Live from El Paso

Posted by: champ

Live from El Paso - 05/02/15 05:25 PM

Hey everyone, just thought I would start a live update thread from the Open Championships here in El Paso.

I just got here. An easy four hour drive from my house in Tucson. I haven't made it to the convention center, but I'm headed there soon.

I just read that we have a new singles leader...Ronnie Sparks Jr with a 793.

Tonight I'm going to be watching Matt McNiel and the Linds Lakers bowling live. For the bowling geek in me, that alone is worth the trip.

I'm going to be bowling the Bowler's Journal tomorrow, and tweaking my equipment as necessary afterwards. Then I bowl the last team squad of the day, and D/S on Monday. Headed home on Tuesday, but not without a stop at the War Eagles airplane museum first.

The weather is good, the city is nice and clean, and I'm ready to bowl!
Posted by: wronghander

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/03/15 02:44 PM

Good luck and good skill today and tomorrow. I think bowling in a low scoring center and having prior experience in the Open is going to help you out. Looking forward to finding out how it went.
Posted by: champ

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/03/15 07:24 PM

Last night, watching McNiel shoot 727 leading his team to 3rd place, I knew he had a look to take All-Events. After bowling the Bowlers Journal today, I watched McNiel and Vashaw shoot 1403 for 2nd in doubles. Then McNiel added 765 for 6th in singles and to rack up 2226 for the All-Events lead. I watched every shot of his nine games, which I'm almost certain will net him a historic third All-Events Eagle.

The Bowlers Journal went decently. I shot 565. I thought the fresh pattern wasn't all that hard, with about four boards to hit the pocket. But we switched pairs every game, and I lost my look after that. In the future, I will probably just book a session on the showcase lanes where my team mates and I can attempt to carve a shot.

I'm feeling good and confident heading into the team event tonight.
Posted by: champ

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/04/15 07:44 PM

Well despite watching a nine game clinic from Matt McNiel, and feeling like I had a great arsenal with me, Team event didn't go well at all.

I couldn't get any of my equipment to slow down in the midlane and roll smoothly. That was my key to trying to control the lane condition, and I just couldn't make it work. Then I was stubborn, trying to make the outside work when I had no real shot. I finally moved in in game three, and then took a few frames before I got matched up.

I shot 151, 152, 191 for a 494 series; my lowest to date at the Open Championships. My spare game wasn't horrendous, but I did chop a couple makeables, and I had no doubles in the set to make up for the holes.

Tonight is doubles and singles, and I'm going to need a much better performance on the slightly easier pattern to rally from last night's disappointment.

Regardless of how I finish, its clear that I need some pro shop help. I tried asking a few questions of the guys at the booths and found most of them to be arrogant, antagonistic, and willing to listen or help. Eric at the Storm both, and Frankie May at the Motiv booth however were clear exceptions. Great help and service.
Posted by: Joe Bowler

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/05/15 10:03 AM

Good luck in doubles and singles, Champ!

It's been a few years since I bowled the Open Championships, but after practicing for 4 weeks on the same surface and patterns and doing well, I decided to give it another go. While out there, I bowled the Bowlers Journal event first, on the doubles/single pattern. The 2 balls I brought which worked so well at home were hooking out of my hand. By the last game, I was up against the ball return with nowhere left to move. I tried again during practice with the same balls in the team and d/s event, and wound up choosing to roll plastic polished with a slip agent for all 9 games. It was hooking at least 16 boards. I finished all events just above 1600. It was very disappointing.

I say all this to highlight what an amazing performance by Matt Mcniel. What he has accomplished is hard to believe occurred on the same lanes. Those would be good scores even on a house shot. I'd love to know his secret.
Posted by: champ

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/05/15 12:08 PM

Thanks Joe. Unfortunately, I didn't have much more luck.

The fresh Doubles and Singles pattern starts, in my opinion, easier than the team event. But that didn't make it easy. In doubles, I shot 153, 197 (clean), and 163 for a 513. I had a 7-10 in the 9th of the last game, so I thought I was on an upward trend, and I may at least have a decent series.

But then I started singles with three opens and never was able to regain focus after that point. I shot 138, 163, 162 for a miserable 463 and 1470 All-Events.

I wasn't expecting to shoot huge. My goal, for knowing how tough the patterns were was 1620 (a 180 average.) I came up way short. It was a combination of a lot of factors. I hadn't gotten a good night sleep in a few days, we were bowling the late squad both days, the lanes were tougher than I expected, I only threw two doubles in the tournament, and I had no good luck. I didn't trip a single 4 pin, or carry a single brooklyn shot, or crumble any of the splits I left.

Bad bowling. But NOT a bad time or bad experience.

El Paso was nice. The Convention Center and the built bowling facility was gorgeous. The staff (with the exception of the booth guys) was helpful, courteous, and energetic. The food was great. The weather was great. Altogether it was a great experience and I'm looking forward to Reno 2016.

And Joe, you're absolutely right; its hard to fathom how Matt shot what he did on those lanes. If the tournament staff wanted to give me an additional three games to catch McNiel I'd need to shoot 756.
Posted by: wronghander

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/05/15 01:24 PM

Originally Posted By: champ
Regardless of how I finish, its clear that I need some pro shop help. I tried asking a few questions of the guys at the booths and found most of them to be arrogant, antagonistic, and willing to listen or help. Eric at the Storm both, and Frankie May at the Motiv booth however were clear exceptions. Great help and service.

I know how you feel. I hate it when I reach out to someone in the bowling community for advice or even just to wish them good luck and they don't even acknowledge you.
Posted by: vdubtx

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/05/15 02:53 PM

I have always gotten that vibe from the guys in the booths at Nationals. They have such ego's. I know one of them in the Hammer booth so he is actually cool. But the rest of the manufacturers won't give the time of day unless you are buying a ball from them right then.
Posted by: Joe Bowler

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/06/15 04:38 PM

Interesting podcast with Matt Mcniel:
Posted by: 6_ball_man

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/07/15 05:04 PM

Here's a link to the full schedule, if you wanna watch live.
Sometimes they spring an unannounced one...
Posted by: champ

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/07/15 05:21 PM

After reflecting on my performance at Nationals, I think its clear I just wasn't far enough outside. There was a line to the pocket around 9 at the arrows that gave me a little swing area, and I camped out there. The problem was I had bad over/under. I assumed that was the nature of the pattern and to some extent it is. Get it wide and it won't come back. Tug it left its going Brooklyn. But from watching some archived footage I see bowlers on the line struggling with the same issues I had, while bowlers piping the 4-5 area have at least a more consistent reaction.

This tournament is by far my favorite thing I've found in bowling, and I want to achieve success there. Its clear a lot of work is in order. I was pleased with my performance last year, and bitterly disappointed with this year. I'm back two days, and I've got a lesson with a Silver Coach booked, and I plan to meet with him several times over the next year.
Posted by: SteveH

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/07/15 09:53 PM

Trouble is, you may see those conditions, never again.
Posted by: dalion

Re: Live from El Paso - 05/27/15 04:48 PM

I was somewhat disappointed in my bowling at this yrs event also. Mainly in doubles. I was 'ok' in the team event, I think I shot a 540? I have an "a" game and "b" game, the only difference is in my "a" game, I take my thumb out of the ball. I generally stick w/ my conventional "b" game at nationals, so I started out playing between 2nd an 3rd arrows, after moving to the 3rd arrow, oil started carrying down, and had to move back right again. I noticed Brian Himmler an Mike Devaney playing deep inside so I actualy started my 3rd game w/ my thumb out playing deep inside, between 3rd an 4th an I got 3 strikes an 2 splits, so I gave up. To me it looked like sometimes the ball would just hang too long at the break point an leave you with a split. I could not avoid the splits.

I heard them say that they made the shot tough this year because of all the high scores bowled last year. For doubles, I think, like you, perhaps lack of sleep? I dunno, I felt like I just wasn't ready to bowl, plus it was 9am. My throws were all over the place. I tried to play that deep inside line but after a few throws, it seemed the oil wasn't holding up. I couldn't project the ball right, it kept hooking early, so I went back to bowling conventional between 2nd a 3rd arrows. I also missed some easy spares and 'splitsville' continued as well. Eventually, the oil moved down the lane and the balls just stopped hooking. I had to take all finger action out of my throw an just stroke the ball up the 12 board. I was able to at least hit the pocket consistently that way, but left several 10 pins. My spare game had improved though an I was able to pick up most of my spares by the end of doubles. Also it seemed, light hits carried well. I started off singles w/ this approach also an managed a 190. 2nd gm had only 2 opens (splits) but could only muster a 172 (just couldn't put strikes together). For the last gm of singles, I switched back to my "a" game, standing next to the ball return an throwing between 3rd an 4th an got a nice reaction. It seemed the oil had settled down by then. had my only clean game of the tourney rolling a 207. I had just under 1600 total, mainly due to my 470 doubles set. So based on low to cash #'s, I should cash in singles, and I believe our team was in 45th? place (Classified). So I'll get a check but clearly it won't cover my expenses.

With the exception of doubles, I was ok w/ my performance given the tough conditions. Was also witness to Craig Ndiffer's 753 performance just a few lanes down from me. Amazing. I think I need to get my body in better shape. Something to work on throughout this year. Next tournament up: Dutchman.
Posted by: vdubtx

Re: Live from El Paso - 06/01/15 11:23 AM

Back from my trip to El Paso. Had 1 practice session prior to heading to Nationals at the ITRC in Arlington so had some sense of what the pattern was going to do.

Arrived Tuesday evening, went to check out the venue. Was laid out rather nice.

Shot Bowler's Journal on Wednesday afternoon, only shot 544. Got too fast a few times. Shot 40 frame game that evening, always have fun at that event.

Thursday was Team Event.
Shot 235-234-191 = 662 Extremely happy with that.

Friday evening was Double/singles:
Doubles 189-196-186 = 571

Singles 179-213-191 = 583

All events - 662-571-583 = 1816

My highest score to date of my 3 trips to Nationals. Needless to say, I am very happy with that. Should cash in all but Team as most had a very tough time with the pattern.

Really have to control speed and make sure you don't get out side of 8-9 board too soon. I played rather straight piping up 10-12 at arrows with very slight swing. If I had caught transition early enough at end of Doubles/beginning of singles I could have put up more.

Spare shooting was definitely at a premium. Missed 2 single pins, a 2 and a 10. But multi pin spares were tough. Missed a few 3-6-10's, picking out 2 of the pins each time. Took out the 8 of a 2-8 once.

All in all a good trip. El Paso was great, nice town with nice people. We shot next to some locals in each event and got the low down on some places to eat at.

On Doubles and singles, the pair next to us was Earon Vollmar, he shot the last 900 series back in January. He struggled a bit on the patterns. Think I saw his All Events score was in the 1700's. He throws a nice ball, but is very animated when things don't go his way. Arms were thrown up many times.