[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of two articles on the topic of USBC Open lane conditions and scoring levels. The first article provided information about the conditions as they affected the entire field, and to read that column, click here. This item takes a look at performances of bowlers from the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte County area.]
Similar to the situation regarding the entire field of competitors, bowlers from the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte County area battled lower-scoring conditions during the 2015 edition of the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, which concluded its 117-day run in El Paso, Texas, on July 11.
Every year as a whole, the local contingent receives a “reality check” with scoring levels far lower than those achieved in back-home leagues and tournaments, but the 2015 event proved even tougher than normal.
In the 2014 USBC Open in Reno, the field averaged 171.79, but that figure dropped to 164.01 in El Paso. In the Regular Division — containing bowlers with entering averages of 180 and up — the composite average fell from 178.38 to 170.05, while in the Classified Division (179-under), the average dropped from 149.24 to 142.18.
Similarly, the 46 Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte County bowlers in this year’s Regular Division averaged 167.75, and the 20 local Classified entrants averaged 142.53. The respective averages in the 2014 tourney were 174.1 and 152.9.
None of the area entrants matched their yearbook averages, and the closest-to-average player was Bob Pazur of Venice, whose 1,596 all-events score was only 24 total pins (2.6 per game) below his 180 average.
Only five other locals managed to come within 10 pins per game of their back-home averages: Mike Thompson of Sarasota (57 below for nine games), Gary Wagner of Bradenton (77), Steve Baran of Sarasota (80), Andrew Himler of Sarasota (81), and Jason Ferrill of Venice (86).
Baran posted the highest nine-game all-events score among area players with 1,864, while Dylan Clark of Bradenton — whose 238 entering average was highest among local entrants — scored an even 1,800.
Kent Wagner, a former touring professional from Sarasota, rolled a creditable all-events score of 1,759, but that was clearly far below his normal USBC Open performance. He shot 2,029 last year and over 2,000 three other times since 2007, and his lowest all-events tally over the previous nine years was 1,943 in 2009.
Two area bowlers continued impressive tournament longevity strings, with Paul Gustke of Sarasota making his 57th ABC/USBC Open appearance, while Mac Segar of Osprey increased his appearance total to 51.
Even more than in recent years, the El Paso lane conditions put a premium on accuracy, giving clear indication that lane dressing represents the primary factor in modern-day THS (house shot) scoring levels, because regardless of what high-powered equipment the bowlers utilized, few were able to approach back-home scores.
To gain easy access to complete USBC Open scoring data — including the leaderboard, individual results, low-to-cash figures and estimated prize fund — click here.
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