2018 Bowlers Journal Championships gets new leaders and perfect game

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A busy day at the 2018 Bowlers Journal Championships presented by the United States Bowling Congress resulted in new leaders in two events and the second perfect game of this year's tournament at AMF Strike 'N Spare Lanes.

Warren Eales of Chandler, Arizona, used a consistent performance Friday to secure the lead in Senior Singles with a 781 series, and taking advantage of the tournament's Dual Entry option allowed him and Sammy Ventura of nearby Norwich, New York, to find the top of the standings in Senior Doubles with a 1,452 total.

Matthew Staninger of Centerville, Ohio, celebrated his 26th birthday this week in style by tossing 12 consecutive strikes Friday to earn his way into the top 10 in Open Singles.

In his initial visit to the Bowlers Journal Championships this week, Eales got out to a slow start, but he found a late look that made him eager to return and try again.

Unsatisfied with the results of his return visit, the patient and persistent 59-year-old right-hander gave the event a third try, which resulted in games of 269, 259 and 253. The Dual Entry option at the event allows bowlers to use their three-game totals toward doubles and singles at the same time.

"I bowled one squad on Wednesday and was able to get lined up later in the block to finish with 230 and 250 games, and that motivated me to go back the next day to bowl a couple more squads," Eales said. "Unfortunately, I didn't have the same look and couldn't find that shot. But, today, I went back in, and it was there. I was able to put three great games together, and everything fell into place."

Ventura, who lives about an hour and a half from Syracuse, admitted he was in the right place at the right time, taking advantage of an opportunity to stay sharp during the short break between two four-event swings on the Professional Bowlers Association 50 (PBA50) schedule. The 2018 PBA50 season resumes May 27 in Brentwood, California.

The 59-year-old right-hander contributed a 671 series, on games of 212, 235 and 224, to the doubles effort with Eales.

"I'm trying to stay sharp as we get ready to go to Brentwood, and a bunch of my buddies were bowling today, so I came up to try and get in a few squads at the Bowlers Journal," Ventura said. "I happen to see Warren, who I know isn't a PBA member, so I asked him if he wanted to bowl doubles. We both had a good look, but he really lit them up today."

VenturaSamEalesWarren2018OCForWeb250x140Both Eales and Ventura found success during the first part of the PBA50 season, with Eales picking up a win at the season-opening 2018 PBA50 Lucas Magazine Classic in New Port Richey, Florida, and Ventura cashing in all four events, finishing in the top 16 three times.

Success often breeds confidence, and for many competitive bowlers, bowling well at the Bowlers Journal Championships helps prepare them, both mentally and strategically, for their time on the lanes at the USBC Open Championships, especially since the Bowlers Journal event features the same oil pattern they'll see during doubles and singles on the biggest stage in bowling.

"You hope it gives you some kind of idea of the area of the lane you need to play or give you some ideas about how you're going to be moving as they break down, so it definitely is important when it comes to making a strategy for doubles and singles at the Open Championships," Eales said. "At the same time, it's another event with a nice prize fund, so you want to try to do as well as you can, hopefully getting a look, you can win with. Looking at the leaderboards, and knowing the quality of the bowlers who go through there, would make a win incredibly special and a huge honor."

Initially, Eales planned to rejoin the PBA after he turned 60, which would give him some time to organize his work schedule before committing more time to the Tour, but his recent win in Florida means he'll need to reinstate before he can compete in another PBA event. He plans to hit a couple of the upcoming events and likely will do it with some additional confidence.

Robert A. Bures of Mentor, Ohio, previously held the Senior Singles lead at the 2018 Bowlers Journal Championships with 757, while Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wisconsin, also a PBA50 champion this season, topped the Senior Doubles standings with fellow USBC Hall of Famer Gus Yannaras of Waukesha, Wisconsin, with 1,448.

Boresch's success carried over to the Open Championships, where he took the lead in Regular Singles with a 784 series. He now sits in third place.

The player Boresch beat to get to the lead at the Oncenter Convention Center was Rameses Chambers of Kansas City, Missouri, who shot 771 at the Open Championships after tossing the first 300 at this year's Bowlers Journal Championships.

StaningerMatthew2018OCForWeb250x140Staninger is hoping to enjoy a similar fate as he competes in the Open Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

His participation in the Bowlers Journal Championships was for multiple reasons as well, including a chance to spend some time on the lanes with his teammates, since he lives in a different area, both for camaraderie and strategic purposes.

"It's nice to get a practice session in, have fun with the group and see the pattern to get an idea of what I want to do as far as equipment and surfaces go," Staninger said. "We use that as a preview, along with a team practice session, just to get some games in and get more comfortable."

The right-handed Staninger posted games of 213, 236 and 300 at AMF Strike 'N Spare Lanes, and his 749 series is just inside the top 10 in Open Singles. Jason Bowles of Euclid, Ohio, leads with 791.

The big set may help loosen the armswing for the weekend, but it also shows that hard work, seeking out challenging lane conditions and top competition and putting an emphasis on spares is paying off. And, of course, surrounding himself with teammates who have the same work ethic.

"It takes a lot of preparation, and we start communicating about Nationals a few months beforehand," said Staninger, who won his first PBA regional title and recorded his first PBA 300 game this season. "Even though we're in different locations geographically, we're all making sure we're putting in the work and communicating exactly what we think we want to do, so we have an easier time finalizing the game plan."

Staninger and his teammates will take the lanes at the Oncenter Convention Center for the Open Championships team event on Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern and for doubles and singles on Sunday at 10:45 p.m. Eastern.

The Bowlers Journal Championships is running alongside the Open Championships for the 72nd year and will run until July 7.

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