New Jersey bowler reaches 50 years at USBC Open Championships

LAS VEGAS – Philip Wengryn of Somerville, New Jersey, was able to honor his father by making his 50th appearance at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Friday.

Wengryn, 75, made his debut at the tournament during the 1967 event in Miami when his father, Peter, needed a sixth bowler for doubles and singles competition. He spent many years bowling alongside his father and several of his uncles, making the annual trip all about family.

“My father needed someone for doubles and singles, and that’s how I started,” Wengryn said. “He had 47 years (at the tournament) before he had a stroke. He was hoping to get to 50, but it didn’t happen. I wanted to reach 50 for him.”

He received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin at the South Point Bowling Plaza on Friday to commemorate his longevity on the lanes, and the tournament experience simply has been enjoyable for Wengryn over the years.

“It still really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Wengryn said. “I never really thought about it. I just kept coming all these years, and I enjoyed it. It’s something to look forward to every year.”

Traveling across the country and seeing new spots has been a highlight for Wengryn through his appearances at the USBC Open Championships, and he particularly enjoyed stops in the Midwest like Wichita, Kansas, for the 1989 event.

Wichita also served as the home of his first all-events score north of 1,800 (1,835), and his top overall performance on the lanes took place during his trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2000.

Wengryn posted sets of 680 in singles, 622 in doubles and 602 in team that year for a 1,904 total.

His top series occurred during his visit to the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, in 2007. He rolled games of 230, 206 and 267 for a 703 series in singles.

With his 50th appearance now in the books, Wengryn has recorded a career pinfall of 79,613 at the Open Championships for a lifetime average of 178.1.

Wengryn plans to continue his annual excursion to the tournament moving forward.

“I’ll probably get to as many as I can, but health is a big thing,” Wengryn said. “I just always come out and try to have fun and bowl well. It’s nice to get away and do what you like to do.”

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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