Past champion takes lead at 2019 Bowlers Journal Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and David McCord
USBC Communications

Justin Neiman of Macomb, Michigan (right), is no stranger to success at the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by the United States Bowling Congress, and he's now in position to add another title to his growing resume.

His partner, Mykel Holliman of Collierville, Tennessee, also has spent some time in the spotlight in recent years, including a runner-up finish at the 2019 USBC Masters.

Though they attack the pins from opposite sides of the lane, the two worked together Tuesday at the South Point Bowling Center and now lead Open Doubles at the 2019 Bowlers Journal Championships with a 1,492 total.

Holliman led the effort with games of 247, 244 and 267 for a 758 series, while Neiman, a 2017 doubles champion at the event, added 256, 258 and 220 for a 734 set. Robert Callan of Vacaville, California, and Warren Crawford of McKinleyville, California, previously held the lead with a 1,475.

"We decided to bowl together at the last minute," said Holliman, a 26-year-old left-hander who fell to Team USA member Jakob Butturff, 228-196, in the Masters final on April 1. "So, to come out and shoot this, was awesome. It would just be amazing to win."

Neiman has been extremely comfortable at the South Point Bowling Center, where he teamed with Craig Nidiffer of New Boston, Michigan, to win Open Doubles at the 2017 Bowlers Journal Championships with a 1,601 total.

Neiman contributed a 755 effort to that victory, and Nidiffer's 846 also was enough to top the Open Singles and Dual Entry standings.

"I love coming here to South Point," said Neiman, a 32-year-old systems engineer. "This place is special to me."

Holliman and Neiman, a right-hander, hope their momentum will carry over to the 2019 USBC Open Championships at the nearby South Point Bowling Plaza. The doubles and singles oil pattern at the Open Championships is the same as the one they conquered during their Bowlers Journal session.

Holliman will take the lanes first and will notch his sixth Open Championships appearance Wednesday and Thursday.

"Having that confidence should really help free up our swings," Holliman said. "Once you have that momentum going your way, the game becomes much easier."

Neiman will take his shot at Open Championships glory Thursday and Friday.

Before getting underway at the Bowling Plaza, he'll be presented with a special watch to commemorate his runner-up finish in Regular Doubles at the 2018 Open Championships in Syracuse, New York.

He and Alex Ouellette of Linwood, Michigan, combined for a 1,456 total at the Oncenter Convention Center and finished one pin shy of Richard Eighme and AJ Chapman, who won with 1,457.

This year, Neiman will bowl doubles at the Open Championships with 2018 Masters champion and reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan. The 2019 event will mark Neiman's eighth tournament appearance. It will be the sixth for Anderson.

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