Illinois man rolls eighth perfect game of 2019 USBC Open Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and Daniel Farish
USBC Communications

- Randy Suiter of Jacksonville, Illinois, has been through a lot over the last 10 years in order to compete at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

Multiple surgeries have hampered his physical abilities, and losing his job at one point forced him into a four-year hiatus from the tournament.

But, after rolling the eighth perfect game of the 2019 event, Suiter would tell you it all has been worth it.

Admittedly nervous, the 55-year-old right-hander has had experience when it comes to rolling perfect games. He has rolled more than a dozen USBC-certified 300 games in his career. But, nothing truly can prepare you for a moment like the one he experienced Friday at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

"I was just telling myself not to pull it, to follow through and to hit my mark," said Suiter who made his 19th USBC Open Championships appearance. "I knew the shot was out there, I just had to hit it."

After throwing two pressure-packed strikes in the 10th and 11th frames, he continued talking himself down as he stepped up for the biggest shot of his tournament career.

"I told myself to breathe," Suiter said. "I knew I was nervous, but I was trying to get my breathing down, so I could stay nice and easy. As soon as the ball left my hand, I knew it was bad."

As the ball crossed over the middle of the lane, all he could hope for was a little luck. He stepped back from the foul line and off to the side, pointing toward the 1-2 pocket, willing the ball away from leaving a split.

After all 10 pins fell, Suiter crouched down, clinched his fists and enjoyed a moment to himself.

"I was thanking anyone and everyone I could," Suiter said. "Mom, dad, God, everybody. I mean, I got lucky. I may never win an Eagle, but man, I'll never forget this."

Suiter's 300 game came shortly after Team USA member and 2018 USBC Masters champion Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan, rolled the tournament's first perfect game in three weeks.

The perfect finish helped Suiter to a 637 singles series, which started with games of 160 and 177.

With his performance, Suiter became only the second Standard Division bowler to roll a perfect game since the division was added in 2017. Todd Reno of Lemont, Illinois, was the first to do so earlier this year during doubles, propelling him and Robert Riley of Plainfield, Illinois, into the lead in Standard Doubles with a 1,270 total.

Suiter, who bowls league at King Pin Lanes in Springfield, Illinois, doesn't regularly bowl on the challenging conditions seen at the Open Championships and routinely has struggled on the championship lanes.

"I learned a lot coming out here, and I feel like I have a rough idea of how to play the lanes in the future," Suiter said. "We bowl on your typical house shots back home, so I only get to see stuff like this once each year. That makes it really difficult, but that's why we come here."

Before a couple of setbacks in life, Suiter had competed in 16 consecutive Open Championships, beginning with his debut at the 1997 event in Huntsville, Alabama. His return came last year in Syracuse, New York.

"I got laid off and went without a job for 10 months, so the wife and I decided to cut some expenses, and bowling got put on the back burner," said Suiter, who now works for the Illinois Department of Corrections. "When I started bowling in Springfield, the guys invited me to come out last year, and I agreed. It has been a lot of fun. They are a great group of guys."

Suiter also has had to overcome multiple surgeries, including one on each shoulder, as well as two on his left knee. A hip replacement also is in his future, but he says he's pushing that off until he's no longer able to compete on the lanes.

One of the things Suiter is looking forward to most is returning home with some serious bragging rights in his back pocket.

"This is going to give me bragging rights over everyone back home, because none of them have done this before," Suiter said.

Suiter finished his 2019 Open Championships campaign with a 1,650 all-events score. That included 562 in doubles and 451 in team. Jenny Wonders of Roscoe, Illinois, leads Standard All-Events this year with 1,876.

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