Californians have memorable night, new singles leader emerges at 2019 USBC Open Championships

LAS VEGAS - Ron Case of Oakley, California, initially got a hard time from his teammates about their late doubles and singles squad at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, but all likely was forgiven after their memorable performance Tuesday night at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

The excitement started with a perfect game from Curtis Woods of Santa Rosa, California, during doubles and ended with Case sneaking into the lead in Regular Singles by a single pin with an 803 series on games of 299, 266 and 238.

In between was a pair of top-10 doubles performances, a run in Regular All-Events and a commendable effort in Team All-Events.

"I started the night in the doubles not throwing the ball well or bowling very well, but we stayed with our plan, we played where we felt we should play and broke the lanes down nice," said Case, who made his 26th USBC Open Championships appearance. "When singles came around, I just went straight to a ball change, and it was a guess on where to play with that ball. Knowing my equipment helped out. I went to a ball I've bowled a lot with over the years, and they just started falling."

Case, who shot 572 in team and 578 in doubles, waited until the stage was clear before making his own run at the record book.

He opened his singles event with 11 consecutive strikes, before a 10 pin ended his chance at the sixth 300 of the year. Instead, he settled for the second 299 game of the 2019 Open Championships.

The 49-year-old right-hander struck 10 more times in his second game and finished with 266.

He quickly became the talk of the 60-lane Bowling Plaza, and when he opened the finale with five consecutive strikes, the buzz turned from the 238 game he needed to secure the lead, to talk of whether his look was good enough to surpass the record 862 series rolled by Bo Goergen of Sanford, Michigan, on the way to the Regular Singles title in 2009.

The crowd got its answer on the very next shot when the 8 pin refused to fall.

A 10 pin in the eighth frame and a strike in the ninth left Case needing a spare and nine pins in his final frame to surpass Ryan Mouw of Muskegon, Michigan, who previously held the lead in Regular Singles this year with 802.

Case left a 10 pin on his first offering, made the spare and got nine on his fill ball to lock up the lead.

"Up in the 10th frame, I threw a decent shot and left a 10 pin, and, of course, now the nerves were going crazy knowing I needed to pick it up and fill to take over the lead," said Case, whose best series at the Open Championships prior to Tuesday was a 765 set in 2002. "I'd missed a 10 pin earlier in the week, and I hadn't shot any for a while here, but I made it solid. I went up on the next shot and got nine again. I don't even remember what I left. I think it might've been a 4 pin, and everyone went crazy."

WoodsCurtis2019OCForWeb250x140Woods attributes the overall doubles and singles success for him and Case and their Big O Tires teammates to their lack of success in their team event Monday night.

Big O Tires posted games of 980, 1,060 and 955 for a 2,995 total, while the other half of the group, Gene's Pro Shop, had games of 931, 938 and 883 for a 2,752 total.

"We struggled on the left lane and missed a lot of spares, and we all walked off the lanes knowing we left a lot out there," said Woods, a 45-year-old right-hander who made his 14th tournament appearance. "Having the late squad tonight, actually really helped, because it gave us all day to think about it and organize our thoughts, and everyone came down pretty motivated. I even saw in practice, everyone was playing the same part of the lane, and they broke down really well for us tonight. We have a great bunch of guys, and everyone works really well together."

Woods' 300 was the fifth of the 2019 Open Championships and fourth among the 10 players in the two-team group. It came between games of 221 and 243 for a career-best 764 series and catapulted him and Sam Carter of Ben Lomond, California (613), into sixth place in Regular Doubles with a 1,367 effort.

While Woods admits he hasn't had a lot of time to practice, he does have a different perspective of the game since leaving his role at Double Decker Lanes in Rohnert Park, California, for a job as a branch manager for PeopleReady, a nationwide staffing agency.

His time on the lanes is more focused, and he's even able to sneak in 15-20 minutes of practice here and there while fulfilling his responsibilities to California's youth bowlers.

One of those young competitors, his 13-year-old daughter Ashtyn, has been a helpful eye during his practice sessions, reminding him to keep his left arm in front of him and keep his last two steps slow - something he thought about throughout his perfect game Tuesday.

Monday's team event, plus competing in the side events being held in conjunction with the 2019 Open Championships, helped Woods get progressively sharper, and his efforts helped him become a part of the tournament's storied history.

"It's unreal to have shot 300 at the Open Championships, and I actually was fighting back the tears," Woods said. "I've always wanted to have my name somewhere as a part of this event, whether it be an Eagle or an honor score, so this is amazing. I get to have my name announced next time I bowl, and my name will be on the big board. It's awesome."

While Woods was in the spotlight, his teammates Aaron Pawloski of Brentwood, California, and Robert Huckaby of Santa Cruz, California, quietly were making their way up the Regular Doubles standings.

Pawloski, a 15-time Open Championships participant, rolled games of 248, 254 and 277 for a career-best 779 series, while Huckaby added 217, 185 and 211 for a 613 set and 1,392 total. They settled into third place in Regular Doubles, which is led by Cotie Holbek of Burlington, Wisconsin, and Steven Fisher of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, with 1,478.

The members of Big O Tires averaged nearly 224 in doubles and singles Tuesday to land in third place in Team All-Events with a 9,709 total. Mento Produce of Syracuse, New York, leads with 9,983.

BigOTires2019OCForWeb250x140Pawloski led the way for Big O Tires this week at the South Point Bowling Plaza with a 2,128 all-events total, which is fifth in Regular All-Events, and he was followed by Woods (2,019), Case (1,953), Mark Mazzulla (1,806) and Huckaby (1,803). Mouw still leads all-events with 2,156, and his team, defending champion S and B Pro Shop 1, leads Regular Team with 3,254.

The past success for Big O Tires and Gene's Pro Shop at the world's largest participatory sporting event includes 300 games from companion team member Jerry Kennedy (team, 1996), Huckaby (doubles, 2006) and Carter (doubles, 2012).

Case had one previous opportunity for a perfect game at the Open Championships in 2002, but he only knocked down five pins on his final shot, finishing with 295.

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