South Dakota bowler leads Classified AE at 2021 USBC Open Championships, shares experience with father

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By Matt Cannizzaro and Cassidy Courey
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS -
Competing in the United Stated Bowling Congress Open Championships is a special tradition for many families.

This weekend, Austin Eastman of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, got to share the tournament lanes with his father, Bryan, and Austin's performance has the potential to give his dad one of the best Father's Day gifts imaginable - an Eagle from the world's largest participatory sporting event.

Father's Day is just a week away, falling on June 20 this year.

Though their doubles performance together only landed them in 25th place, Austin's overall success across three events, two venues and two challenging oil patterns was enough to land him at the top of the Classified All-Events standings with a 1,758 total.

The 24-year-old right-hander started his 2021 USBC Open Championships campaign with a 587 series in team Saturday at the South Point Bowling Plaza, and he added sets of 571 in doubles and 600 in singles Sunday at the South Point Bowling Center to reach his leading total.

The effort was the best of his four tournament appearances by nearly 370 pins and helped him into the top 25 in every event - Classified All-Events (first), Classified Singles (11th), Standard Team (24th) and Standard Doubles (25th).

Tarika Onishi previously held the lead in Classified All-Events with 1,754.

The Eastmans, who bowled doubles together at the Open Championships for the first time, were thrilled to able to share the special moment and considered the whole experience and opportunity to share the biggest stage in bowling a blessing.

"I couldn't be prouder," said Bryan Eastman, 50, who competed in the Open Championships for the 13th time. "I had tears in my eyes the whole time."

In their doubles set, Bryan finished with a 627 series, giving them a 1,198 total. Onishi and Kevin Valmonte of Upland, California, lead Standard Doubles with 1,281.

Bowling historically has been a family affair for the Eastmans. Currently, they both do their league bowling at Sport Bowl in Sioux Falls.

Bryan has coached Austin since he started bowling, as Bryan's father did for him. His role has evolved from coach to teammate, which has been rewarding.

"You always want to see your kid do better than you," Bryan Eastman said.

For Austin, having his dad there was symbolic of his bowling experience.

"It's a blessing to have him here because he taught me to bowl," Austin Eastman said. "It's nice to see everything come together - bowling with my dad and being able to do something we both enjoy."

When asked how his son potentially winning an Eagle as a Father's Day gift would feel, Bryan said, "It would be awesome to bring an Eagle home, even if it's not mine."

Bryan added 601 in team and 555 in singles for a 1,783 all-events total. Individually, he competed in the Regular Division, which is for bowlers with entering tournament averages of 176 and above.

Classified All-Events at the Open Championships includes bowlers with entering tournament averages of 155 and below. Standard Doubles is for teams with combined entering averages of 311-350.

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