California bowler rolls 800 series at 2014 USBC Open

RENO, Nev. - Chris Murray of San Jose, Calif., started his doubles event at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships with six strikes in his first seven frames, but he only was able to double one more time throughout the rest of the set.

Starting fresh in singles, the 42-year-old right-hander got the right ball in his hands and fired the fourth 800 series of the 2014 event at the National Bowling Stadium.

Murray put together games of 268, 266 and 268 to finish his 11th USBC Open Championships appearance Wednesday with an 802 series, which is second in Regular Singles. Louis Jenkins Jr. of Warr Acres, Okla., leads with 826.

After starting doubles with 221, Murray found only six strikes in his next two games to finish with a 592 series. He changed to a ball with a smoother reaction, and that made the difference in singles.

"I made the wrong ball choice and adjustments," said Murray, who bowls regularly at San Jose's 4th Street Bowl. "I tried to play with something a little more angular to kick out the 10 and got in trouble. Once I switched to something a little smoother, I got myself in the right place and executed well."

Murray lost his chance for the lead in the first frame of the last game but still had the opportunity to roll the second 800 on the 40-foot Sport Bowling-certified lane condition used for doubles and singles. After a spare in the fourth frame, he needed to strike on his next seven deliveries, leaving him needing just seven pins on his fill ball to secure his place in tournament history. He got nine on his final shot.

"I just tried to stay relaxed, keep my feet slow and execute the shot," said Murray, who added 578 in team for a career-best 1,972 all-events score. "It feels great. I'm still nervous from the 10th frame. It's very overwhelming, especially at this facility."

Murray benefited from putting in some time into his game at the Track Showcase Lanes and Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC. His experience at the Bowlers Journal Championships, which features the doubles and singles pattern from the Open Championships, helped him devise a game plan.

"They're definitely worth getting into," Murray said. "They play similar and give you a good feel for the patterns. I didn't do well at the Bowlers Journal, but I learned that I had to get inside, and that's what I did today. I've put in a lot of hard work this past week trying to make good shots and get my timing back, and it's nice that it has paid off."

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Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.