Illinois bowler rolls first singles 300 of 2019 USBC Open Championships

LAS VEGAS - Someone saying that a perfect game at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships may have stirred up more emotion than bowling two 300s and winning a car only solidifies the pride and prestige involved in a memorable performance on the biggest stage in bowling.

Ryan Yanel of Antioch, Illinois, wasn't trying to downplay the excitement or appreciation he felt from his win at the 53rd Annual Chicago Sun-Times/BPA Beat The Champions contest in 2014, he simply was remembering the feeling of coming off the approach at the South Point Bowling Plaza, where he rolled the fourth perfect game of the 2019 USBC Open Championships.

The 33-year-old right-hander bounced back from the second-lowest series of his 16 appearances at the Open Championships with an amazing highlight and an improvement of more than 200 pins, something he credits to experience and patience gained as a longtime competitor.

After a 518 series in doubles Saturday, Yanel rebounded with games of 204, 300 and 223 for a 727 series, the highest set of his tournament career. His perfect game was the first during singles competition this year.

"You bowl enough and see lanes transition, so you know you always have a chance, if you're patient and willing to make the necessary moves," said Yanel, whose Open Championships career began at the 2004 event in Reno, Nevada. "After doubles, I jumped in two arrows and was able to find a good look. Honestly, this is something I didn't think I'd ever do. I've been close before with the front seven or eight, but I wasn't able to capitalize on those opportunities."

Yanel bowled well in his team event Friday morning, posting a 672 series, and he and his teammates did all they could to prepare for doubles and singles, which included a stop at the nearby Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC.

Since the Open Championships went to two oil patterns - one for team and one for doubles/singles - the Bowlers Journal Championships has featured the same pattern used for doubles/singles at the Open Championships.

"I don't think I was making bad shots in doubles, but I was missing just about every spare," Yanel said. "I knew once I got comfortable and lined up I'd be able to find something. Me and the guys bowl together a lot at home, so having them there really helped, too. They're good about helping me get out of my own way sometimes, and they helped keep me calm during the 300."

Yanel wasn't the only member of his group to find success in Las Vegas.

During their Bowlers Journal outing, Rick Golemba of Wauconda, Illinois, rolled the second 300 of the event, being held at the South Point Bowling Center. They used what they learned to finalize their game plan for their second day of competition at the Open Championships.

They also leaned on Regular Doubles leaders, Cotie Holbek of Burlington, Wisconsin, and Steven Fisher of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, whom they bowl in league with at home. Holbek and Fisher top the standings with a 1,478 total.

"Thanks to Cotie and Steve, we had an idea about the differences between the Bowlers Journal and the Open Championships, and we were able to combine that knowledge with our skill to put up a couple of big games," said Yanel, who finished with a 1,917 all-events total. "I think we broke the lanes down well, and I'm glad I was able to finish on a good note."

The latest highlight of Yanel's career is part of a pretty special list of accomplishments.

In 2010, he won a Professional Bowlers Association regional title in a one-ball roll-off against PBA Tour champion Eugene McCune of Munster, Indiana, after the two tied in the championship match.

Then came Yanel's performance in the Beat The Champions event, where he advanced through local and regional qualifiers and then dominated the final stage of competition with games of 289, 300, 300 and 254 for a scratch total of 1,143.

He won the event by more than 150 pins and left with a 2014 Ford Focus.

"I've been in pressure situations before - I've bowled PBA 300s and shot 889 to win a car - and it all helped along the way for this 300," Yanel said. "Winning the car was awesome because I won a car. Bowling a 300 at the Open Championships, I think was a little more emotional."

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