North Dakota bowler rolls first perfect game of 2010 USBC Open Championships

RENO, Nev. - Barry Zimmerman of Grand Forks, N.D., has been on the verge of perfection at the USBC Open Championships before, and when he got a second chance to add his name to the record books, he took full advantage and rolled the first 300 game of the 2010 event.

The 49-year-old right-hander started singles with 12 consecutive strikes and added games of 230 and 236 for a 766 series at the National Bowling Stadium on Monday night, which also moved him into the top spot in Regular Singles. Larry Thompson Jr. of Spring, Texas previously held the lead with 742.

Since shooting 299 in his final game of singles at the 2002 tournament in Billings, Mont., Zimmerman has been eager for a shot at redemption on the tournament lanes.

"I've had a 299 at the Open, but never a 300," said Zimmerman, who made his 21st Open Championships appearance. "I really wanted one and really enjoyed getting it. I even got a little nervous, even though I thought I was past that."

Zimmerman's final shot Monday drifted high, but he caught a break and tripped the 4 pin.

"I was thinking I was going to go high, and it was in a little bit," Zimmerman said. "I played the lanes fairly tight, so I got lucky to trip the 4 pin. A little luck is always good, though."

Having the right equipment also is important for any bowler looking for success at the Open Championships, and when Zimmerman didn't have exactly what he needed in his own bag, he turned to his teammate, Jeff Linnell, for assistance.

Because the two have nearly identical spans and pitches, they can throw each other's equipment, and Zimmerman found the ball he needed in Linnell's bag.

"My speed was a little down, and there was nothing hard enough in my bag," said Zimmerman, who regularly bowls at Red Ray Lanes in Grand Forks. "Jeff and I switch equipment all the time, so I borrowed something of his that would go a little farther down the lane. It hung in doubles if I got it to the right, but worked very well in singles."

Zimmerman's 26-strike effort in singles was a result of working together with the other bowlers on his pair of lanes. With a career average of 205.5 at the Open Championships, he knows that attacking the lanes together can benefit the entire group.

"The guys from North Dakota like to play the same part of the lanes," Zimmerman said. "We joked about carving a hole to create a hook spot. I could move in and bounce off the dry. I had great ball reaction."

Zimmerman added 668 in team and 610 in doubles for a 2,044 all-events score, which puts him second in Regular All-Events behind Matt Smith of Altoona, Iowa (2,073).

"It feels really good for right now, but I don't expect it to hold up," Zimmerman said. "There are a lot of good guys coming behind me, but I'm happy with where I am."

Presenting sponsors for the 2010 USBC Open Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado and Silver Legacy Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Sands Regency Casino Hotel, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, UPS, Nationwide Insurance, Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa, Harrah's Reno Casino and Hotel and Peppermill Hotel Casino.