Vermillion bowler battles injury, takes singles lead at Open Championships Even a knee brace and a limp from a nagging injury couldn't slow down Dennis Tomhave of Vermillion, who was able to battle through the discomfort and move into the top spot in Classified Singles at the USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas, NV on Friday, March 20. The 55-year-old right-hander improved with each set he bowled at Cashman Center this week and finished with games of 224, 229 and 226 for a 679 singles effort. Ryan Knutson of Dilworth, MN, previously held the Classified Singles lead with 664. "I figured that even the Classified lead was over 700, so I didn't really give much thought to the standings," said Tomhave, who made his 21st Open Championships appearance. "Now that I'm older and my health is not as good, I can't maintain my average like I used to, so I don't worry about my performance too much. I had no idea I took the lead. This feels awesome." Tomhave injured his knee years ago, and as he's gotten older, arthritis has set in and made the pain worse, which affects his pushaway. As he considers an eventual knee replacement, he has dropped from three leagues each week to just one, but still plans to compete at the Open Championships each year. "One of the main guys I come with has been bowling with me since the beginning, so we plan to keep coming," Tomhave said. "All of the excitement of walking in for team event that was there the first year is still there every year. The tournament is also a good excuse to see different places and have a nice vacation with my wife." Tomhave's 2009 tournament started slowly with a 156 game, but a little advice from his teammates and a change in strategy helped him finish his team event with a 550 series. He improved to 570 in doubles on the way to a 1,799 all-events total, which is good for second place overall. Anthony Kastle of Charlotte, NC., leads Classified All-Events with 1,834. "My first goal each year is to not let my teammates or doubles partner down," Tomhave said. "There are always some jitters that first game, you're a little tighter and spares are tougher. By the time you get to singles, the pressure is off because you're on your own and can't let anyone down, and it's easier to relax." Now that he's in the lead, Tomhave likely will keep one eye on the leaderboard. "I was just trying to bowl for myself and do the best I could," Tomhave said. "Of course, it would be a dream come true to win. Actually, just seeing my name on the leaderboard right now is like a dream come true, whether I win or not." Presenting sponsors for the 2009 USBC Open Championships are the Coast Casinos in Las Vegas and the Eldorado Hotel Casino, Silver Legacy Resort Casino and Circus Circus in Reno, Nev. Other participating sponsors are Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Brunswick, capital equipment supplier; Storm Products, Inc.; Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel and Four Queens Hotel and Casino, the official brackets sponsors; Sapphire Gentleman's Club; Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino; MGM Mirage; Jerry's Nugget Casino and Fitzgerald's Casino and Hotel.
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