Ohio bowler shoots 800, leads every event at ’16 OC

Matt Cannizzaro
USBC Communications
Published: March 15, 2016 | Bowl.com
RENO, Nev. – Robert J. Bures of Painesville, Ohio, helped his team into the lead at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Monday night, but he was far from done throwing strikes at the National Bowling Stadium.

The 28-year-old right-hander carried the momentum into doubles and singles Tuesday, and with help from his teammates to remain focused, he was able to close his fifth USBC Open Championships appearance with games of 279, 278 and 258 for an 815 series, taking the lead in Regular Singles with the first 800 of the 2016 event.

The performance also propelled Bures into the top spot in Regular All-Events with a 2,122 total, a 235.7 average for his nine games this week at the NBS. Matt Smallin of Glenburn, North Dakota, previously held the lead in both events with 785 and 2,060, respectively, shot less than 24 hours earlier.

“A lot of things do enter your mind when you’re bowling well, and I knew after two games in singles I had a shot at 800 and the lead, but I didn’t want to lose focus on each shot and trying to keep throwing strikes,” said Bures, who had 666 in team and 641 in doubles. “You just rely on all your practice and experience and take it one shot at a time. It’s still surreal to be able to shoot that score at Nationals. It’s an amazing feeling.”

But, more important than the individual success, is the fact that Bures gets to share the moment with his teammates. Together, they now lead every event in the Regular Division, plus the marathon Team All-Events, with a 9,598 total. They surpassed the 9,488 posted by 5 ICT Bowlers of Johnston, Iowa, over the weekend.

BowlesZitnik2016OCForWeb250x140Tuesday’s excitement started with Jason Bowles of Euclid, Ohio, and Matthew Zitnik of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, both throwing 10th-frame doubles to sneak into the Regular Doubles lead with a 1,341 total. Kevin Tatrow of Bel Aire, Kansas, and Will Barnes of Austin, Texas, previously topped the doubles standings with 1,335.

“We just worked really well as a team and helped each other out to make sure we all kept our heads in the game, even throughout doubles and singles,” said Bowles, who contributed a 712 series to the doubles effort, while Zitnik added 629. “We had to treat today a little differently because of the different pattern, but bowling multiple squads at the Bowlers Journal this week, as well as the practice session, really helped us understand the shots and what we needed to do.”

Heading into singles, Bowles was the front-runner for a chance at the all-events lead, but he eventually settled into third place with a 2,042 total, which included 681 in singles and 649 in team.

Robert A. Bures, the younger Bures’ father and a 1980 Regular Doubles champion at the Open Championships, added a 1,915 all-events total for Wickliffe Lanes and was followed by Zitnik (1,887) and Larry Strell (1,632).

WickliffeLanes2016OCForWeb465x262 (1)The group, which leads Regular Team with a 3,202 total, started preparing for this event long before making the journey to Reno. In fact, their preparation is ongoing, as they bowl together regularly and have the opportunity to practice on challenging lane conditions, or the actual tournament oil patterns once they become available, thanks to the support of the staff at Wickliffe Lanes.

The teammates know each other’s games well, they support each other on the lanes, they work together and they’re always communicating on the lanes. Their time at the 2016 Open Championships was a complete team effort, and they will celebrate their success the same way – together.

“I knew this was going to be a huge challenge, and I couldn’t have done well individually without all the practice beforehand and without the help and support of all my teammates,” Robert J. Bures said. “This means everything right now. It’s great to bowl well individually, but to know everyone can share in it is an unbelievable feeling.”

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