Scoring pace heats up as Michigan bowler rolls 835 at 2022 Open Championships

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(pictured above: Scott Patke of Lansing, Michigan)

By Nick Bonsanto and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS
- In less than 24 hours at the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, a pair of 800 sets and 300 games were rolled, with the lead in Regular Singles jumping up to 835 at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

Scott Patke of Lansing, Michigan, is the new leader in Regular Singles after posting games of 279, 278 and 278 in a 30-strike performance Friday morning. Patke's run marked the first 800 in singles at the 2022 event and fourth overall.

Two-time USBC Open Championships titlist Jeff Nimke of Appleton, Wisconsin, had taken the lead in Regular Singles on Saturday with 796.

An hour or so before Patke's show in singles, Stephen Dale Jr. of Windham, New Hampshire, fired 31 strikes during doubles on the way to games of 280, 279 and 267 for an 826 series.

Dale paired with Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion Jonathan Van Hees of Hope Valley, Rhode Island, to take over seventh place in Regular Doubles with 1,450. Tony Odom of Palm Springs, California, and Nick Powanda of San Diego lead Regular Doubles with 1,518.

The 300 games were part of the excitement Thursday at South Point, as Antonio Tejeda of Alexandria, Minnesota, and Zach Weidman of Indianapolis connected for the 27th and 28th perfect games of the 2022 event.

Tejeda's 300 came during the second game of his singles set, and Weidman finished his team event with 12 consecutive strikes.

Patke, a 32-year-old right-hander, made a jump to the left after slowing down in doubles. He started Friday with 235, before finishing his first set of the day with 174 and 196 for a 605 series.

After starting singles with back-to-back spares, Patke delivered 16 consecutive strikes.

"I think we stayed too far right for too long," said Patke, who made his third Open Championships appearance. "Once we all jumped in as a team, it started to come together."

Patke made the turn at 557 and started his final game with seven consecutive strikes, before leaving a 10 pin in the eighth frame. A strike in the ninth frame all but locked up the lead and 800 series, and he delivered two more in the 10th to post the highest score in singles in more than 10 years at the event.

The last winning score in Regular Singles at the Open Championships above 835 was the record-setting 862 set rolled by USBC Hall of Famer Bo Goergon of Sanford, Michigan, at the 2009 event, held across town at the Cashman Center.

To top off the big day at South Point, Patke also collected the first 800 series of his career.

"I feel like it hasn't set in yet," said Patke, who had 650 in team for a 2,090 all-events total. "It's definitely a big accomplishment for sure. I've never really done anything like this before, so to even have a chance at this is pretty cool. You come out here to take a shot at the Eagle. It's one of the most prestigious trophies you can get, and it would mean a lot for sure."

Patke was quick to note the role his teammates and family have in supporting his efforts on the lanes.

He bowled collegiately at Saginaw Valley State from 2008-2012, and he competed alongside several of his former teammates this week at South Point. He also was joined on the trip by his wife, Carol.

"They're all some of my best friends, and we all bowled together at Saginaw," Patke said. "They're definitely a huge part of this, and I couldn't have done this without them. I'd also like to thank my wife and family for their support. It's definitely a key part of it."

Stephen Dale Jr. at 2022 USBC Open ChampionshipsDale, a 49-year-old right-hander, had been bowling well prior to his trip to Las Vegas for his 18th Open Championships appearance and felt confident after a strong showing in team Thursday night.

He rolled a 690 series to help Strike F/X Pro Shops East Providence to a 3,347 total, which moved the group just outside of the top 10 in Regular Team. Storm Products Inc. 1 of Alva, Florida, leads Regular Team with 3,486.

"Even coming out to the tournament, I've been bowling really well," Dale said. "I have a good blend of equipment now, and everything has been feeling good leading in. Yesterday, we worked together and broke them down nice to shoot 3,347 with a big last game, so I was really confident."

The confidence continued as the strikes added up in doubles. Dale had found the right look and stepped up in the 10th frame needing a mark to secure the honor score. His first shot was left but held, tripping out the 4 pin on the right lane to seal his spot in tournament history.

He added one more strike before leaving a 10 pin on his fill ball.

"I was able to create some shim, especially on that lane," Dale said of the right lane. "I could get the ball in a little on that lane. I got that one in a little more than I wanted, but it backed off enough to trip the 4 pin. I made sure I got the next shot out. Both lanes ended up breaking down a lot in singles, so the area I had held on just long enough."

Dale wasn't necessarily focused on his number at the end of the set, however, as he and Van Hees climbed up the leaderboard.

"I've been looking forward to bowling with Jon," Dale said. "He's a great friend of mine, and we bowl a lot of stuff together back home. I actually was more focused on trying to get as much as we could. I figured we were somewhere near the top 10. Every pin counts, so I was just focusing on the next shot."

Dale finished the day with 627 in singles for a 2,143 all-events total, which moved him into the top 20. Brian Waliczek of Frankenmuth, Michigan, leads Regular All-Events with 2,241.

Dale is no stranger to success on the lanes and is a member of the New England Bowlers Association Hall of Fame. He also has compiled a solid resume at the Open Championships over his career, averaging more than 208 heading into this year's appearance.

His performance this week at South Point ranks near the top for him.

"It's right up there," Dale said. "Rolling 800 at nationals is something - and 2,143. The whole tournament this week has been great."

Antonio Tejeda at 2022 USBC Open ChampionshipsTejeda, a 37-year-old right-hander, bounced back after some struggles during his team event Wednesday to average more than 242 across doubles and singles at the Bowling Plaza.

His day started with a 756 set in doubles, which helped him into fifth place with Chad Meyer, also of Alexandria, in Regular Doubles with a 1,465 total. Meyer added 709.

Tejeda kicked off singles with 231 before connecting for 300 in Game 2. Although he finished with 170 for a 701 series, he was proud of the way he battled back from a rough day Wednesday.

"I was pretty low," said Tejeda, who had 535 in team for a 1,992 all-events total. "For the most part, I felt like I was close, but not close enough. I wasn't feeling good about my game at all, but I have a great support base. My teammates held me up, and we just got going early today. We were able to stay with the transitions and had great communication. That's kind of how it was - it's a new day and just go."

Tejeda has had his share of 300s, and he noted the 11th shot always is the toughest for him.

"On the first shot, I wasn't as nervous," said Tejeda, who made his 17th Open Championships appearance. "I always find the 11th to be the worst one, so I tried to get the ball off my hand and get it going right, because that's the way we were playing it. On the third one, I figured we're here, make a quality shot and whatever happens, happens. It was exciting. I knew when I threw it, it was in play."

He now will join teammate Brent Neumann of Maple Grove, Minnesota, in the tournament's record book with a 300 on the championship lanes. Neumann rolled his perfect game during team competition at the 2021 Open Championships, also held at the Bowling Plaza.

In addition to sharing the moment with his teammates, the 300 and day were topped off for Tejeda by having his father, Raule, in attendance at South Point.

"It was amazing," Tejeda said. "To do that here on the big stage in front of my old man. It was awesome. I couldn't ask for a better day."

Zach Weidman at 2022 USBC Open ChampionshipsWeidman, a 27-year-old right-hander, had rolled games of 223 and 201 before his perfect finish for a 724 series. He was part of the Purdue Old Gold squad, which compiled a score of 3,270.

"We are all guys that have bowled for Purdue before," Weidman said. "We are all friends and know each other pretty well. A couple of the guys were even in my wedding."

Bowlers often find rolling a perfect game at the Open Championships is difficult on the nerves. Weidman had mixed emotions about his potential shot at perfection in the 10th frame.

"I wasn't really nervous until the 10th," Weidman said. "I try not to think about it till I get up in the 10th frame. After I tripped the 9 pin on the 10th shot, I got much more relaxed."

Weidman has been making a name for himself on the PBA Tour in recent seasons, making the show at the Central qualifier for the 2021 PBA Players Championship and finishing in third place at the 2021 PBA Chameleon Championship.

He compared bowling his 300 at the Open Championships to competing professionally on TV.

"It was probably more nerve-wracking here than on TV," Weidman said. "With all my teammates and everyone here, there's a lot more adrenaline going."

When he was asked how the accomplishment of bowling 300 at the Open Championships ranked against his professional accomplishments, Weidman said, "The 300 is up there. My TV appearances were highlights, but this, a 300 at the Open Championships, is something I really never thought would happen."

Weidman finished his fifth Open Championships appearance with sets of 640 in doubles and 542 in singles for a 1,906 all-events total.

Regular Singles and Regular All-Events features bowlers with entering averages of 176 and above. Regular Doubles includes pairs with combined entering averages of 351 and above.

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