In the 2017 National Championships, the Central Division acquitted itself admirably. The men’s pairs team of Jim Grzybowski and Leif Andresen finished in a four way tie for first place before losing by one shot in a playoff to Steve Smith and Bill Brault, the eventual champions. Rob Behncke, the men’s singles entry, started off great with three wins out of the first four games. This included giving the 2017 champion Charlie Herbert his only loss of the tournament. Unfortunately Rob couldn’t maintain his momentum and finished up in the middle of the pack.
The women’s pairs team of Anna Witt and Rebecca Nguyen finished in second place with a strong performance. Rosa Baer the singles entrant came in third in her event. Rosa was handicapped by not having a nearby home green on which to practice in the weeks leading up to the championships along with becoming ill early in the week. All of these ladies are former national champions.
The Central Division probably has the shortest playing season of any of the US divisions, with maybe five or six months of good bowling weather. Yet it was, and still is, the home of some great bowlers who have excelled nationally and internationally over the years. Playing against other strong bowlers as well as with having to adjust to constantly changing conditions in weather and green speed have been a factor in producing highly competitive bowlers.
Two guys who recently defected from the Central Division to spend their “golden” years in the south (aka whimps) proudly wore their Central Division green at the US Open. Steve Nelson and John Kirkwood defeated some extremely strong teams to go undefeated on day one. They lost their first game on day two and went into the the second flight. Then they made it all the way to the finals where they came in second place. Way to go green guys! Great job!