February 3, 2023 - Friday was the first day of match play and it was moving day at the US Open and I unfortunately found a way to run in place. We started the day with an 8am practice on Pattern 4, which a 41ft pattern with a huge speed bump (a 2-2 flat portion) added in the middle of the pattern. This makes them extra sensitive to decision making. If your ball is reading the lane properly, you never know that spot is there... But, if your ball isn’t quite doing the right thing, the bump causes your ball to accelerate at the end of the pattern and end up hitting the 3 pin in the face.
With the help of my ball reps, Dino and Mike, we came up with the game plan to shine an Archetype and play straighter which would be closer to first arrow on the fresh and try to stay there as long as I can. We wanted predictable ball motion pair-to-pair and try to raise my score floor. My goal was to bowl 185 or better every game during the match play. I knew if I did that, I would most likely make the show.
When I started match play, the unsettling feeling I had been feeling all week unfortunately showed back up and I was throwing it all over the place. I decided to grab a snack and take some extra time to try and slow everything down. By the end of the game, I was throwing it much better and some how Houdini’d a 200 game loss (this meant I didn’t get the 30 bonus pins and unfortunately becomes a bit of a trend later in the event) off of terrible execution. Annoying to say the least? Yes.
As round one of match place continued, I hit some squirrelly transition with the Black Widow Ghost. Dino seems to see these things from a mile away. He came down and pulled me to the back and talked to me about some shapes. His suggestion was get out of the asymmetrical bowling balls and try a GB4 Pearl. After that talk and understanding a little more, I saw a good picture and felt like I had a really controlled ball reaction. Going into the last game, the GB4 Pearl feIt a little too quick so I ended up throwing my Big Foot Hybrid after that. I ended up with a 5-3 record my first block in match. And made up about 30 total pins on the show.
The night block of 8 games, Mike Wolfe had a great idea of shinning my Black Widow Ghost for the fresh. This was very scary to me as I have never comfortably, or successfully, thrown a shinny ball on a fresh pattern. It took a couple shots to see the picture but it was the perfect call and I felt like I had the best ball reaction in the building. I started bowling really great to start. 190-260-230... Maybe I found something to make a run? Unfortunately, at this moment in the US Open, it was definitely showing me how it’s still hard. Since this was the first time I had tried a shiny ball on fresh, I was very unsure of what the move after would be and accidentally put myself in a bad part of the lane. Wake up and make a move, Jake.
I really struggled and ended going back to my Bigfoot which was really close to what I was looking for. Since my angles had been wrong because because of prior moves and bad choices, the pattern felt flatter than it should have. I started to figure it out and had some games with a few strikes, but I had demons creep in about worrying about things that are out of my control. My opponents for the evening block went +287 with is a 235.5 average on a pattern that 208 will make the show. That unfortunately really bugged me when it shouldn’t and of course, I bowled 170 and 162 that absolutely killed my night.
In game 7, Micheal Martell had the front 11 and bowled 299 against my 162 and Mike Wolfe made a joke about it saying, “137 pins is nothing to be ashamed about.” That was exactly what I needed because it gave me a good laugh and straight reset. Sometimes, making fun of yourself is the best way to get over a something that was out of my control. I talked to Mike and Dino going into the last game and tried my Paradox from left of 5th arrow. This gave me a controlled shape I couldn’t find before and I was able to bowl a 250 game to end the block. Finally!
At the end of the day, I was 109 pins out of the show and unfortunately, I found myself in the same position in the standings that I started the day in... As I said, running in place.
February 4, 2023 - As the last 8 games of the event started Saturday morning, I was very optimistic that the day was going to be much better. I loved the plan of my Ghost on the fresh and my plan was to stay as close to the track with the biggest ball I possibly could.
I started out with a couple good games and kinda lost my look with the Ghost, when Dino notices it was gettin lazy off the spot, and I bowled 195 and he mentioned trying the paradox and my eyes opened of and I loved seeing that shape, obviously. I had amazing look the rest of the block and felt I could make a run up to the show. Going into the last game, I was unfortunately even after being 120 over for the block and again, couldn’t make up any ground. I bowled 235 the last game and ultimately finished in 10th 74 pins out of the show. Ouch.
Match play had so many ups and downs. I was constantly fighting the field, the pattern, my hand ripping, along with mental Demons.
C- is my personal grade for match play. The overall goal was to make the show and have a chance to win and I failed at that. I had everything I needed to achieve that goal and many opportunities but unfortunately, I never capitalized and let this one slip away. Starting the season being so close, yet so far, has pros and cons but we move on and learn from it. I love, and hate, that I saw so many holes in my game that I can patch up for the rest of the season. I have such a long way to go but I am excited for what the season has in store!
Being honest with yourself is the only way to grow. Onto Springfield, MO!