Michigan bowler takes Regular Singles lead at 2017 Open Championships

LAS VEGAS - Tony Buck of Rockford, Michigan, has been a consistent performer at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships for more than two decades, but he's never posted a number for other bowlers to chase.

That changed Sunday at the South Point Bowling Plaza as the 47-year-old left-hander rolled games of 267, 224 and 277 to take the lead in Regular Singles with a 768 series. USBC Hall of Famer Gary Daroszewski of Milwaukee previously held the lead with 736.

Buck traveled to Las Vegas this week with a group of four teams, consisting of 10 right-handers and 10 left-handers. By grouping the right-handers and left-handers together on the lanes, the group found success across the board.

"That was a lot of fun, because I've struggled here for the past few years," said Buck, who made his 21st USBC Open Championships appearance. "Now that we've put together this group, it helps to break down the shot and makes it a little easier to keep the ball in line."

Along with five other left-handers, Buck began doubles by working with his teammates to find the right look. After starting with games of 165 and 176, their collaborative effort paid off as things fell into place for Buck, who finished with 227 for a 568 doubles series.

"Toward the end of doubles, I migrated in to where everybody else was, and it gave me a little more room," said Buck, who averaged 202.2 in 20 previous tournament appearances. "With all of the left-handers playing the same area, it really opened up, and I probably had two or three boards of area to hit if I kept my ball speed consistent."

One pair to Buck's left, several members of his group also made a run at the top of the singles leaderboard. Derek Nyenhuis of Wyoming, Michigan, moved into 10th place with 696, and Charles Brown of Grandville, Michigan, settled into 14th place with 692.

Both Nyenhuis and Brown helped Supreme Deck of Grand Haven, Michigan, into second place in Regular Team on Saturday with a 3,174 total, and Brown's total effort helped him move into a tie for sixth place in Regular All-Events with 1,960.

Kruse's Pro Shop of Fargo, North Dakota, leads Regular Team with 3,198, while Jacob Boresch of Kenosha, Wisconsin, tops the Regular All-Events standings with 2,122.

"We have a really good group of guys," said Buck, whose previous high series of 716 came in doubles at the 2011 Open Championships in Reno, Nevada. "There's a lot of talent there, and they really helped motivate me today. There's a lot of camaraderie, and having everybody root for you is pretty special."

Buck added a 529 in team for a 1,865 all-events tally, and the Greater Grand Rapid USBC Hall of Famer is going to enjoy his time as the bowler to beat in Las Vegas.

"I hope I can stay on top as long as possible," Buck said. "I know it will probably take 800 to win, so if I can stay in the top 10 or so, I'll be really happy. I don't think I've ever finished in the top 200 for singles before, so this is pretty neat."

The Regular Division includes bowlers with entering averages of 210 and above.

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