Adjustments help Hawaii bowler into lead at 2014 Open Championships

By Jessica Gilgor
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. - When Stanley Higashihara of Honolulu arrived at the National Bowling Stadium for the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, he was hoping to bowl well enough to earn a little bit of prize money.

When he finished, the 76-year-old right-hander found himself atop the leaderboard in Classified Singles and now will keep an eye on the standings as the tournament continues its 136-day run, which will conclude July 13.

Higashihara rolled games of 218, 181 and 204 en route to a 603 series and passed Lamont Foster of Chicago, who previously held the lead with 586.

By his third game of singles, Higashihara knew he was closing in on the best series of his eight USBC Open Championships appearances, but he had no idea he was going to leave town as the clubhouse leader.

"I was thinking I had to try to hit 600," said Higashihara, whose first tournament appearance came in 2004, also at the NBS. "I thought maybe I had a chance to be up there, not the leader, but probably cash in the end. I tried my best and threw the double in the 10th to get there."

His run for the top spot did not come without some adjustments, especially after shooting 484 in team and 480 in doubles. He finished with a 1,567 all-events total.

"I am not a good bowler," said Higashihara, who rolled a 585 singles series in his tournament debut in 2004. "It takes me a while to adjust, and that is my weakness. I finally said I was going to go deep inside and adjust from there, and 'oh wow!'"

Higashihara, who took a 34-year break from bowling to focus on his family, credits his teammates for bringing him back to the sport. That was more than 10 years ago.

"They talked me into bowling, and we come to bowl the Japanese American National Bowling Association Tournament at the same time as Nationals, so we do it all in one trip," Higashihara said. "We try our best, and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, we still have fun."

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Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.