By Matt Cannizzaro and Brian Hirsch
LAS VEGAS – Thorsten Przychocki of Sebring, Florida, may be checking the online leaderboard a few times over the next few days as the new leader in Standard Singles at the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The 20-year-old right-hander, a collegiate bowler and student at McKendree University, needed a mark and good count in his final frame Tuesday at the South Point Bowling Plaza, and he delivered, finishing with a 704 series. Charles Theobald of Minot, North Dakota, previously held the lead with 696.
Przychocki left the 2-4-5 combination on the first offering of his last frame, but he picked up the spare and struck on his fill ball to secure the top spot. The performance included games of 211, 269 and 224.
“While yesterday in the team event did not go the way I wanted, there were a lot of nerves, and things did not really kick in until the last game,” said Przychocki, a first-time participant at the USBC Open Championships. “I was able to use a ball I got from a friend, and that was basically the only ball I threw at the (Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC) and out here for all three events.”
Przychocki added sets of 673 in doubles and 520 in team to finish his tournament debut in second place in Standard All-Events with a 1,897 total. Rusty Johnston of Canyon, Texas, leads with 1,915.
Living just 30 minutes away from the Kegel Training Center in sunny Florida, allowed Przychocki the opportunity to work on his game with the staff at the training center in preparation for his first Open Championships.
Bowling collegiately under the watchful eyes of the McKendree coaching staff, which includes director of bowling Bryan O’Keefe, head men’s bowling coach Dennis Knepper and Shannon O’Keefe, the head women’s bowling coach, also has helped Przychocki improve his game.
Now, with just a few squads left before the July 16 conclusion of the 2017 Open Championships, he is the guy to beat.
There still will be many competitors headed to the Bowling Plaza looking to take the lead away from him, but Przychocki can’t help but consider the possibility of seeing his name on a championship banner at next year’s tournament in Syracuse, New York.
“Hopefully the week will not be too stressful, but in the end, it will be what it is, and I feel good about it,” Przychocki said. “This is very exciting. I haven’t really done much in the way of a career, yet, and it was great to throw some scores and have something to show for all the work. Adding an Eagle would be wonderful. The O’Keefes are a huge part of the success we all have at McKendree, but you cannot forget about Dennis. They all prepare you for everything and mold you into what you can be, not what they want you to be.”
The final doubles and singles squad of the 2017 Open Championships will hit the lanes at the Bowling Plaza on July 16 at noon Eastern.
Standard Singles and All-Events include bowlers with entering averages of 181-209.
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