Yorker teams with Elizabethtown bowler to take lead in national doubles event in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS – York’s Andrew Carson and Elizabethtown’s Scott Kinkaid are pretty active on the competitive bowling scene, but the 27 miles between their hometowns is just far enough that they haven’t had the chance to bowl together locally.
Instead, they traveled more than 2,400 miles to share the lanes at the South Point Bowling Plaza, and they made the most of the opportunity by taking the lead in Regular Doubles at the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The two right-handers got out to a hot start Saturday night and remained consistent across the three games, finishing with a 1,433 total. Carson, 41, rolled games of 236, 236 and 255 for a 727 series, and Kinkaid, 48, added 268, 203 and 235 for a 706 set.
Both were career-high performances on the tournament lanes and helped them past Eric Nelson of Minot, North Dakota, and Daniel Kimmer of Monticello, Minnesota, who previously held the lead at 1,399.
“We’ve always talked about teaming up in local tournaments or whatever else is going on, but we have our consistent guys we bowl with, and we’re just far enough away that we’ve never quite been able to make it work,” Carson said. “We finally got the chance to do it, and it’s special to be able to perform like this on this stage.”
Getting back on track: Just like their team event Friday night that saw their two separate teams land among the top 15 in the Regular Team standings, the doubles success was the result of teamwork, communication and a solid game plan.
And, when Kinkaid found himself getting a little caught up in the moment after the big opening game, he was able to rely on Carson and the rest of their teammates to get him back on track.
“I think I let the emotions get a hold of me a little bit in Game 2, but Andy was able to keep the ship right and help me settle back down,” said Kinkaid, who made his eighth appearance at the USBC Open Championships and turned in the first 700 series of his tournament career. “I was able to feed off him. I think Game 1, we kind of cut one leg off, and we had two games to finish it up. We really came together Game 3, and with a couple better breaks, it could’ve been a really good number. We’re very happy overall, though.”
Attacking with a plan: Kinkaid and Carson, along with Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion Sam Cooley of Australia and Cody Shoemaker of Hanover, Pennsylvania, attacked the lanes with a plan that was based on theory and analysis, and it paid off.
After a team practice session at the nearby South Point Bowling Center, they felt the lane condition they faced on the way to team totals of 3,136 (eighth) and 3,066 (13th) Friday night was very similar to what they saw in practice.
Based on that experience, what they’d seen and heard about this year’s doubles and singles oil pattern and how some members of the group had performed at the 2022 Bowlers Journal Championships, which features the same lane condition, they formulated a plan for their six games Saturday night.
Carson didn’t actually compete in the Bowlers Journal event, but watching his teammates gave him valuable information that helped devise the strategy.
“We always talk about trying to leave with the lead, which is a lot harder to do in July, compared to March, but we’re here now, and we did it, and that’s all we can ask for right now,” Carson said. “Coming in here with a game plan and truly executing is the goal. You know things have to align for you to have a shot at it, and to have that chance and take advantage, feels amazing.”
Proper preparation: The team’s early appearance at this year’s 129-day Open Championships also was strategic, as it coincides with the upcoming USBC Masters, which will be held this week at the nearby Gold Coast Bowling Center.
Kinkaid’s preparation for the Masters, a major on the PBA Tour, directly contributed to his success Saturday.
“I’m bowling the Masters next week, so I’ve been practicing for that,” Kinkaid said. “When you’re preparing for something like that, you’re seeing different patterns and really trying to get sharp, and that can only help on something like this.”
He added a 663 singles series, to go along with a 615 set in team, for a 1,984 all-events total, also the best of his short Open Championships career. He had 1,929 at the 2018 event in Syracuse.
Keeping an eye on the leaderboard: Carson also intended to compete in the Masters, but a job change in November meant limited time off. He’ll instead return home to Pennsylvania, where he’ll keep a close eye on the online leaderboard.
“I’m a tech guy, so I usually have 50 tabs on two browsers open, and that’ll be one that gets refreshed a few times a day or after every doubles and singles squad,” Carson said. “I’ll wake up and check to see if anyone did anything on the late squad, and I’ll probably check throughout the day. Maybe a twice-a-day ritual, maybe more.”
Carson started the weekend with a 616 series in the team event and finished the trip with a 599 singles series for a 1,942 all-events total.
Team standings: He also helped BowlerMaxx 1 into third place in Team All-Events with a 9,550 total.
Cooley set the pace for BowlerMaxx 1 with a 2,002 total and was followed by Shoemaker (1,993), Carson, James Greg Bruff (1,861) and William Kuntz (1,752).
Kinkaid’s BowlerMaxx 2 squad is 13th in Regular Team and 13th in Team All-Events with 9,121.
Team All-Events uses the combined all-events totals of all five team members to determine a champion. Supreme Deck of Grand Haven, Michigan, leads this year with 9,917.
The 2022 Open Championships got underway March 12 and will run daily until July 18.
The Bowlers Journal Championships, being held simultaneously for the 75th year, will run through July 17, with squads throughout each day.
For more information on the Open Championships, visit BOWL.com/OpenChamp.
The United States Bowling Congress provided information for this report.