My preparations for the 2013 USBC Masters are just about complete. This past weekend, I bowled in a 10-game scratch tournament. I was hoping for a confidence builder. Instead, I got a wake up call. Unknown to me, they had put down the 2011 Women's US Open oil pattern.
I thought I was lucky finding a line early around 5 board, but over time, it seemed like splitting hairs to hit the pocket and carry. It became a challenge to put two strikes together. After 4 games, I was only +31, and well behind the leader. For the next 4 games, I experimented with different balls and different lines to try to catch up and only wound up creating a larger deficit. The last 2 games, I moved back outside with a weaker ball, and scored a little better, but still finished the day only +11...ouch!
Later, after I got home, I looked up the pattern and found it to be 39 feet, with a 5:1 ratio. The area around 5 that I was playing was flat. I needed to be in deeper, around 8-10, to get a little help from the pattern. I had the right ball in my hand. What I needed to do is make a 5 and 5 move inside with my feet and target. But, that never occurred to me, and I wasted time trying everything else instead. Doh!
When I get to the Masters, I will have to be sharper. Even with the right ball, playing the right line, the ratio is likely to be closer to 2:1. So, there will be a premium on making good shots. If I gained anything from this weekend's experience, it was practice playing on a flatter shot, and a realization of the challenge ahead.
A/S/L: 53/M/Virginia Beach, VA
+11 on the flat part of the pattern is nothing to be ashamed of. We just had a 10 or 12 game marathon (15 maybe?), on the flat US Open pattern, and -1 won it. I didn't bowl in it, as it was held on a Sunday night before MLK day, and I didn't have the day off, so I stayed home. They do that around here- whenever there's a holiday that falls on a Monday, there's a tournament that starts Sunday night at about 11.
Experience is something you get immediately after you need it most
Thanks Fin. I like watching the following video for inspiration. It shows underdog lefty stroker Mike Scroggins, wrist-brace-and-all, playing straight up the outside to win against Norm Duke in the final match of the 2005 USBC Masters. Norm was pointing the ball from the outside, too. He almost took it from Scroggy after he got a little over-confident and said "you can't beat that" on a solid strike, then left a 7-10 split the next frame. Norm struck out to force Scroggy to mark in the 10th for the win.
I won't know this year's pattern until the first day of practice. But, if it plays straight and outside like that for the righties as well as the lefties, I like my chances better, being a lefty stroker myself.
A/S/L: 47 Male, Malta NY
Scroggy, he's not just a pretty face. He's one of those "favorite pros who wear wrist braces" I mentioned in another thread, Shannon O'Keefe and Liz Johnson also coming immediately to mind. That 7-10 was BRUTAL, as much as I'm a Duke fan I'm glad this didn't cost Scroggins the title. Great performance by both bowlers. Good luck at the Masters!
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Thanks, Rick. Yes, Scroggy may be underrated, but he is a bowling machine. I believe he still holds the PBA record for most 200 games in a row. He once had fifteen 800 series in a single season. And, he used to hold the USBC record for highest league average, 256.8 (now Jeff Carter, 261.7, yikes!). While Mike Scroggins is the nicest guy off the lanes, when he steps up on the approach, his eyes look like a hungry shark. I will be bowling the same A squad as him this year, and I hope to get a chance to see him in action. Another favorite you mentioned, Liz Johnson, will be bowling the B squad.
Richie V. Virtual League Secretary, Virtual League Champion x4
A/S/L: 52/M/Brockton, MA
I told Joe earlier in a PM that he's bowling in the same squad as Ryan Yelle, who is my association's reigning Bowler of the Year and won his entry in said Bowler of the Year tournament. I'd be very interested in seeing the A squad lane assignments to see if Joe and Ryan are together.
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I will be sure to say Hi for you, Richie, if I cross paths with your friend, Ryan Yelle.
I have not mentioned them by name in this thread, but there are a number of regional pros and other local bowlers whose names I recognize on the roster from various local tournaments I have bowled. It will be fun seeing them and competing with them on the national stage.
These guys are all great bowlers. But, as an amateur myself, it's encouraging to know that not all of the competitors are seasoned national tour veterans. The first cut is down to 63 bowlers, plus last year's champion (Mike Fagan). I figure that 30-40 spots will likely go to the recognizable names. The rest of us are competing for the remaining 20-30 spots.
The pattern is pretty flat as expected. Of course, I will have to wait to see my ball reaction, and where the other bowlers are playing. But, with a 39 foot pattern, and looking at the area of increasing oil, it appears that 8 board is the key, both vertically and horizontally.
Keep an eye on David O'Sullivan he's my coach, great bowler, he'll probably do decent
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