Indiana bowler takes senior lead with 802 at 2024 Bowlers Journal Championships

LAS VEGAS – Sometimes, you need to make the best of a situation and get right back to work when things don’t necessarily go as planned.

Ron Hurt of Greenwood, Indiana, originally hoped to be spending his Friday competing at Sam’s Town Bowling Center in the 64-player bracket for the United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters.

The 52-year-old right-hander was in the top 10 after Day 1 of qualifying and just outside of the top 20 after Day 2. Unfortunately, he was unable to get his ball to shape through the pins the right way during Thursday’s final qualifying round and fell out of the cut to advance.

This provided an opportunity for Hurt to spend a couple shifts at the South Point Bowling Center instead on Friday, and he made the most of it in his second session of the day at the 2024 Bowlers Journal Championships.

Hurt started his set with 10 strikes, before a 7 pin halted his run to finish with 289. He followed with 257 and started Game 3 with eight strikes before a 10 pin and conversion in the ninth.

Stepping up in the 10th frame, Hurt could have struck out for 279 to get to 825, but a 7-10 was left standing on his first delivery. He took one pin to finish with 256 for an 802 series to take over the Senior Singles lead by 36 pins at the 2024 event.

Warren Eales of Las Vegas and Chris Warren of Plano, Texas, had shared the lead with 766.

“I’m in town for the Senior Masters, and I was on C Squad with a great cross,” Hurt said. “I was with Brian LeClair and Robert Smith, and on the double-burn I go +200 – Brian was a great help keeping me lined up. I didn’t have quite the same look the next day but got to around +60 on the day. I came in on the fresh yesterday and think I threw the ball great – I just couldn’t carry. I couldn’t find the right ball to go through the pins the right way on the fresh, and it just got me. I don’t think I had a double until the third game, and maybe one or two doubles after that. It dropped me out of the cut, but I couldn’t be mad at myself. I felt I threw the ball well but just couldn’t get it to go through the pins the right way.”

His first session at the Bowlers Journal on Friday didn’t go as hoped, but it gave him the opportunity to try some things for the block later in the day.

“I bowled the first squad this morning, and I did not do well,” Hurt said. “I left some splits in there, so I tried to get lined up with some stuff and used it more as a practice session. In the next squad, I was able to catch a good cross with Walter (Ray Williams Jr.), and he was throwing a little bit of urethane, which gave me some hold and a good look out there. I threw the ball well and was fortunate to get the carry.

“I think it was more of just keep doing what I was doing. I tried to keep the ball in front of me and not go away from that, because there wasn’t room outside for me. I think I threw some pretty good shots that last game, but that 10th frame was a little rough.”

Hurt has been a familiar face for the last two seasons on the Professional Bowlers Association 50 Tour after retiring from Air Force.

After bowling early last year at the USBC Open Championships in Reno, Nevada, and taking the lead in Regular Team and Team All-Events with the members of Chili Garlic Edamame (David O’Sullivan, Shawn Naumann, Sean Riccardi and PJ Haggerty), Hurt picked up his card to make his run against the best players age 50 and older in the world.

Chili Garlic Edamame finished third in Team All-Events and fifth in Regular Team at the 2023 Open Championships.

The members of Chili Garlic Edamame at the 2023 USBC Open Championships

“I joined the PBA last year after I bowled with PJ and the guys,” Hurt said. “We bowled early in March, and the PBA50 events started in April. We did great and ended up third in Team All-Events, but I had made the decision before we bowled that I wanted to give PBA50 a shot.

“I was in the Air Force and retired after 28 years, so I never had the opportunity to really bowl the PBA stuff. Once I retired from the Air Force, it was something I wanted to try out and give a shot, and I’m really enjoying it.”

Competing week in and out against the top players has helped Hurt keep his game sharp, and he’s happy to see that the hard work came through with the big individual effort at the Bowlers Journal Championships.

“I’m happy about it, and I think it’s a little bit of redemption from yesterday,” Hurt said. “I’ve bowled all the PBA50 stops so far this year and have done pretty well in those. I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well, and if you continue to throw the ball well, that carry will come.

“It would mean a lot (to win). I’ve been close on the PBA50 side – close in some regionals and close in some national stops – but I haven’t broken through yet to win anything. I was on a great team at the Open Championships, and I thought that was my best opportunity to win an Eagle. I’ve done OK on the individual side, but nothing big, so if this could work out, it’d be awesome.”

The 2024 Open Championships got underway Feb. 23 and will run through July 29 at the South Point Bowling Plaza. The tournament is scheduled to feature more than 11,000 teams and 55,000 bowlers making their way to compete in Las Vegas.

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