Record performance helps Florida team to Standard lead at Open Championships

BOWL.com Article Image
By Nick Bonsanto
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS
- The Standard Team lead at the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships had been held since April 24 before the members of JW's All Stars of Wellington, Florida, fired a record score of 3,132 to take the lead Tuesday.

Team members Andrew Lawson (643 series), Edwin Jawdy (561), Russell Weltzien (597), Bryan Jones (615) and Keith Bradford (716) posted the highest team score since the introduction of the Standard Division in 2017 to best the Lemont Bandits of Oak Lawn, Illinois, who had held the lead with the previous record of 3,097.

After rolling games of 971 and 1,018, JW's All Stars needed a third-game total of 1,109 to take the outright lead. They surpassed that number and didn't stop there, also firing the highest team game in the history of the Standard Division with 1,143.

The score broke the previous single-game record of 1,133 set in 2021 by Him Bowling Events 7 of Chula Vista, California.

It was not an easy journey to the top of the leaderboard for JW's All Stars, though. Less than 24 hours before the start of competition, the team found itself in need of a fifth bowler. Enter Bryan Jones.

"I was bowling in the Bowlers Journal yesterday and changed squads by chance," Jones said. "Then, one of the bowlers I was bowling with was talking to the JW's All Stars team, and I told them I was looking for a team to bowl with. They came and asked me to bowl with them, and I said sure."

Bradford joked about getting Jones to bowl, saying, "We were at a point where we just needed a bowler not to get a zero."

Lawson added, "It happened to the team last year when someone got hurt, and we had to take a zero. We didn't want that to happen again."

Not taking a zero was far from what happened, as Jones, from Louisville, Kentucky, chipped in with games of 185, 222 and 208.

The shot that clinched the lead was thrown by Bradford from the anchor spot. Stepping up in the 10th frame on a string of eight strikes in a row, Bradford needed a nine count on the first shot to seal the lead.

He did more than that, throwing three strikes to finish his day with a 290 game.

"I just knew I had to give it a chance," Bradford said. "The first one was really important. The second strike was kind of dumb luck."

Bradford and Lawson were the only two that knew what the team needed to take the lead. That was because Lawson loves numbers and knew where they stood.

"I knew it," Lawson said. "I didn't say it, but I look at the scores all the time. About the fourth frame is when I really thought we had a chance. I only told Keith about the numbers."

Bradford recalled talking to Lawson before he stepped up in the 10th, "I asked Andrew, if I do something stupid on the first ball in the 10th, how close are we?"

The team overcame additional obstacles during the day at the South Point Bowling Plaza to get where they were by the end of it. Not only did they need a substitute, but Jawdy had to fight off an injury in the third game to complete the task.

"I slipped and tweaked my knee at the start of the third game," Jawdy said. "The last five frames, I just went for it and said if they have to drag me off the approach, oh well."

Bradford added while laughing, "I said break it if you have to."

Jawdy overcame his pain in the third game for a score of 200.

Outside of the obstacles, the team did have some championship pedigree on their side.

Weltzien is the brother of group captain, John Weltzien, who is a two-time Eagle winner. John won Regular Singles in 1994 with an 810 series and is a member of the Team All-Events champion from the 1995 event.

Russell would like to join his brother as an Eagle winner at the USBC Open Championships.

"I would have never guessed that I would be in this position to be a possible Eagle winner," Russell joked. "John won his cups when he was younger, so if I win, I could brag I have the most recent cup."

JW's All Stars will be watching scores to see if their lead holds up over the final weeks of the 2022 Open Championships, which ends July 18.

"I'll be watching the scores and probably text the guys what's going on," Lawson said. "Even before we got here, I was looking at the numbers. I will definitely be watching. We'll celebrate when the last person rolls the last ball in the tournament."

Standard Team features five-player teams with composite entering averages of 776-875.

Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open Championships page.