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U.S. Open (bowling)

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The U.S. Open is one of the five major tournaments in the Professional Bowlers Association. Despite its status as a PBA Tour major, the tournament is open to qualifying amateurs as well as PBA members. The U.S. Open is considered one of the most difficult tournaments to bowl in today, due to its long format (56 games from opening qualifying through the match play rounds; 64 games if a player from the pre-tournament qualifier makes it through) and demanding oil pattern, which differs from most oil patterns the PBA employs.[1]

Tournament history[edit]

With the exception of 1997 and 2014, the U.S. Open has been held in some form every year since 1942 (82 years ago) (1942). Prior to 1971, this event was known as the BPAA All-Star. Andy Varipapa is notable for winning back-to-back BPAA All-Star titles in 1947 and 1948, the second coming at age 57, which makes him this tournament's oldest winner.[2] BPAA All-Star winners in the PBA era (1959–1970) were initially not credited with PBA titles for their victories. A rule change in 2008, however, retroactively awarded titles to the winners if they were PBA members at the time of their victories. Because the 1959 BPAA All-Star occurred before the PBA's debut, Harry Smith (1960) is considered the first PBA titlist in a BPAA All-Star event.

The first modern-day U.S. Open tournament in the PBA took place in 1971 and was won by Mike Limongello. With five wins, Pete Weber holds the most U.S. Open trophies of all time, one more than his father, Dick Weber, and Don Carter.[3] Pete Weber is also the only player to win a U.S. Open title in four different decades (1988, 1991, 2004, 2007 and 2012). The last player to successfully defend a U.S. Open title was Dave Husted, who won the event in 1995 and 1996.

The 1987 U.S. Open, sponsored by Seagram Wine Coolers, offered a then-record total purse of $500,000, and was the first PBA tournament to award a $100,000 first prize (won by Del Ballard Jr.).

Unable to find viable sponsorship, the U.S. Open was canceled for 2014, amid speculation that the tournament may not return at all.[4] However, the USBC and BPAA later reached a three-year agreement that brought the tournament back for 2015, 2016 and 2017.[5] The USBC and BPAA secured Bowlmor AMF, at the time the largest operator of bowling centers in the world, as the title sponsor for 2015.[6] The 2015 tournament took place November 2–8 in Garland, Texas.

Beginning in 2017 with the U.S. Open held at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, New York, the tournament instituted a partial invitational field for the first time.[7] Among those invited are top money leaders among PBA members, top performers from a variety of USBC events, members of Team USA and Junior Team USA, winners of the past ten U.S. Opens, the last three winners from each of the PBA's other major championships, and winners of the current year PBA Regional Tour U.S. Open qualifier tournaments. The "open" portion of the tournament is actually a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) with a maximum of 80 entries. Top finishers from the eight-game PTQ then join all those who accepted invitations to round out the starting field of 144 players.[8] The 2018 event had 116 invitational entries and only 28 open spots available via the PTQ.[9] In 2019, only 91 invitees entered the tournament, so 53 open spots were filled from the PTQ.[10]


Starting in 2020, the starting field has been limited to only 108 players. After the starting field is determined, players bowl 24 qualifying games in three 8-game blocks on three different lane conditions. The top 36 in pinfall advance to the cashers round for 8 more games. The top 24 players after the cashers round then bowl 24 round-robin, head-to-head match play games, all on the same 41-foot pattern. In the match play round, players are awarded actual pinfall plus 30 bonus pins for every match won (15 bonus pins each in the case of a tie). The top five after the match play round advance to the televised championship finals, which is on the same oil pattern as match play.[11]

Current champion[edit]

2024 Event[edit]

The 2024 U.S. Open was held at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, Indiana on January 28 to February 4, with a pre-tournament qualifier on January 27. The tournament had a field of 108 players and a prize fund of $297,490, with a $100,000 top prize.[12] Kyle Troup, the runner-up in the 2023 U.S. Open, won his eleventh PBA Tour title and second major. Qualifying as the #3 seed, Troup defeated three previous U.S. Open champions on his way to the title. In his first match, he knocked off #4 seed and 2023 winner E. J. Tackett, then defeated Jason Belmonte in the semifinal match. Against top seed Anthony Simonsen, Troup rolled to a 223–181 victory, donning his first-ever green jacket.[13]

Match #1Match #2Match #3Title match
1Anthony Simonsen181
2Jason Belmonte1573Kyle Troup223
3Kyle Troup2123Kyle Troup229
4E. J. Tackett2125E. J. Tackett200
5Bill O'Neill209
  • Prize Pool:
1. Kyle Troup (Mount Washington, Kentucky) – $100,000
2. Anthony Simonsen (Las Vegas, Nevada) – $50,000
3. Jason Belmonte (Orange, New South Wales, Australia) – $25,000
4. E. J. Tackett (Ossian, Indiana) – $15,000
5. Bill O'Neill (Langhorne, Pennsylvania) – $10,000

Past champions[edit]

U.S. Open champions[edit]

Year Winner Runner-up Championship match score
1971 Mike Limongello Teata Semiz 194–186
1972 Don Johnson George Pappas 233–224
1973 Mike McGrath Earl Anthony 234–222
1974 Larry Laub Dave Davis 258–237
1975 Steve Neff Paul Colwell 279–217
1976 Paul Moser Jim Frazier 226–195
1977 Johnny Petraglia Bill Spigner 279–232
1978 Nelson Burton Jr. Jeff Mattingly 204–201
1979 Joe Berardi Earl Anthony 232–195
1980 Steve Martin Earl Anthony 248–222
1981 Marshall Holman Mark Roth 200–179
1982 Dave Husted Gil Sliker 255–180
1983 Gary Dickinson Steve Neff 214–202
1984 Mark Roth Guppy Troup 244–237
1985 Marshall Holman Wayne Webb 233–205
1986 Steve Cook Frank Ellenburg 245–211
1987 Del Ballard Jr. Pete Weber 247–209
1988 Pete Weber Marshall Holman 203–171
1989 Mike Aulby Jim Pencak 195–178
1990 Ron Palombi Jr. Amleto Monacelli 269–205
1991 Pete Weber Mark Thayer 289–184
1992 Robert Lawrence Scott Devers 226–221
1993 Del Ballard Jr. Walter Ray Williams Jr. 237–193
1994 Justin Hromek Parker Bohn III 267–230
1995 Dave Husted Paul Koehler 266–245
1996 Dave Husted George Brooks 216–214
1997 Not held
1998 Walter Ray Williams Jr. Tim Criss 221–189
1999 Bob Learn Jr. Jason Couch 231–215
2000 Robert Smith Norm Duke 202–201
2001–02 Mika Koivuniemi Patrick Healey, Jr. 247–182
2002–03 Walter Ray Williams Jr. Michael Haugen Jr. 236–198
2003–04 Pete Weber Brian Voss 231–178
2004–05 Chris Barnes Patrick Allen 213–212
2005–06 Tommy Jones Ryan Shafer 237–223
2006–07 Pete Weber Wes Malott 210–204
2007–08 Norm Duke Mika Koivuniemi 224–216
2008–09 Mike Scroggins Norm Duke 191–173
2009–10 Bill O'Neill Mike Scroggins 267–207
2010–11 Norm Duke Mika Koivuniemi 225–216
2011–12 Pete Weber Mike Fagan 215–214
2012–13 Wes Malott Jason Belmonte 214–156
2014 Not held
2015 Ryan Ciminelli Dominic Barrett 236–223
2016 François Lavoie Marshall Kent 228–194
2017 Rhino Page Jakob Butturff 256–222
2018 Dominic Barrett Jakob Butturff 207–206
2019 François Lavoie Sean Rash 221–172
2020 Jason Belmonte Anthony Simonsen 226–201
2021 Chris Via Jakob Butturff 214–213
2022 Anthony Simonsen E. J. Tackett 232–165
2023 E. J. Tackett Kyle Troup 221–208
2024 Kyle Troup Anthony Simonsen 223–181

BPAA All-Star champions[edit]

  • 1942 – John Crimmons
  • 1943 – Connie Schwoegler
  • 1944 – Ned Day
  • 1945 – Buddy Bomar
  • 1946 – Joe Wilman
  • 1947 – Andy Varipapa
  • 1948 – Andy Varipapa
  • 1949 – Connie Schwoegler
  • 1950 – Junie McMahon
  • 1951 – Dick Hoover
  • 1952 – Junie McMahon
  • 1953 – Don Carter
  • 1954 – Don Carter
  • 1955 – Steve Nagy
  • 1956 – Bill Lilliard
  • 1957 – Don Carter
  • 1958 – Don Carter
  • 1959 – Billy Welu
  • 1960 – Harry Smith
  • 1961 – Bill Tucker
  • 1962 – Dick Weber
  • 1963 – Dick Weber
  • 1964 – Bob Strampe Sr.
  • 1965 – Dick Weber
  • 1966 – Dick Weber
  • 1967 – Les Schissler
  • 1968 - Jim Stefanich
  • 1969 – Billy Hardwick
  • 1970 – Bobby Cooper

U.S. Open oil pattern[edit]

The U.S. Open featured what PBA.com describes as "the toughest lane oil design in all of bowling." The pattern is considered "flat," meaning equal amounts of oil are applied to every lane board.[2] (A typical lane condition allows more oil in the middle section of lane boards, and lesser amounts on the outer boards.)

Many claim the oil pattern was responsible for the lack of left-handed winners in this tournament, because there isn't enough ball traffic on the left side to create a "track area."[14] When Mike Scroggins won the 2009 event in North Brunswick, New Jersey, he became the first left-hander in 20 years (Mike Aulby, 1989) to earn a U.S. Open title. Aulby's win was on an oil pattern where oil was applied more heavily on the outer boards (that is, those closest to the gutters), to the point where the outer parts of the lanes were effectively unplayable. In all, left-handers accounted for six victories (McGrath [1973], Moser [1976], Petraglia [1977], Cook [1986], Aulby [1989], and Scroggins [2009]) and nine runner-up finishes (Anthony [1973, 1979, 1980], Davis [1974], Devers [1992], Bohn [1994], Couch [1999], Allen [2005], Scroggins [2010]) at the U.S. Open since 1971. It was also the only major title that left-hander and 43-time titlist Earl Anthony never won in his career, though he did finish runner-up three times. In recent years, lefties Ryan Ciminelli (2015) and Rhino Page (2017) have won U.S. Opens.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "65th Denny's U.S. Open". PBA.com. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  2. ^ Weiskopf, Herman (1978). The Perfect Game. Time, Inc. pp. 64, 78. ISBN 0-13-657015-1.
  3. ^ Vint, Bill. "Pete Weber Wins Record Fifth U.S. Open to Surpass Father Dick Weber and Don Carter." Article at www.pba.com on February 26, 2012. [1]
  4. ^ Richgels, Jeff (May 3, 2014). "BPAA cancels U.S. Opens for 2015".
  5. ^ Wiseman, Lucas (May 9, 2014). "USBC, BPAA reach agreement to bring back U.S. Open". Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "Bowlmor AMF becomes title sponsor for 2015 Bowling's U.S. Opens". bowlingdigital.com. December 12, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "Central New York Bowling: Syracuse to host three upcoming national events". March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  8. ^ Cannizzaro, Matt (March 1, 2017). "2017 U.S. Open to Feature Select Field, Improved Pattern Integrity". bowl.com. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Schneider, Jerry (October 22, 2018). "Rhino Page Set to Defend U.S. Open Title; Final Major of Season Could Have Impact on POY and PBA Clash Races". PBA.com. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "2019 U.S. Open PTQ". PBA.com. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "2019 U.S. Open Tournament Information". Bowl.com. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "2023 U.S. Open Prize Fund" (PDF). Bowl.com. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  13. ^ Grubaugh, Donovan (February 4, 2024). "KYLE TROUP WINS 2024 U.S. OPEN FOR SECOND CAREER MAJOR". bowl.com. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  14. ^ Pedersen, Randy. Transcript of 4/5/2009 U.S. Open broadcast on ESPN.

External links[edit]