June 17, 2013
RENO, Nev. - Nearly four years ago to the day, Lee Vanderhoef of Greenville, S.C., rolled a 300 game at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and he added his name to an even more elite list when he achieved perfection again Sunday at the National Bowling Stadium.
The 34-year-old right-hander started his team event with a 197 game before rolling 12 consecutive strikes for the 27th perfect game of the 2013 tournament. He became the 28th bowler in the 110-year history of the USBC Open Championships with multiple 300s on the championship lanes.
Vanderhoef closed with a 243 game for a 740 series and helped Munsoned of Altamonte Springs, Fla., to a 3,193 team total. Lodge Lanes Too of nearby Orlando, Fla., leads Regular Team with a record score of 3,538.
Although he struggled with bad carry in his first game Sunday, Vanderhoef stayed aggressive and worked with his teammates.
"We really had two good teams that were breaking them down the right way," said Vanderhoef, who made his 10th Open Championships appearance. "The first game had some bad carry, so I was pretty aggravated going into the second, but I never took my foot off the gas. We had a nice little hold spot and just kept piping it."
Vanderhoef's first 300 at the Open Championships came during singles at the 2009 event in Las Vegas. He relied on that experience to help him deliver in the final frame this time.
"I was pretty comfortable," said Vanderhoef, who owns 14 Professional Bowlers Association regional titles. "It was one of the more comfortable 300s I've had in a long time. I definitely felt like I was going to get the job done."
Although Vanderhoef is excited to join an elite club at the tournament, it may be his last chance to compete at the world's largest participatory sporting event for the immediate future, as he currently finds himself among the top 50 in points for the current PBA Tour season.
The rules for the 2014 Open Championships state that any player in the top 50 on the PBA points list for the 2012-13 season, as well as anyone who won a Tour title the last two years, will not be eligible to compete at the Open Championships.
"It's very cool," Vanderhoef said. "I think it might be the last year I get to bowl, so it's nice to go ahead and put a little footprint in it. Maybe we can add one more tomorrow. I love this tournament. I love getting to come and hang out with my buddies. It's always a good time."
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.