USBC Hall of Famer leads Senior Singles at 2019 Bowlers Journal Championships

By Makinzey Marracco
USBC Communications

For nearly four decades, as part of their United States Bowling Congress Open Championships experience, Jeff Richgels of Oregon, Wisconsin, and his teammates arrive in the host city early enough to have the chance to compete in the nearby Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC.

This year, Richgels made a solo visit to the Bowlers Journal Championships, and the opportunity paid off Wednesday as he moved into the lead in Senior Singles with a 709 series.

The 56-year-old right-hander rolled games of 228, 234 and 247 to sneak past Bill Clarkin of Fort Collins, Colorado, who previously held the lead with 703.

"All my teammates either aren't here yet or didn't want to get up early, so I just came down and hooked up with a nice group of guys," Richgels said. "With this outcome, I might bowl by myself or without my guys every year."

The Bowlers Journal Championships is in its 73rd year as the premier side event held in conjunction with the USBC Open Championships, and this year's edition is being contested at the South Point Bowling Center, a short walk from the South Point Bowling Plaza, home of the 2019 Open Championships.

It has been a part of Richgels' agenda for most of his 38-year Open Championships career, which began at the 1979 event in Tampa, Florida.

Wednesday's success at the South Point Bowling Center included a crucial ball change early in the three-game set.

"I got a look and made a ball change early in the first game and stayed with it the rest of the way," Richgels said. "Everybody was shooting second arrow and in, and I was shooting outside around the 5 board. I felt like a left-hander, I didn't move my feet for three games. I got very lucky."

Richgels is no stranger to success on the biggest stages in bowling.

In 1985, he won two gold medals for Team USA in Bogota, Colombia. He also owns 30 Professional Bowlers Association regional titles and seven state titles at home in Wisconsin.

His outstanding performances at the Open Championships have led to five titles and induction into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2011. His wins at the Open Championships came in Regular Team (1986 and 2011), Regular All-Events (1997), Regular Doubles (2005) and Team All-Events (2005).

In 2013, he was inducted into the Wisconsin State USBC Hall of Fame.

Richgels and his teammates will take the lanes for their 2019 Open Championships campaign Friday and Saturday.

The Bowlers Journal Championships features the same oil pattern competitors are facing during doubles and singles at the Open Championships.

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