BATON ROUGE, La. - Joel Fee of Pella, Iowa, may have been dressed in camouflage, but he could not sneak under the radar at the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Saturday.
The 31-year-old right-hander started singles with games of 234 and 236, and all eyes at the Baton Rouge River Center were on him as he made his run at the Classified Singles lead.
Despite the nerves and transitioning lanes, Fee kept his composure and finished with 185 for a 655 series, the highest set of his bowling career. Randy Tennant of Onida, S.D., previously held the lead with 605.
"I was feeling fine until someone told me what score won it last year," Fee said. "Towards the end of the second game, I started to get nervous, and I just lost my spot a little bit. I thought I was just doing well for myself and for my average. I didn't even compare it to anyone else's scores."
This year marked Fee's first USBC Open Championships appearance, and although his teammates gave him an idea of what to expect, he still had to see it to believe it.
"It was a little intimidating at first, especially since I come from a bowling alley with 14 lanes," said Fee, who bowls two leagues a week at Pella's Excite A Bowl. "This was a neat experience overall, and it's pretty amazing to be in the lead. I just wanted to have fun and hopefully get my average. I never expected to win any money or place anywhere."
Fee added 534 in doubles and 460 in team for a 1,649 all-events total, which is fourth in Classified All-Events. Mike Raburn of Cleveland, Tenn., leads with 1,676.
Sponsors for the 2012 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno. Other sponsors include the Belle of Baton Rouge, official brackets sponsor; Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Humana, official registration sponsor; Bud Light and Budweiser, official beer sponsors; The Advocate, official publication sponsor; Brunswick, official lane provider; Steltronic, official scoring system; Storm Bowling Products and Nationwide Insurance.