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Jeff Richgels

The 11th Frame: Kelly Bonta takes Open Championships singles lead with 776 that features perfect game

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 10:00 pm

Kelly Bonta rolled a 776 that included a 300 game to take the singles lead on Sunday at the USBC Open Championships. Photo by United States Bowling Congress.

Heading into his 2013 USBC Open Championships competition, Kelly Bonta had a perfect game in the tournament but not an Eagle.

In singles on Sunday, he opened with his second career Open Championships 300 game and after games of 248 and 228 was in line for that Eagle with a 776 series that edged him past Greg Roberts’ 771 for the singles lead, USBC reported.

“I love bowling in this place,” Bonta said of the National Bowling Stadium in this USBC news release. “To me, it’s the greatest place there is to bowl, and I feel like I always bowl well here. I somehow figure it out and shoot a score and shoot something for myself.”

Bonta had sets of 602 in both team and doubles, but in singles he made a huge move left with his feet and eyes, switched balls and changed hand positions before finally getting comfortable, USBC reported.

“I was just trying to stay clean, trying to make great shots, keep up with the moves and keep up with the lane,” he said in the USBC release. “Trying not to make a mistake was the biggest thing. I was thinking about one shot at a time. I wasn’t trying to look for a score. It was about making a good shot and going to the next frame.”

Here is a USBC video feature on Bonta's big effort.

Later on Sunday in team competition, Verne Heidenreiter of Sheboygan Falls rolled a perfect game in a 794 series that is the highest so far of the tournament.

Heidenreiter, who also rolled a 300 in the Open Championships at the Stadium in 2003, finished his first game with four strikes for 215, shot 300, then started game three with another nine strikes before a 4-in ended his string at 25. He converted the spare and struck for a 279, leading his M3 Advisors Budweiser team to 3,038, USBC reported in this news release.

Heidenreiter used a Storm IQ TOUR.

“I wasn’t quite as nervous as the first time” shooting 300 in the tournament, Heidenreiter said in the release. “The guys I bowled with helped to keep me calm. We had a game plan for today, and for the most part, it worked. The pattern opened up a little more from all of us playing the same area, and I just started carrying.”

Heidenreiter added series of 593 in doubles and 607 in singles for a 1,994 all-events total.