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RENO, Nev. - Four-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour titlist Brian Himmler of Cincinnati landed at the top of the leaderboard in three events at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC this week after shooting the highest series of the 2013 event.

The 40-year-old right hander fired games of 279, 249 and 268 for a 796 series on his way into the top spot in Open Singles and in the Dual Entry standings. The effort also helped Himmler and Henry Dawson of Elma, Wash., capture the Open Doubles lead with a 1,464 total. Dawson added 668.

Shawn Lee of Centennial, Colo., previously held the Open Singles lead with 765, while Chris Bardol of Brockport, N.Y., and Team USA member Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., held the doubles lead with 1,458.

Himmler planned to use the side event to get in some games before making his appearance at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships. After competing on a Bowlers Journal squad with fresh oil, he saw the oil pattern open up and opted to give it another try.

The Bowlers Journal Championships is being held in conjunction with the USBC Open Championships for the 67th year, but the two events are being conducted in the same venue for the first time. The Open Championships is being contested on the first 64 lanes of the 78-lane National Bowling Stadium, while the BJ is using lanes 69-78. Himmler shot 657 before everything fell into place.

"I just wanted to bowl as much as I could before the tournament because I don't bowl as much as I used to," said Himmler, who made his 23rd Open Championships appearance, which includes 13 years at the USBC Masters while he was on the PBA Tour. "I shot 260 the last game of my first set, and it was looking pretty sweet, so I decided to bowl again. I was unconscious there for the next hour and a half. It was a great start to the week."

Another first this year is the use of two Sport Bowling-certified lane conditions at the Open Championships - one for team competition and another for doubles and singles. The Bowlers Journal Championships features the 39-foot doubles and singles pattern, and Himmler thought the side event gave him good insight and a consistent look and feel when it came time to perform on bowling's biggest stage at the Open Championships.

"It helped a lot actually," Himmler said. "I saw the same look when we bowled on the fresh. They were tough the first game, but once the oil carried down, they got pretty nice, and we could really open them up."

After starting his 2013 Open Championships campaign with a 656 series in team and 628 in doubles, Himmler nearly repeated his Bowlers Journal performance during singles, rolling games of 279, 219 and 269 for a 767 series, which is good for ninth place in Regular Singles. Team USA member John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., leads Regular Singles and Regular All-Events with 789 and 2,228, respectively.

"Doubles is always a hard event for me to get loose and comfortable, but then it was time to go," said Himmler, who finished with a 2,051 all-events total. "I could have gotten there. In the second game of singles, I got in a spot where I lost carry for a second and threw one bad shot, which was a split. I was ready for a move and made a big move after that. I could have shot 300 the last game but lost two hits. It would be great to hold on. I missed coming here when I was bowling on the Tour."

This year's Bowlers Journal Championships offers singles and doubles competition for bowlers of all ages and skill levels. There are four singles categories and four doubles categories as well as a complimentary Dual Entry prize fund for bowlers who choose to enter doubles and singles at the same time, using their three-game totals for both events. Bowlers can enter doubles with up to two partners at the same time.

Himmler's big series at the Bowlers Journal also helped him and Aaron Craig of Lexington, Ky., to a 1,293 doubles total.

Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.

Story courtesy of Aaron Smith of USBC and Bowl.com

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