First-timers achieve success at 2014 USBC Open

By Matt Cannizzaro and Jessica Gilgor

RENO, Nev. -
Brandyn Cox of Petersburg, Va., shook off the nerves of his first United States Bowling Congress Open Championships and struck under pressure to end his tournament debut at the top of the standings.

The 20-year-old right-hander teamed with his father, Jimmy Cox, to take the Regular Doubles lead with a 1,360 total at the National Bowling Stadium on Monday. Both bowlers needed at least the first strike in the final frame to move past Ryan Losli of Hillsboro, Ore., and Tim Myers of Milwaukie, Ore., who previously held the lead with 1,343.

"I don't usually look at the scores until the end of the tournament to see how we finished, so I really had no idea what was leading or that we were close," said Jimmy, who made his 13th consecutive USBC Open Championships appearance. "We usually just go to bowl and have a good time and a little vacation. But I also wanted to make sure that since it was his first one, we did something in it."

Brandyn and Jimmy both struggled Sunday on the 43-foot Sport-certified team lane condition, failing to roll a 200 game, but they attacked the 40-foot doubles and singles lane condition with a fresh perspective.

Brandyn led the doubles effort with games of 235, 257 and 217 for a 709 series, while Jimmy, a 41-year-old right-hander, contributed 234, 220 and 197 for a 651 set.

"I was a lot more relaxed today," Brandyn said. "Being my first time out, it was a little nerve-rattling, and I struggled in team. I knew today had to be better, and it definitely was."

As a youth bowler, Brandyn tested and gauged his skills by competing in national events like the Teen Masters and leagues that featured challenging Sport Bowling lane conditions.

Now in his first year as a USBC Adult member, it is clear that seeking out tougher conditions and elite competition left him prepared for events like the Open Championships.

"Seeing those conditions before helped me get used to bowling with a lot less miss area," said Brandyn, who bowls league at the Fort Lee Bowling Center. "I knew coming out here I could do it, and that helped me not get too frustrated when I didn't bowl so well in team."

Brandyn had 569 in singles and 534 in team for a 1,812 all-events total, while Jimmy had 559 in team and 528 in singles for 1,738.

RazinkBeyer2014OC465x262The Classified Division also got new doubles leaders as Chad Razink of Clontarf, Minn., and Paul Beyer of Benson, Minn., combined for a 1,222 total at the NBS on Sunday night.

Razink, also an Open Championships first-timer, battled his nerves throughout his team event but eventually got comfortable and confident after a strong start in doubles.

The 29-year-old right-hander rolled games of 251, 180 and 223 for a 654 series, and Beyer, a 48-year-old right-hander, added 181, 189 and 198 for 568. Mark and Carol Skog of Norway, Mich., previously held the lead with 1,156.

"My first team event, I was nervous and didn't start off too well," said Razink, who had a 437 series in team. "It was easy to be confident in doubles starting off well."

Razink and Beyer bowl together at Benson Entertainment Center and both work for the Swift County Highway Department, so they easily were able to help and feed off each other.

Razink finished his first Open Championships appearance with 450 in singles for a 1,541 all-events total. Beyer closed his third tournament appearance with 567 in singles and 445 in team for a career-best 1,580.

Both men credit their teammates with keeping them focused as they made their way into the lead.

"It helps to have people around you that you are comfortable with," Razink said. "They keep you motivated and congratulate you when you are doing well."

To be eligible for the Classified Division, pairs must have a combined average or 360 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.