it here," said Pancoast, who made her 11th Women's Championships appearance. "It took me a little while to get lined up on that pair. Usually it's a difficult shot here, but this one seemed to match up with my game a little better. I just tried to keep the ball in line and remember to follow through and watch my timing."
Pancoast bowled with USBC Hall of Famer Anne Marie Duggan and two-time Women's Championships titlist Christy Asher. She hopes to etch her name alongside theirs by adding two titles to this year's success.
"It's fun because I've known Christy for some time now and really enjoy bowling with Anne Marie," Pancoast said. "We really have a lot of fun bowling together. It would be a big deal for me to come out here and win. There are a lot of good bowlers here, and it's fun for me to try and compete with them. They're so good. It's fun to come out and bowl well. It's been a great bowling experience so far."
Earlier in the day, Caryn Evitts of Waukegan, Ill., and Melanie DeCarlo of Peru, Ill., took their place in the record books by tying for the highest doubles game in tournament history (558).
Evitts set the pace by rolling the 17th perfect game since the inaugural Women's Championships in 1916, while DeCarlo added a 258 game. Evitts finished with a 723 series, and DeCarlo added 673 for a 1,396 total, which puts them fifth in Scratch Doubles. Megan Kelly and Team USA member Shannon Pluhowsky lead Scratch Doubles with 1,464. Kelly's mother, USBC Hall of Famer Linda Kelly, and Mandy Wilson of Dayton, Ohio, combined for a 558 game on the way to the Classic Doubles title at the 1996 event in Buffalo, N.Y.
A change in equipment and adjustment on the lane helped Evitts claim her place in tournament history. The 37-year-old right-hander had a few nerves as she closed out the perfect game, but the support of family and friends made the experience one she'll never forget.
"I couldn't carry at all in the second game, so I switched balls and moved a little right and just got lined up," said Evitts, who made her 16th Women's Championships appearance. "The whole experience was really special, especially since its Melanie's first tournament. We've been bowling together for a while now, so it's nice to have everybody here to share this moment. I'm glad my husband was here to see that, too."
Evitts added 557 in team and 543 in singles to finish with a 1,823 all-events score. In her first tournament appearance, DeCarlo rolled matching 538 series in team and singles for 1,749.
The top scratch score in team, doubles, singles and all-events is recognized as overall tournament champion. Click herefor the latest standings.
Presenting sponsors for the 2012 USBC Women's Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Harrah's Reno Casino, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, Sands Regency Casino Hotel and Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and MyBowlingVacation.com.