BATON ROUGE, La. - Matt Smith of Altoona, Iowa, has enjoyed many successes and memorable moments in his career at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and he celebrated a major milestone with his new teammates at the Baton Rouge River Center on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old right-hander competed with an experienced group from near his hometown for the first time, and their knowledge and support paid off as he rolled the 12th perfect game of the 2012 tournament.
Smith's 300 came between games of 236 and 220 for a 756 singles set, which is eighth in Regular Singles. Henry Teetz III of West Allis, Wis., leads with 800.
"It had been a rough tournament carry-wise up until that point, so it was nice to be able to turn it around and end on such a high note," said Smith, who bowls league at Premiere Bowling in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, and made his 13th USBC Open Championships appearance. "I thought I threw the ball well in team and doubles, but I didn't score very well. I just wanted to put those sets behind me. I know if you get lined up and execute well, good things can happen here."
Smith added 663 in team and 631 in doubles for a 2,050 all-events effort to help Fran's Pro Shop 1 of Waterloo, Iowa, into fourth place in Team All-Events with a 9,795 total.
He was joined by Gordon Kilpatrick (1,989), Kurt Krull (1,979), Joseph Engelkes (1,889) and Ronald Tragord (1,888). The group also moved into eighth place in Regular Team with a 3,239 effort Monday night. S&B Pro Shop 1 of Clinton Township, Mich., and Nicholas J's Pro Shop 2 of La Crosse, Wis., lead Team All-Events and Regular Team with 9,954 and 3,401, respectively.
"This was a much different experience for me because I was with a new group this year," Smith said. "They have tons of experience at this tournament and a lot of knowledge to share, and I really enjoyed being a part of it. We passed a lot of information and worked well together in team, and that definitely carried over to today."
Former Team USA member and 2008 QubicaAMF World Cup champion Derek Eoff of Madison, Wis., also threw his share of strikes at the River Center as he made a run at the top spot in Regular All-Events before coming up three pins short and settling into second place with a 2,167 total on Monday night. Ryan Whitney of Lewisville, Texas, leads with 2,170.
Eoff started his 2012 tournament campaign with a 779 set, the highest individual series in the team event this year, and added 684 in doubles and 704 in singles. He also helped Clone Huskers into fifth place in Team All-Events with 9,770 and seventh place in Regular Team with 3,244.
The 31-year-old right-hander was joined by his former University of Nebraska teammates Tim Behrendt (2,027), Daniel White (1,943), Adam Cardwell (1,895) and Rick Volhard (1,738).
"I've been bowling with the same guys for a few years now," said Eoff, who also was the 2008 USBC Team USA Trials champion. "We had a game plan as a team this year, which we hadn't committed to in the past. Our score this year really reflects that. We work well with each other, and that goes for doubles and singles, too. We still consider that part of our teamwork as we help each other stay ahead of the moves and with the right ball."
Another group of former collegiate standouts fell just short of the Regular Team lead.
Former Team USA member and Wichita State University star John Szczerbinski of Wichita, Kan., led CareerAthletes.com into second place with games of 1,138, 1,098 and 1,108 for a 3,344 total Sunday. He posted a 710 series and was followed by Jesse Buss (702), A.J. Demond (690), Chris Drewes (634) and Casey Slaughter (608).
Sponsors for the 2012 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno. Other sponsors include the Belle of Baton Rouge, official brackets sponsor; Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Humana, official registration sponsor; Bud Light and Budweiser, official beer sponsors; The Advocate, official publication sponsor; Brunswick, official lane provider; Steltronic, official scoring system; Storm Bowling Products and Nationwide Insurance.