2011 USBC Masters – Amatuer’s View

I haven’t posted in a long while and thought I’d give you an amatuer’s view of participating in the 2011 USBC Masters.  The trip from Maine wasn’t bad, a little tiring.  The best thing, my luggage and bowling equipment made it with me.  I didn’t have to wait and wonder where it was.  Looking at this year’s roster there are quite a few pros and bowlers from around the world.

Some of the pros include; Liz Johnson, Chris Warren, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Chris Barnes, Norm Duke, Walter Ray Willams, Jr, and many more.  The countries represent include; Finland, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Columbia, and the Phillipines.

Today was optional practice.  Being my first trip to the Masters and having reviewed last year’s pattern, I wasn’t going to give up any chance to practice on the pattern shot.  The arsenal I brought to the Master’s was the Storm Invasion, Elite Red Alien, Storm Paradigm Passion, Storm Special Agent, and the Hammer Black Widow plastic ball.  I thought I had a good pattern of ball use worked out only to have to trash 5 frames into practice.

The Invasion (supposed to be my aggressive ball) was limping to the pocket.  It spent more time sliding than turning.  I tried a couple of different releases and nothing seemed to remedy my issue.  I may need to take the Invasion up to 2000 and see if that helps, I have it a little lower than that.  Just to see what would happen I picked up the Red Alien.  Boy am I glad I didn’t leave it behind like I was going to.  The Red Alien seemed to have everything I needed in a ball.

I found I was able to play a similar line to Family Fun Bowling Center, but a little more left on the approach.  Looking at the pattern from last year, 39′ very little crown and alot flatter than a house pattern.  Practice went well.  I found the higher end of the stadium played better than the lower end.  The lower was a lot tighter and a much smaller margin of error.  If you’re afforded time to practice on the pattern, I would strongly encourage that you don’t skip it.

There was a 5 game sweeper following practice and I decided to give it a go.  I figured any practice I could get on the pattern would be worth the cost.  The first game I struggled to control myself.  It seemed my arm had a mind of its own which made hitting target a slight challenge.  I struggled to a 168, very humbling.  I missed three makeable spares.  The next game I seemed to be a little more comfortable and was able to forget the previous game.  This time I was able to finish with 223, but again missed another makeable single pin spare.  That left me at -9 and in 14th place.

The next game I seemed to feel that I might have something figured out and shot a clean game 210.  That put me at +1 and in 12th place, 2 pins ahead of Liz Johnson.  That would be the last time she trailed me.  The next game would bring me quickly back to reality.  4 open frames in a row will do that in a hurry.  Only one could be considered a challenge to pick-up.  I finished with a 161 that put me at -38 and dropped to 19th place.  Liz Johnson was now 17 pins and 3 positions ahead of me.

The last game was the hardest I ever worked for a 182.  Again another open frame appearred, this one was the baby split (3-10).  Again I had trouble hitting target, pulling it inside more than I was pushing like the other two games.  If you’re keeping track, I had 9 open frames.  I give myself a pass on one being the wash-out, I sent the head pin out and around the 10-pin, close but no cigar. 

For kids reading this that’s 8 open frames which means about 88 pins left behind.  Had I made my spares, I might have been +50.  You notice I didn’t say more strikes, just my spares.  Instead of being 20th out of 33, I could’ve been 4th and earned my money back.

Tomorrow, 7 Feb, is mandatory practice and another sweeper.  Another day to try to improve.  Good luck and good bowling.

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