New Yorker posts 300 at 2018 USBC Open Championships

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Gary Haines of Islip, New York, has put together two strong trips to the Oncenter Convention Center in 2018 after finishing his United States Bowling Congress Open Championships appearance with a perfect game.

The 30-year-old left-hander connected for 12 consecutive strikes during his final game of singles Saturday after starting with games of 181 and 226 for a 707 series. Cotie Holbek of Burlington, Wisconsin, leads Regular Singles with 802.

Haines became the 11th player at the 2018 USBC Open Championships to roll a 300 game, but he was the first to accomplish the feat from the left side.

Haines was joined by two other left-handers during doubles and singles, Ian Lang and Paul Bajorski, and he credits their game plan and teamwork in helping create a nice look for each player.

"We had three lefties on our pair, and we played them right," said Haines, who made his eighth Open Championships appearance. "We stayed left for as long as possible, and I've never been able to shape the lane that much. I could get in and have a spot to the left of us to throw it to. It really was a great team effort. All of us were striking, I just happened to carry them all."

Also aiding in Haines' comfort at the 48-lane venue was competing at the USBC Masters in April. Haines finished the 15 games of qualifying tied for 42nd place and advanced to the tournament's double-elimination match-play bracket.

Although he lost his first two matches to finish tied for 49th, the experience quickly helped him settle in for his Open Championships appearance.

"Masters was a really good experience, but the best thing about coming back was being used to the approaches," Haines said. "You come out here and have 10 minutes to warmup, so it's great to already know what soles to have on. I already was comfortable with the environment and temperature, so all of that was in my mindset when I came back."

As Haines approached his final frame Saturday, he trusted his routine while delivering three solid strikes.

"I'll admit, my legs were shaking," Haines said. "But I stuck to my pre-shot routine. My legs were shaking, but I made sure my first step was nice and easy and I just tried to post each shot. And I believe I ended up making three very good shots."

Haines also capped off the best performance of his young Open Championships career, adding sets of 688 in doubles and 593 in team for a 1,988 total. He felt his overall showing was a personal victory as he managed the ups and downs often faced at the event.

"It's huge for me," Haines said. "You get nine quick games a year, and to be able to pop off a 300 is phenomenal. The nine-game sprint, mentally, has given me problems over the years. Even yesterday, I finished rough, but today, I was able to get it done. I'm very proud of my performance today, and this is by far the best year I've had."

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