LAS VEGAS – Ryan Mouw of Muskegon, Michigan, was looking to become the third bowler in the history of the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships to win a title in three consecutive tournaments.
The 2019 Regular All-Events winner and 2018 Regular Team champion was in Las Vegas this week to put his all-events title on the line at the South Point Bowling Plaza and South Point Bowling Center, but things just never fell into place for the 41-year-old right-hander.
“I was just never able to find any kind of rhythm out here,” said Mouw, who made his 16th tournament appearance. “I talked to a few people who had been out here already, read some other feedback online and got something in my head that just wasn’t there.”
Mouw’s 2021 USBC Open Championships campaign ended up vastly different than his experience at the South Point Bowling Plaza in 2019, but a lot has changed in his life, too. His time on the lanes also came much later in the year, which he believes may have resulted in him being a little less prepared.
“When it gets this late in the year, I start golfing more and bowling less, and that definitely showed this year,” said Mouw, who golfed collegiately and earned All-America honorable mention honors at Grand Valley State. “Most years, we come out earlier, either March or April. That has always allowed me to be competing in better bowling shape.”
This year on the tournament lanes, across two oil patterns and two venues, he rolled sets of 581 in doubles, 567 in team and 538 in singles for a 1,686 all-events total, nearly 500 pins shy of his winning total.
In 2019, Mouw put up sets of 802 in singles, 708 in doubles and 646 in team for a 2,156 all-events score, topping more than 52,000 competitors. He was part of an unprecedented squad in late March that yielded three of the top-four scores in Regular All-Events and three top-six singles performances.
Mouw’s award haul in 2019 included an Eagle for the second consecutive year and additional commemorative watches for being second in Team All-Events with S and B Pro Shop 1 of Warren, Michigan, and third in Regular Singles with 802.
S and B Pro Shop 1 finished fourth in its defense of the Regular Team title in 2019, while team member Kurt Pilon finished fourth as the defending champion in Regular All-Events.
While Mouw isn’t sure if he’ll continue to compete with his current team, he knows that no matter what, he’ll be back.
“A lot has changed for me over the last couple of years,” Mouw said. “I have a new business and a young child, and bowling has kind of been on the backburner for me. These guys are still an extremely competitive group and will be lifelong friends of mine, so I would be happy to be back with them, but I may only be behind them going forward.”
Though he’s leaving town disappointed in his performance Thursday and Friday, Mouw still keeps a positive attitude about his recent experiences at the Open Championships.
“No matter what, this is still the greatest tournament in the world, and sometimes the most unexpected things can happen,” Mouw said. “I never expected to have one, let alone two titles. No matter what, that lasts forever.”
Only USBC Hall of Famer Les Zikes of Palatine, Illinois (1962-1964), and Anthony LaCaze of Hoffman Estates, Illinois (2013-2015), have won Eagles in three consecutive events.
In 2021, the Open Championships is being held between two venues for the first time, with the team event taking place at the South Point Bowling Plaza and the doubles and singles events being held at the South Point Bowling Center.
The tournament’s 79-day run kicked off May 1, and competition will continue through July 18.
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