Kansas bowling superhero Kelly Bonta shoots 300 to lead at OC
Amateur bowler from Kansas, Kelly Bonta of Wichita, relishes bowling at the National Bowling Stadium and displayed his histrionics yet again on Sunday as he became the third bowler in United States Bowling Congress Open Championships history with two perfect games at the NBS.
The 47-year-old right-hander was on top of the world after his legendary 300 and included games of 248 and 228 to also remain on top of the leaderboard in Regular Singles with a 776 series. Greg Roberts of Oshkosh, Wis., earlier held the lead with 771.
"I love bowling in this place," said Bonta, who has averaged 219.7 in eight visits to the National Bowling Stadium. "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."
Even after his history of success at the NBS, Bonta's 2013 USBC Open Championships campaign got off to a poor start with matching 602 sets in team and doubles. Getting close towards the singles event, he made a great move left with his feet and his eyes, altered balls and changed hand positions before finally getting comfortable.
Bonta's first taste of accomplishment at the Open Championships came in 2007, and although he did think back to that experience, he did not rely on it this time around as he became the 25th bowler eventually with two perfect games on the championship lanes.
"I thought back to it a little bit, but there's a point where you've just got to stay with what you're doing and stay in the moment and not revert back to something you did earlier," said Bonta, who made his 26th tournament outing and entered the year just outside the top 25 on the lifetime average list with 210.3.
"It felt the same, though. It's an awesome feeling. I got the greatest break in the world by tripping the 9 on the fill, so it was a great feeling. I never saw it coming, either."
After two games of singles, Bonta's eventual objective was to stay clean. The chance of rolling the first 800 series of the 2013 event, also crept into his mind, but he had no idea he had a shot at the singles lead, too.
"I was just trying to stay clean, trying to make great shots, keep up with the moves and keep up with the lane," said Bonta, who finished with a 1,980 all-events total Sunday. "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."
He went on to finish 55th in team and 10th in all-events in 2011.
Phillip Horowitz of Pontiac, Mich., (1998 and 2004) and Dave Cirigliano of Phoenix (1998 and 2007) are the other bowlers with two perfect games at the NBS. Shannon Dins of Fitchburg, Wis., rolled the only other 300 of the 2013 Open Championships on March 15.