RENO, Nev. - After just missing the Regular Team lead at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, a confident and motivated Towne and Country Lanes 1 of Hartland, Wis., returned to the National Bowling Stadium on Monday and cruised into the top spot in Team All-Events with a 9,766 total.
Tony Buss of Milwaukee led the charge with a 2,016 all-events effort, which included a 164 start in team. Once he got comfortable, the strikes added up, and he was able to average more than 231 the rest of the way, shooting 701 in team, 684 in singles and 631 in doubles.
Matt Zagar added a 2,003 all-events total for Towne and Country Lanes 1 and was followed by Dave Gajewski (1,983), Robert Milbrath (1,909) and Jerry Riemer (1,855). Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 of Sartell, Minn., previously held the lead with 9,408.
"Even though we came up a little bit short in team, we bowled well and had a lot of confidence, and we thought we'd have a pretty good look today," said Buss, who made his 15th USBC Open Championships appearance. "We always try to focus on one frame at a time. You can't worry about anything before or after that. We thought coming in that 9,700 would be a good number if we could get there, and we're really happy with how we finished."
Heading into the 2013 tournament, Towne and Country Lanes 1 wanted to improve on last year's top-50 finish in Regular Team, and the top of the leaderboard was within reach Sunday night. The team now is second behind Breakpoint Pro Shop 2, which escaped a final-frame battle with a 3,358-3,328 advantage.
The Breakpoint Pro Shop group was the first to hit the lanes for doubles and singles and set the pace in the Team All-Events race Monday morning. Buss and his teammates made note of the number they needed to beat and then worked together to get there by playing the lanes together and talking about every move.
"We all started just right of 10 hoping to burn a spot around 7-8 and create some room," Buss said. "With the format change, when you get to that third game of doubles and start getting some transition, it's easy to struggle, but that's when you need to find the right ball because you now have three more games on the same pair. You might have to sacrifice something early to create the look you want, similar to the strategy in team, but, if you do it right, it pays off."
With three games to go Monday, any member of Towne and Country Lanes 1 also could've landed atop the Regular All-Events standings, but it's not something that ever crossed their minds.
"We're here as a team, and everything we do is for the team," said Buss, who is eighth in Regular All-Events. "Individual success is great, but our focus is on the team events. We worked well together, got all we could and put up a big number. Even though it's probably going to get beat, we're happy with how we bowled, and we have something to build on."
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.