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Michigan Bowler Takes Singles Lead At USBC Open Championships In Record Fashion

LAS VEGAS - Perseverance paid off for Bo Goergen of Midland, Mich., as he rolled the highest three-game series in the history of the USBC Open Championships on Thursday.

The 48-year-old right-hander, who made his 31st consecutive tournament appearance, struck 32 times on the way to games of 299, 299 and 264 for an 862 series. He topped the previous mark of 858, rolled by John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Fla., on the way to the 2004 Regular Singles and Regular All-Events titles.

Goergen's record-setting performance also moved him into the top spot in Regular Singles at the 2009 Open Championships. Ron Vokes of Racine, Wis., previously held the lead with 857, which he shot en route to a tournament-record 2,321 all-events total.

"It's absolutely incredible, and I couldn't believe it was happening," said Goergen, who left the 7 pin standing in both 299 games. "In anybody's wildest dreams, to shoot back-to-back 299s at the national tournament is unbelievable."

Goergen added 700 in doubles and 628 in team for a 2,190 all-events total, which is good for third place overall. His efforts also helped Northern Lanes Pro Shop into third place in Team All-Events with 10,116, the eighth-highest total in tournament history. Linds Limited of Milwaukee leads this year with 10,372.

"I got into a groove, the ball was coming off my hand clean and I was reading the lanes properly," Goergen said. "I don't look at the scoreboard, and even when I know I have a good game going, I treat each frame like the first frame of a game. That's what helps me relax. For me it's joking with the guys and loosening up. The guys were back there keeping me calm. That's what helped."

Two-time National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Most Valuable Player Dan MacLelland added 2,092 for Northern Lanes Pro Shop and was followed by 2009 USBC Masters champion, John Nolen (2,039), Dale Hofmeister (1,899) and Jeffrey Austreng (1,896).
Although he was just 18 years old when he made his tournament debut at the 1979 event in Tampa, Fla., Goergen immediately understood what it meant to be successful at the Open Championships, and he has had his sights set on a tournament title ever since.

"This is my 31st year, and I've been trying to get an eagle since Day 1," said Goergen, who owns Northern Lanes with his brother. "I've worked at putting the right guys together, and in the team event, we are in ninth place. You can prepare all you want, but you have to make the right decisions, and, of course, you have to bowl well."

Goergen, who will celebrate his 49th birthday on Sunday, has been bowling extremely well lately and knew his game was sharp heading into the Open Championships, but he started singles Thursday in the middle of a string of frustrating "almosts" on the lanes.

Last weekend, he finished ninth at the Professional Bowlers Association Tour Trials and just missed one of the eight exemptions up for grabs for the 2009-2010 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season. Days earlier, he finished ninth at the Regional Players Championship, where he lost to eventual champion, Joe Ciccone of Buffalo, N.Y., in the Round of 16.

Then, after moving into ninth place in team (3,272), just missing the top 10 in doubles (1,407 with MacLelland), almost shooting 300 and making another run at 300, there was no doubt Goergen was ready to deliver when he stepped up for a chance at history.

"857 is an unbelievable score, and 814 was second," Goergen said. "My goal going into the last game was to shoot 220 and at least get into second place. In the second frame, I left the Big Four and it let the pressure off some. I was relieved after the one in the 11th. I knew all I needed was five or so pins. I just wanted to get that last shot close to the headpin."

For the next 50 days, Goergen will have his eyes on the tournament's online leaderboard. Competition will continue at Cashman Center each day until the event concludes on July 24.

"Am I going to be nervous?" Goergen said. "I'm sure Ron Vokes didn't think anyone would beat 857, so you never know. The shot is out there if you make good shots, so it should be exciting."

Presenting sponsors for the 2009 USBC Open Championships are the Coast Casinos in Las Vegas and the Eldorado Hotel Casino, Silver Legacy Resort Casino and Circus Circus in Reno, Nev. Other participating sponsors are Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Brunswick, capital equipment supplier; Storm Products, Inc.; Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel and Four Queens Hotel and Casino, the official brackets sponsors; Sapphire Gentleman's Club; Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino; MGM Mirage; Jerry's Nugget Casino and Fitzgerald's Casino and Hotel.
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