LAS VEGAS — Being a last-minute substitute can have its advantages, as Charles Adler of Madison found out recently at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The 57-year-old right-hander was scheduled to bowl in Las Vegas this year, before an original member of the team he was on returned to the roster, leaving Adler without a spot.
It turns out being the odd man out wasn’t a bad thing, after all, as Adler was recruited by a group of bowlers from his home center — Pollard’s Bowl in Versailles — with a long track record of success at the USBC Open Championships.
Knowing their reputation, and leaning on them for their expertise, Adler posted sets of 729 in team, 678 in doubles and 628 in singles for a 2,035 total. It was the best of his five Open Championships appearances by nearly 300 pins.
“Honestly, I felt a little lucky today, but I also felt like I was throwing the ball really well,” Adler said. “I knew as long as I stayed clean, I’d have a shot.”
Adler’s team set put the Standard All-Events lead well within reach heading into doubles and singles at the South Point Bowling Center on Tuesday. He needed just 1,213 over six games for a share of the lead, which was held by Michael Hamilton of Davenport, Iowa, with 1,942.
Across the nine games, Adler broke 200 seven times and had four games over 240. His best all-events performance in his first four Open Championships appearances was 1,750 at the 2019 event, also at South Point.
The Standard Division, for bowlers with entering tournament averages of 156-175, was introduced in 2017. In three years of competition, the winning all-events scores were 1,915, 1,855 and 1,876.
The team Adler landed on this year included USBC Hall of Famer Rick Pollard, who helped Pollard’s Bowl to the Team All-Events title at the 1996 tournament in Salt Lake City with a record score of 10,425, now the tournament’s longest-standing scoring record.
Pollard’s Bowl produced a pair of recent champions, too, with Jamie and Vicky Pollard winning Classified Doubles in 2015.
Adler’s performance in the team event Monday at the South Point Bowling Plaza helped the 2021 edition of Pollard’s Bowl to a 3,166 total and a spot just outside the top 25 in Regular Team.
He was joined in the effort by Rick Pollard (627), Christopher Pollard (618), Tyler Slaubaugh (604) and David Welage (588).
The record-setting Pollard’s Bowl team in 1996 included Rick Pollard, his brother and fellow USBC Hall of Famer, Ron Pollard, Jerry Kessler and another pair of hall of famers, Don Scudder Jr. and Bill Spigner.
The 2021 Open Championships will run for 79 consecutive days from May 1 through July 18.
For more information on the Open Championships, visit BOWL.com/OpenChamp or on Facebook at the official USBC Open Championships Facebook page.