BATON ROUGE, La. - Henry Teetz III of West Allis, Wis., calmly threw three of the best shots of his United States Bowling Congress Open Championships career to cap off the first 800 series of the 2012 event and claim the Regular Singles lead at the Baton Rouge River Center on Sunday.
The 40-year-old right-hander struck 21 times in his final 24 shots to grab the top spot with games of 232, 279 and 289 for 800 on the nose. Andrew Kleutgen of Wild Rose, Wis., previously held the lead with 785.
"I can't describe how I'm feeling," said Teetz, who has only broken the 700 mark at the USBC Open Championships one other time, while maintaining a 203.5 average for 20 years. "It's actually been a great tournament for me. The guys I bowl with are great and helped me calm down, so I could do what I did. It's just a great experience. It's the first time I've experienced something like this at this type of event."
Teetz stepped up in the final frame with his sights set on the singles lead, and everything that came along with it was an exciting bonus, which included helping his team into the Team All-Events lead.
"Shooting 300 or 800 in this environment is something I'd always dream about back home, and being able to accomplish it is indescribable," said Teetz, a truck driver for the City of West Allis. "When I got to the 10th frame, I knew I wanted the first one. The first one was big. I think I needed a strike and nine spare to take over the lead, but to get the second one was great. After that, I knew I needed a nine count or a strike.
The shot didn't change much for me that last game, and it couldn't have worked out any better.
Coming from Wisconsin, a hotbed of Open Championships success, Teetz understands the significance of his accomplishment. His teammate, Ron Vokes of Racine, Wis., rolled an 857 series on the way to the 2009 Regular All-Events title with a then-record 2,321 total. Teetz bowls league at Classic Lanes Menomonee Falls, which is owned by six-time Open Championships titlist Gary Daroszewski, who will be inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2012.
"I couldn't be happier for Henry," said Vokes, who made his 27th Open Championships appearance. "He's a guy I've been bowling with for the last 15 years or more, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. He's definitely dedicated to the game and works real hard, and let me tell you, if you want to see a guy who can play up the lanes on anything, you just saw it today. He's a great bowler."
Teetz added a 645 series in doubles and 617 in team for a career-best all-events total of 2,062. He and Vokes, who had 1,870, helped Five Horsemen of Racine into the Team All-Events lead with a 9,731 total. They were joined by senior standout Ben Hoefs (1,987), Kyle Geurtsen (1,962) and Mike Jamrose (1,850). Legend of Dung Ho of Cerritos, Calif., previously held the Team All-Events lead with 9,666.
Five Horsemen also moved into eighth place in Regular Team with 3,139 on Saturday night.
Vokes fondly remembers the excitement of shattering the tournament's all-events record and the wait that ensued before his title was in the books, but he'd love the opportunity to share that experience with his teammates.
"Individual awards are great, but team awards always mean a lot more to me," said Vokes, who finished second in Regular Singles in 2009 behind Bo Goergen, who rolled the highest set in tournament history (862). "Taking the lead by 100 pins, I couldn't be happier. I would've liked to bowl a little better, and I know a couple other guys would like to have a couple of shots back, but we're very happy to have the Team All-Events lead at this time."
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.