Minnesota bowlers have strong showing at 2014 USBC Open

RENO, Nev. - The all-events titles at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships will go to the bowlers who are best able to navigate two lane conditions that both require accuracy and good spare shooting.

Mark Bylander of Vergas, Minn., had little trouble accomplishing that at the National Bowling Stadium as he found his way into the lead in Classified All-Events on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old right-hander got off to a great start with a 637 series in team Monday and carried that momentum into doubles and singles Tuesday for sets of 563 in singles and 561 in doubles for a 1,761 all-events total. Clinton Dougherty of Palm Bay, Fla., previously held the top spot with 1,667.

Bylander also helped lead Oakridge Farms of Frazee, Minn., to the top of the standings in Classified Team with a 2,710 total. It's a spot they held briefly in 2012 before finishing third.

Prior to hitting the championship lanes, Bylander and his teammates took advantage of another competitive opportunity at the NBS.

They loosened up by competing in The Columbia 300 Forty Frame Game at the Track Showcase Lanes, but Bylander was not satisfied with his performance. Once he headed upstairs to the main tournament lanes, though, he was able to find the right look on both the 43-foot and 40-foot Sport Bowling-certified lane conditions used for team event and doubles/singles, respectively.

"We bowled The Forty Frame Game, and that was a humbling experience," said Bylander, who made his 14th USBC Open Championships appearance. "I was really down on myself coming into the tournament because I felt I didn't bring the right equipment. Yesterday, when the ball started to turn into the pocket, it was nice to realize I did make the right choices."

Bylander found success at the NBS in the past, finishing second in Classified All-Events at the 2011 Open Championships. His teammates also faired well this year. Along with taking the team lead, Greg Mickelson, Jerry Kemper and Allan Wendt also moved into the top 10 in Classified All-Events, and the group secured spots in the top 10 in Classified Doubles and Classified Singles.

To view the 2014 Open Championships leaderboard, click here.

"It's a good group of guys," Bylander said. "We hang together, help each other, give suggestions and really bowl as a team."

Bylander was surprised that his score was enough to move into the lead and is humbled, not only by his performance, but by his whole team's effort.

"It was really shocking," said Bylander, who bowls at Frazee Lanes. "I figured I needed to get to 1,800 to take the lead. The conditions were really to my liking this year. It's unbelievable and humbling to me."

In order 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.