"Everyone left standing was wearing the lightening bolt or the star."
A history making week at the 2013 Lipton Bowling's U.S. Open is about to come to a close on Saturday and when the ESPN lights crank up tomorrow, the entire field will be throwing Storm and Roto Grip equipment.
Storm personnel including Storm Products owners Bill and Barbara Chrisman were brought to tears Friday night at the conclusion of the matchplay rounds of the Men's and Women's U.S Open in Columbus, Ohio. When the last ball was thrown, the mind blowing realization had come true. The entire finalists field was using Utah equipment.
"I just am very humbled," said Storm President Dave Symes. "This is a great day for our company and all the men and women who work so hard to make Storm and Roto Grip successful. Our players bowled great and we feel we provide them with the very best bowling equipment in the world."
For four days, Storm two-hander Jason Belmonte had dominated the field at the Open, and he's now one game away from capping off the wire-to-wire run as the top seed for Saturday's final round at Columbus Western Bowl.
The seven-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion started the week with a 289 game and never looked back, out-averaging the field by more than five pins on the way to a 54-game pinfall total of 12,272, which included an 11-12-1 match-play record and 30 bonus pins for each win. The final round will be televised live on ESPN at noon EDT.
New Storm staffer Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., took a less direct route to the No. 1 seed on the women's side but earned the distinction for the third consecutive year. The 36-year-old right-hander never fell below second place this week and finished her 54 games with a 20-4 match-play record and 12,062 total pinfall.
"Last year, I had a ghost on my shoulder because I led it and lost the year before," said Kulick, who is one of 11 women to win the event more than once (2003, '10 and '12) and is looking to become the first bowler since Dorothy Fothergill in 1969 to win in back-to-back years. "I have to think the same way I did last year and play offense and really attack. All you can do is put yourself in a position to win, and I did that. I really want to win. I want to repeat."
Belmonte, who will celebrate his 30th birthday Monday, will be joined in the championship round by defending champion and five-time U.S. Open winner and Storm star Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. (12,098), Team USA member and Storm staffer Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash. (12,069) and seven-time PBA champion and Roto Grip staffer Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas (12,049).
On the women's side, two-time U.S. Women's Open titlist and storm staffer Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., earned the second seed with an 11,778 total and was followed by reigning USBC Queens champion and Storm staffer Diandra Asbaty of Chicago (11,495) and Team USA member Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y. (11,465). McEwan is a Storm Staffer.
"I am mentally and physically exhausted, but this tournament is supposed to take everything out of you," said Belmonte, who won the 2013 USBC Masters and is in position to become the 11th player in PBA history to win two majors in one season. "I am glad I was able to start the way I did and carry it through."
The combined U.S. Open events have a prize fund of more than $400,000 and will culminate with the live two-hour telecast, which will end with a special Battle of the Sexes match to crown the ultimate U.S. Open winner. The special match will feature the men's and women's champions and be broadcast live on ESPN immediately following the men's and women's finals.
Each U.S. Open winner will receive $50,000, while the winner of the Battle of the Sexes will take home an additional $10,000.
The 2013 Lipton Bowling's U.S. Open started with nearly 400 of the best men and women bowlers in the world, competing side by side (in separate events) at three Columbus-area bowling centers - Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, Columbus Western Bowl and Holiday Lanes. The cashers round and all match play was held at Columbus Bowl.
2013 Lipton Bowling's U.S. Open
At Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Friday's match play standings (with hometown and pinfall):
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 11-12-1, 12,272. (Storm Staff)
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 16-8-0, 12,098. (Storm Staff)
3, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 16-7-1, 12,069. (Storm Staff)
4, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 16-8-0, 12,049. (Roto Grip Staff)
Did not advance:
5, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 15-9-0, 11,856, $9,000.
6, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 14-10-0, 11,803, $8,825.
7, Stuart Williams, England, 12-12-0, 11,798, $6,000. (Roto Grip Staff)
8, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 12-11-1, 11,740, $5,000.
9, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 11-13-0, 11,673, $4,500.
10, Mike Fagan, Ft. Worth, Texas, 12-12-0, 11,624, $4,000. (Storm Staff)
11, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 16-8-0, 11,617, $3,750. (Storm Staff)
12, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 14-10-0, 11,584, $3,500. (Storm Staff)
13, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 12-12-0, 11,581, $3,250.
14, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 9-15-0, 11,550, $3,000.
15, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 12-12-0, 11,491, $2,900. (Storm Staff)
16, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 12-12-0, 11,490, $2,800. (Storm Staff)
17, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 8-16-0, 11,477, $2,700. (Storm Staff)
18, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, MI, 12-12-0, 11,472, $2,600.
19, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 11-12-1, 11,359, $2,500.
20, Brian LeClair, Albany, N.Y., 9-15-0, 11,351, $2,400. (Roto Grip Staff)
21, Michael Snell, Plattsmouth, Neb., 12-12-0, 11,335, $2,300.
22, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 10-14-0, 11,268, $2,200.
23, Brett Wolfe, Tempe, Ariz., 7-17-0, 11,142, $2,100.
24, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 7-17-0, 11,132, $2,000.
1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 20-4-0, 12,062. (Storm Staff)
2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 17-7-0, 11,778. (Storm Staff)
3, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 18-6-0, 11,495. (Storm Staff)
4, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 12-11-1, 11,465. (Storm Staff)
Did not advance:
5, Leanne Hulsenberg, Roseville, Calif., 14-10-0, 11,401, $7,000. (Storm Staff)
6, Stefanie Nation, Grand Prairie, Texas, 14-10-0, 11,329, $4,000.
7, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 12-12-0, 11,316, $3,500. (Roto Grip Staff)
8, Shannon O'Keefe, Arlington, Texas, 14-10-0, 11,254, $3,000.
9, Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 13-11-0, 11,223, $2,500.
10, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 11-13-0, 11,157, $2,250. (Storm Staff)
11, Josie Earnest, Vandalia, Ill., 10-14-0, 11,095, $2,000.
12, Krista Pollanen, Finland, 12-12-0, 11,026, $1,950.
13, Jacqui Reese, Bangor, Pa., 12-12-0, 11,001, $1,900.
14, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 9-15-0, 10,991, $1,800.
15, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 9-15-0, 10,948, $1,750.
16, Sandra Andersson, Sweden, 9-15-0, 10,913, $1,700.
17, Brandi Branka, Momence, Ill., 14-10-0, 10,911, $1,675.
18, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 9-12-3, 10,907, $1,650.
19, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 9-15-0, 10,901, $1,625.
20, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 10-12-2, 10,862, $1,600. (Roto Grip Staff)
21, Lindsay Boomershine, Brigham City, Utah, 10-12-2, 10,809, $1,575. (Storm Staff)
22, Kim Yioulos, Rochester, N.Y., 9-15-0, 10,798, $1,550.
23, Brittni Hamilton, Webster, N.Y., 10-13-1, 10,742, $1,525.
24, Kim Kearney, Grand Prairie, Texas, 6-17-1, 10,682, $1,500.