Retired Marine takes Standard Singles lead at 2021 USBC Open Championships

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By Cassidy Courey
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS -
In 1984, Mark Wojtusiak enlisted in the U.S. Marines and served as a mechanic for anti-aircraft missiles. He visited 36 countries in 13 years.

On Tuesday, Wojtusiak unknowingly took the Standard Singles lead at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

He equated his experience in the Marines to his singles performance at the South Point Bowling Center.

"It was an experience nobody is ever going to take away from me, just like this," said Wojtusiak, a 55-year-old right-hander who made his 17th appearance at the USBC Open Championships.

He opened singles with games of 219 and 216, which meant he would need 272 in his final game to take the lead.

After starting the finale with five consecutive strikes, Wojtusiak spared in the sixth frame and struck three more times. He needed a double in the final frame to take the lead, and he delivered. Two strikes and got an eight-count on his final ball gave him a 276 game and 711 series.

Chris Lytle of Kearney, Nebraska previously held the lead with 706, which only lasted three days.

Wojtusiak entered the tournament not knowing the leading scores, but even though he was unaware of his opportunity to take the lead, he grew increasingly nervous as he approached the final frames with a chance to shoot 278 on the biggest stage in bowling.

"That was very nerve-wracking," Wojtusiak said. "The first ball in the 10th frame, I had some jitters. The second ball, I started to shake because I knew I was getting close to 278. On the third one, I was just so nervous."

Wojtusiak admitted he would have been happy leaving the 2021 Open Championships shooting a 278 game, but he instead is leaving with the Standard Singles lead.

The group he bowled with consisted of 40 teams from the Phoenix area, which resulted in strong camaraderie.

"It's even more pleasurable and fun knowing that all of my friends got to see it, as well," Wojtusiak said.

He added 566 in doubles and 505 in team for an all-events total of 1,782. The singles series and all-events total were the best of his 17 years on the championship lanes. Charles Adler of Madison, Indiana, leads Standard All-Events this year with 2,035.

Standard Singles is for bowlers with entering tournament averages of 156-175.

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