RENO, Nev. – The highest team game in 111 years of United States Bowling Congress Open Championships history was rolled Friday night as 123Bowl.com of Naugatuck, Conn., shot 1,299 at the National Bowling Stadium.
Beginning in the second frame, the team rallied for 32 consecutive strikes, and 34 out of 35, before a few bad breaks slowed the pace. The previous record of 1,281 was posted by Turbo 2-N-1 Grips 1 of Madison, Wis. (now 11thFrame.com 1), on the way to the 2011 Regular Team title, also at the NBS.
Ronald Broege Jr. and Thomas Solimine Jr. led the way for 123Bowl.com with a pair of 279 games, and they were joined by Tim Gillick (254), Jeff Voght (244) and Dave Kipperman (243).
“We really didn’t think about it until around the fourth or fifth frame when we started to look up and saw a big string of strikes,” said Voght, who rolled a perfect game at the 2009 USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas. “That’s something you normally don’t see here. We started to talk among ourselves, joking that we didn’t want to be the guy who messed up the string.”
The group’s record effort came between games of 1,009 and 1,073 for a 3,381 total, which is just outside the top 10 in Regular Team. Motion Plus Lanes of Cudahy, Wis., leads with a record score of 3,561.
Solimine finished the night with a 768 series and was followed by Broege (742), Voght (629), Gillick (627) and Kipperman (615).
“We started off slow the first game,” said Gillick, who made his ninth tournament appearance. “Then, it was off to the races from there. It was nerve-racking. You wouldn’t really be nervous in the sixth frame of the second game, but nobody wanted to be the guy to miss. Tom was unfortunate, he threw a good shot and left a 10 pin, but we knew the record was possible, so we wanted to stay focused and keep it going.”
Friday’s memorable run definitely was a team effort that included 123Bowl.com’s companion team, BuddiesProShop.com, which posted games of 1,159, 1,134 and 1,101 for a 3,394 total and 10th place overall.
Matt Deuire set the pace with a 739 set and was followed by Chris Forry (719), former Team USA members Brian Graham (704) and Michael Mullin (660) and Professional Bowlers Association 50 Tour champion Sam Maccarone (572).
The teams now must turn their focus to the event’s second oil pattern and six games of doubles and singles. They will return to the lanes Saturday morning at 11 a.m. hoping to track down Janz’s H.I. of Beaver Dam, Wis., which leads Team All-Events with a 10,363 total.
“Everybody comes out here and wants to win,” Gillick said. “They want to leave their mark on the tournament, whether it’s getting an eagle or doing something like this. It hasn’t sunk in yet that we shot the highest game in tournament history. It’s unreal.”
Matt Cannizzaro and Aaron Smith