RENO, Nev. - Jason Narlock of Bronson, Mich., may have been overwhelmed by the grandeur of the National Bowling Stadium as he participated in his first United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, but that didn't stop him from making a run at history as he rolled a 299 game live on BowlTV on Sunday.
The 46-year-old right-hander was able to bounce back from a 159 start in singles by switching to an always-reliable ball that was released nearly 20 years ago. With the right ball in hand, Narlock strung together 11 strikes before a 7 pin halted his pursuit of perfection. He finished the set with a 234 game for a 692 series and now is fifth in Regular Singles. Scott Salinas of Racine, Wis., leads with 731.
Narlock's performance was seen by hundreds of BowlTV viewers as he joined former Professional Bowlers Association standout Curtis Odom of Coldwater, Mich., on the tournament lanes. Sunday's broadcast was the first live look at the doubles and singles oil pattern. The 2013 event marks the first time the USBC Open Championships has used two different oil patterns.
"I was struggling to play a fine line in the first game of singles," said Narlock, who is a mechanic at Bronson Strike Zone. "Minus one guy on the pair, we were all trying to play that line, and it was just too beat up. On the fill ball, I switched balls and moved everything left, just right of the fourth arrow. I left a flat 10, so I adjusted my thumb and shot 299. My lifelong friend Arnie Goldman told me to get deep and try to trap it away before I bowled, and it worked. I guess I was too stubborn to try it sooner."
Had the 7 pin fallen, Narlock would have joined Odom, not only with a 300 game at the Open Championships, but also in shooting the first one for the tournament year. Odom was the first of 52 bowlers to reach perfection during the 2011 event, which also took place at the NBS.
"When I threw the last shot, I thought it was one of the best shots of the game," Narlock said. "I thought I was going to join Curtis, but it didn't quite work out that way. It's OK, though. I'm ecstatic. I couldn't ask for more for my first nationals. I was honored that he asked me to bowl with him."
Although he performed like a seasoned veteran, Narlock still was in awe of the tournament atmosphere as well as the one-of-a-kind venue.
"It's overwhelming," Narlock said. "It's just an amazing building. One of the most incredible feelings I've ever had was walking down Center Aisle for the first time. It's indescribable."
Narlock had one person in mind after he was able to sit back and take in the significance of his accomplishment. His late grandfather, Bill Knight, taught him the finer points of the sport and was the first person to receive a call after any bowling accomplishment.
"I dedicated my performance to my grandfather," Narlock said. "He taught me how to bowl. He was there to see my first 300 and 800. He was very proud of me, and I was proud to be his grandson. This was for him. I know he was watching and that he's as happy as I am."
Narlock added a 542 series in team and 526 in doubles for a 1,760 all-events total. Odom, who made his 22nd Open Championships appearance, shot 596 in doubles, 589 in team and 543 in singles for 1,728.
The next live stream broadcast from the 2013 Open Championships will feature 2007 Regular Singles champion Chip Aki of Arlington, Texas, taking to the lanes for doubles and singles March 18 at 10 a.m. EST.
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.