South Dakota bowler takes Classified Singles lead

RENO, Nev. - Kent Delaney of Webster, S.D., admits he did not have his best stuff at the National Bowling Stadium on Wednesday, but he was able to convert his spares and avoid mistakes on his way to the top of the leaderboard in Classified Singles at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

The 58-year-old right-hander put together games of 213, 212 and 191 for a 616 series to move ahead of Stanley Higashihara of Honolulu, who shot 603 on Tuesday. Delaney's overall effort, which included 525 in doubles and 520 in team, also helped him into second place in Classified All-Events with 1,661. Clinton Dougherty of Palm Bay, Fla., leads with 1,667.

The 600 series was the first in Delaney's eight USBC Open Championships appearances, and his spare shooting was crucial in achieving the feat. He only had two open frames in singles, which came late in the third game.

"It was huge to keep making spares," said Delaney, who bowls regularly at L & L Lanes in Webster. "I didn't have an open until the third game when I started getting a little nervous. When you make your spares, it helps a lot."

Delaney was surprised to find out his score was enough to pace the field, and he was happy to be able to cash in some good fortune as he raced up the standings.

"I feel really fortunate," Delaney said. "I didn't throw it my best today. Sometimes you throw it your best and don't get rewarded, and then there are other days when you don't have your 'A' game, but you catch some breaks. It was fun."

Delaney began his Open Championships career at the 2007 event, also held at the NBS, after his father, James, passed away. James had made 20 tournament appearances, and his son is proud to be following in his footsteps.

"We bring 15 or 16 bowlers from this small house in Webster, and some of the guys are getting near 30 years of participation," Delaney said. "My dad was with those guys. He passed away eight years ago. We worked together, so he would go out on the bowling trip, and I would stay and work. When he passed on, I decided I was going to take his spot. I'm not on the same team with those guys, but I have been coming with them ever since. I'm just proud to be able to follow him."

To be eligible for the Classified Division, a bowler must have an entering average of 180 or below.

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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.