February 28, 2017

By Matt Cannizzaro and Brian Hirsch
USBC Communications

During the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships we will have the opportunity to meet and speak with more than 50,000 bowlers from all over the world.Some are well-known, some are yet-to-be-known, but all of them have personal stories to tell and memories to share about their time at the USBC Open Championships.

In the past, we’ve caught up some of the bowlers for an online feature called On The Lanes, where we asked them all the same 12 questions to see how the answers might vary based on different generations, skill levels and experience.

On The Lanes deviates from our traditional news-sharing format, but it offers different insight into the competitors at the Open Championships.

We’re adding yet another option in 2017 and introducing a question and answer format for some of our most interesting bowlers to see how they got started, where they came from and what their Las Vegas experience was like.

Novice bowlers tend to seek out a bowling center because it is close to either their homes or places of employment. Recreational bowling often leads to certified league bowling. After a season or two of improving, they might migrate to another center and find a second league to bowl in.

For those who venture into new centers, the surroundings likely seem unfamiliar. It even can feel a little “weird.” The center might be larger or smaller than the other. The lanes or approaches could be different as well, from wood to synthetic.

With the Open Championships being contested at the 60-lane South Point Bowling Plaza for the first time, bowlers seem to be traveling from much farther than down the road or across the state to bowl. Whether it’s the venue or the host city, Las Vegas is buzzing with bowlers in 2017.

This week, we got a visit from Pontus Andersson (photo) and Markus Jansson from Sweden. The two recently competed in the 2017 USBC Masters, which was nearby at The Orleans Bowling Center.

While they’re countryman Martin Larsen advance to the stepladder finals at the Masters, Jansson and Andersson did not fare as well and had some free time at the end of the week.

They’d heard about the 2017 Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC, a side event that now has been held alongside the Open Championships for 71 years, so they decided to head over and give it a try.

This year’s Bowlers Journal Championships is being held at the South Point Bowling Center, a traditional 64-lane bowling center just a short walk from the Bowling Plaza, and offers a variety of age- and skill-based divisions for singles and doubles competition.

Here’s their thoughts on their time in Las Vegas and at the Bowlers Journal Championships.

USBC – Unfortunately, the USBC Masters did not go as well as you’d hoped this year. What did you learn from the tournament that you will work on when you get back home?

Pontus Andersson – Yeah, I had a very rough week and bowled really badly, but it’s from those situations you can always look back and find a solution for next time.

Markus Jansson – Yes, of course I learned some things. I need to make better shots – more repeating and stuff like that. You always learn and see the lanes differently with the best players on them. There’s lots to learn and take away.

USBC – How did you hear about the Bowlers Journal Championships?

PA – There was some talk about a tournament that PBA members can bowl called the Bowlers Journal, and a few guys were talking about it, so we can down instead of just staying in our hotel room.

MJ – We heard about it the night before because I didn’t do well in the Masters and wanted something to bowl and not stay in the hotel room. I wasn’t sure that PBA members were allowed to bowl, so we asked around and found out that PBA members can bowl.

USBC – What did you think about the lane condition, especially compared to the Masters?

PA – I think it is a great challenge for the bowlers. I think there is so much talk around what the pattern is, but it’s more about the bowlers making a big deal that this week it is this pattern and next tournament it will be that pattern. It is better to just go out there and bowl.

MJ – I heard from some people that the pattern was tough. All of us played the lanes pretty similar, and that really made the transition easy to see and work with. Many of us were able to put up some high scores the last two games.”

USBC – Did you enjoy the time you spent in Las Vegas?

PA – When we’re at a bowling tournament, we tend to spend a lot of time in the bowl. It can be from watching friends to seeing how the lanes break down.

MJ – We did, and were able to walk the Strip and gamble a little bit, but a lot of the time was inside the bowling center.


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About Me

Brian grew up in New York before moving to Phoenix, AZ in 1991. He has been involved in writing for his own bowling publication called “Striking Spotlight.” He has been published in the Desert Bowler Newspaper, Windy City News Newspaper and the Bowlers Journal. Hirsch is a Youth Director in the Kenosha USBC and a former Director for the Metro Phoenix USBC. As a Level 1 and RVP USBC coach, he can be found coaching his wife Amber and their son Masen each Saturday morning. Hirsch currently has (6) 300’s and (4) 800’s and is a member of the International Gay Bowling Organization where he is a five-time IGBO Champion and a six-time Arizona State Grand Canyon State Games Medalist. The Hirsch’s moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family and assist the Freedom Farm for Vets. Hirsch’s home bowling center is Sheridan Lanes, located in Kenosha, WI.


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