Past USBC Masters champion enters record book at 2019 Open Championships

LAS VEGAS - At just 24 years old, Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan, already has enjoyed enough success to make any veteran competitor jealous, and he added to his growing list of accomplishments Friday with a perfect game at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

Though the 300 was the highlight of an otherwise frustrating year on the biggest stage in bowling, Anderson is appreciative of his place in tournament history and for the opportunity to compete alongside his brother, Matthew, and some of their best friends from Michigan.

Matthew Anderson, who now resides in Las Vegas, tossed 12 consecutive strikes at the 2014 USBC Open Championships in Reno, Nevada, and the two now will be recognized together each year they return to the tournament.

Anderson's perfect game Friday was the seventh 300 of the 2019 Open Championships and first since May 3. Unfortunately, the momentum was short-lived, as he followed the memorable moment with games of 137 and 187 for a 624 singles series.

"Shooting 300 today was fun, but surprising, to say the least, especially after the way I bowled in doubles," said Anderson, who made his sixth appearance at the Open Championships. "I honestly didn't think my ball reaction was that good, but I was fortunate to throw 12 really good ones. Thankfully, they all fell. It's extra special because my brother shot one a few years ago. I didn't want him to be the only one in the family with one."

It often is said that teamwork and communication are crucial to success at the Open Championships, but Anderson and his teammates struggled to find any momentum this week at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

They posted games of 894, 888 and 937 for a 2,719 team total Thursday, and the doubles and singles oil pattern didn't yield much more.

"We had a couple guys bowl well at times, but overall, we just didn't bowl well as a group, myself included," Anderson said. "Outside of the 300, I went minus a lot for my other games. It was a tough year, and the patterns proved to be very challenging. I just don't think we broke them down well, and that made it even tougher on us."

Another attribute of top-tier competitors is being able to anticipate the moves that will be necessary as the oil pattern transitions, allowing them to stay ahead of the changes, rather than making a move after something goes wrong.

However, since the lane condition is an ever-changing and invisible opponent, success and failure often are nothing more than the results of a series of educated guesses.

During the final frame of his 300 on Friday, Anderson moved left after each shot and again before the start of his second game of singles, which resulted in a rolled 2 pin. He made minor adjustments from there but lost his look. He only struck twice in Game 2 and had five open frames.

"After the 300, I was pretty anxious, especially knowing I had an opportunity to make a run," said Anderson, a two-time Team USA member who rolled a perfect game and claimed a trios gold medal at the 2018 World Bowling Men's Championships in Hong Kong. "I made a lot of good shots, but I also left a lot of splits. When that happens, the next thing you know, you look up, and you can only shoot 180. Then, you're pressing, and one thing leads to another, and there's not much you can do about it."

Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tennessee, leads Regular Singles at the 2019 Open Championships with 812, one of four 800s bowled this year at the Bowling Plaza.

Like Beasley, and more than 50,000 other competitors, Anderson arrived in Las Vegas with his sights set on one of the event's coveted Eagle trophies, a feat he saw his friends and teammates accomplish in Regular Team and Regular All-Events in 2018, just before he won the USBC Masters at the Oncenter Convention Center in Syracuse, New York.

"I was here to make a run at an Eagle, and I would've hated to not move and end up in the same position," Anderson said. "You have to do what feels best and hope you're right. In this case, I don't know if I made the right moves or had the right equipment. Maybe I trapped myself. Regardless, it still was fun to bowl 300, and the rest was a learning experience."

Ultimately, camaraderie may be the one of the best rewards for bowlers at the Open Championships, who log hundreds or thousands of miles each year to compete against bowlers from all 50 states and several foreign countries.

Only a few hours of the average 3.5 days in the host city is spent on the lanes. The rest of the time often is spent enjoying what the area has to offer and making memories with friends and teammates.

"Even though I'm pretty young, I've bowled in this tournament quite a few times, and while this may have been our worst tournament from a scoring standpoint, it was the most fun I've had," Anderson said. "I love this event. It's probably my favorite nine games. You get to enjoy it with friends, and having my family here is nice, too. There's no other tournament like it. The scores are posted and you know what you have to shoot. That makes every shot a pressure shot, which adds to the excitement."

Along with his 624 singles set, Anderson had 619 in team and 583 in doubles for a 1,826 all-events total.

Matthew Anderson was quick to point out that even with the 300 game, he still beat his younger brother in singles by nearly 50 pins with games of 216, 224 and 231 for a 671 series. He added 518 in doubles and 510 in team for a 1,699 all-events effort.

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