Illinois bowler achieves perfection at 2018 USBC Open Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and Casey Smith
USBC Communications

In his short career at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, Garrett Lawson of Ellisville, Illinois, has been a bit of a competitive nomad, bowling with different groups and teammates over the years.

The 50-year-old right-hander finally may have found the perfect fit, however, and his new teammates eagerly waited at the back of the approach to congratulate him after he finished off the sixth perfect game of the 2018 USBC Open Championships.

Lawson was a late addition to the newly formed Maxxx Revs Pro Shop group from Peoria, Illinois, and his career-best performance Thursday at the Oncenter Convention Center may have earned him a long-term home within the two-team contingent.

His 300 was the second rolled in doubles this year in Syracuse and came after games of 244 and 187 for a 731 series, the best set in his nine Open Championships appearances by more than 60 pins.

The performance helped him and Tony DeVita of Creve Coeur, Illinois, to a 1,325 doubles total, which is 40th in the standings through half of the tournament's 107 days of competition, while three more of their four doubles sets also cracked the 1,300 mark.

Andrew and Peter Stone set the pace with a 1,402 total, landing them in a tie for seventh place in Regular Doubles, Thomas Barnwell and Travis Anderson had 1,376 and Steven Taylor teamed with Eddie Flanigan for 1,331. The group's final duo, Benny Barnwell and Jon Davis had 1,165.

Lawson credits the group's collective success for keeping him loose and focused in the biggest moment of his tournament career.

"It all was surreal at first, but now, it feels pretty awesome," Lawson said. "Since everyone was bowling well, it kept the energy level up. Everyone was very positive, and that definitely helped."

The Maxxx Revs Pro Shop bowlers have competed with and against each other in local leagues, and they felt the camaraderie and chemistry could translate to the sport's biggest stage.

Their intuition was correct, and they found quick success Wednesday at the Oncenter Convention Center, where Maxxx Revs Pro Shop 1 moved into 11th place in Regular Team with a 3,146 team total, and Maxxx Revs Pro Shop 2 wasn't far behind with 3,129.

The excitement and momentum carried into Thursday's six games of doubles and singles, ultimately giving both teams some traction in the race for Team All-Events. The Team All-Events total is determined by adding together the five individual all-events scores.

MaxxxRevsProShop1ForWeb2018OC250x140Maxxx Revs Pro Shop 1 finished the day in third place in the Team All-Events standings with a 9,882 total. Thomas Barnwell led the way with a 2,004 all-events tally and was followed by Taylor (1,994), Andrew Stone (1,980), Anderson (1975) and Flanigan (1,929).

Maxxx Revs Pro Shop 2 settled into 18th place with 9,378, which included Peter Stone (1,966), Lawson, who added 637 in team and 542 in singles for a 1,910 total, DeVita (1,865), Benny Barnwell (1,850) and Davis (1,787).

Red Carpet Lanes of Greenfield, Wisconsin, leads Team All-Events this year with 10,252.

While the 300 game was a major accomplishment for Lawson, he was almost prouder of how he bowled in the team event. His previous high series in team was 609, rolled in 2007.

Though the 2018 Open Championships marked Lawson's ninth visit to the event, his career actually spans two decades.

He made his debut at the 1998 tournament in Reno, Nevada, but he didn't bowl again until 2006, simply due to the challenge of finding a team with which to compete. He took another hiatus following his 2007 appearance but has found his way back to the tournament each year since 2013.

"Bowling with this team really helped me personally because everyone played together, and there's always someone there to talk to and ask questions," said Lawson, a farmer who regularly bowls at Linn Lanes in Canton, Illinois. "I'd definitely bowl with these guys again, if they invited me."MaxxxRevsProShop2ForWeb2018OC250x140

The 2018 edition of the Open Championships kicked off March 24 and will run for 107 consecutive days, concluding July 8. The middle of this week marked the halfway point.

The first five bowlers this year to start games with 11 consecutive strikes went on to achieve perfection. Between the fifth 300 and Lawson's perfect game Thursday, there were three 299s, a 298 and a 296 rolled on the championship lanes.

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