Colorado group excels at 2014 Bowlers Journal

RENO, Nev. - Steven Badovinac of Parker, Colo., and his teammates used the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by the United States Bowling Congressas a chance to test their game plan for the USBC Open Championships, and they got more than they hoped for Wednesday at the National Bowling Stadium.

The group bowled on the featured lane condition at home and came in with a strategy in mind, but when it didn't play quite the same, they talked it over and made some adjustments, which helped them find their way to the top of the standings in Open Singles, Dual Entry and Open Doubles.

BadovinacHays2014BJ465x262Badovinac, a 45-year-old right-hander, set the pace with games of 247, 235 and 298 for a 780 series, which moved him into the lead in Open Singles and Dual Entry. He teamed with Nick Hays of Broomfield, Colo., (703) for an Open Doubles-leading 1,483 total. By taking advantage of the multiple doubles option, Badovinac also is in second place with Lawrence Marquez of Lakewood, Colo. (1,468), fourth with Parker's Jason Duran (1,384) and fifth with Michael Keily (1,377) of Golden, Colo.

Evan Nash of Kennewick, Wash., previously held the lead in Open Singles with 756, while Larry Brande of Lake Worth, Fla., and Paul Koehler of Stuart, Fla., occupied the top spot in Open Doubles with 1,387.

"I came in here struggling, but in the eighth frame of the third game in the first set, I realized what correction to make physically, and it simply was to just roll the ball," said Badovinac, who is making his 20th Open Championships appearance this year. "Once I did that, the swing loosened up, and it was pretty easy to repeat shots."

The Bowlers Journal Championships features the same 40-foot Sport Bowling-certified oil pattern being used for doubles and singles at the Open Championships, so the group decided to bowl two squads at the Bowlers Journal - one on the freshly-oiled lanes and one after three games of traffic.

Their original game plan gave them the ability to play toward the outside part of the lane, but they quickly saw an inconsistent reaction and migrated inside. The reason for bowling both squads was to get a better idea of how the lanes breakdown over the course of six games, since that's the same scenario they'll face during doubles and singles at the Open Championships.

"Once we moved in a little, the shot seemed to open up for us, and the last game, it really seemed to come together with good hold and a good reaction on the backend," said Hays, a 37-year-old right-hander who is making his seventh Open Championships appearance. "I think doing the Bowlers Journal is important in preparing for doubles and singles at the Open Championships. I hope it translates to Friday, and we can find that look again."

Both Badovinac and Hays credited much of their success to the keen eye of teammate Duran, who bowled collegiately at Wichita State before spending a handful of years on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. The three-time PBA regional champion was instrumental in seeing the lanes transition and suggesting the right moves.

"Jason is extremely knowledgeable, and I trust everything he says to do," Badovinac said. "He told me to make a move and stay with the same ball, and that's what I did."

The teammates now will take what they learned and turn their attention to the Open Championships on Thursday and Friday.

This is the 68th year the Bowlers Journal Championships is being held alongside the Open Championships, but it's only the second time the two are being held under the same roof. The Open Championships is using the first 64 lanes of the 78-lane NBS, while the BJ is being held on lanes 69-78.

Bowlers have the option to use their three-game totals for both singles and doubles by exercising the Dual Entry option, and competitors can bowl doubles with up to four partners at a time.

Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open/Women's Championships page.

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