By Michael Cousins
We have new leaders at the USBC Open Championships, and all of them are familiar names in the bowling community: Matthew Gasn, David O’Sullivan, Shawn Naumann, Sean Riccardi, and PJ Haggerty.
Gasn, currently residing in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he works for Ebonite International, put together games of 251, 286, and 265 for an impressive 802 series – the first 800 of the tournament – in singles, good enough to take the lead.
Gasn used a combination of two balls for his 802 series: an Ebonite Gamebreaker Phenom Pearl and a Track Kinetic pearl. The first two games of singles, Gasn stuck with his Phenom Pearl on both lanes, where it gave him the exact reaction he was looking for. In game 3, he started to lose the right lane. After some deliberation, he decided to switch balls to the Kinetic pearl on the right lane. That, coupled with the Phenom Pearl, allowed him to finish with a bang and capture the lead.
Gasn’s 802 led the way in singles for his team, Vanilla Salsa, David O’sullivan, Shawn Naumann, Sean Riccardi, and PJ Haggerty, to make their run at the Team All-Events lead, where his teammates followed his lead with sets of 696 (Naumann), 684 (Haggerty), 676 (Riccardi), and 650 (O’sullivan).
In all, Naumann finished with an All-Events score of 2,053, good enough to move into second for All-Events. Gasn, thanks to his strong finish in singles, had 2,025, and O’sullivan finished up with 1,960, both of which are currently top 10 scores. Haggerty and Riccardi finished up with 1,854 and 1,851, respectively.
Being friends with these guys and having talked with them post-tournament, they believe that what led to their success was patience and commitment. “We bowled awesome, communicated well, and trusted each other’s eyes to help us with our next move,” said O’Sullivan. “We did a great job of breaking down the lanes. We came up with a game plan, had confidence in it, and stuck to it.”
Another key factor in their success, from an outsider’s perspective, has to be their relationships. This is a tight-knit group of guys that know each other’s games very, very well. They can play off of one another’s strengths and are able to mask one another’s weaknesses – though there are very few in this strong group.
Execution and strategy are always at the top of the list when it comes to finding success at the Open Championships, but never discredit the effect that comradery has on a team’s overall success. This, in my opinion, is living proof of that. Putting together a talented group of guys is the easy part. Coming together as one with one goal in mind is another.
I can honestly tell you that even if their Team All-Events score doesn’t hold up and Gasn’s singles score does, they will all view that Eagle as a team accomplishment. And that is exactly what it is.
Enjoy the wait, gentlemen!