RENO, Nevada- When Travis Malakowsky of Longview, Wash., missed a 10 pin in the final frame of his team event at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, he thought he'd also missed his opportunity to etch his name into the tournament record books.
Instead, the 30-year-old right-hander looked up at the scoreboard and realized he'd just become the seventh bowler to roll an 800 series this year at the National Bowling Stadium with games of 278, 279 and 247 for an 804 series.
"Getting up in the 10th frame, I thought I needed a strike to secure the 800," said Malakowsky, who made his sixth USBC Open Championships appearance Tuesday and helped Triangle Bowl of Kelso, Wash., to a 3,244 team total. "I threw a good shot but left the 10 pin."
On his spare attempt, Malakowsky missed the single pin to the right and nearly fell to his knees, unaware that even with the miss, he had secured his place in Open Championships history.
"I thought I blew it and shot 790-something," said Malakowsky, who struck 28 times in three games on the 43-foot Sport-certified team lane condition. "Then, one of my good friends shouted out that I had 804. I got lucky."
His performance left him with a feeling of d‚j… vu, as it was not the first time he had flirted with an 800 series at the one-of-a-kind NBS. At the 2011 Storm National Mixed Championships, Malakowsky fired a 799 series.
"When I bowled the National Mixed, I left a 10 pin in the 10th frame to finish with a 799," said Malakowsky, who manages the pro shop at Triangle Bowl in Longview. "I thought history had repeated itself, and my eyes got a little misty."
Malakowsky, who was part of a 40-man group organized by coordinator Beau Little, couldn't help but give credit to the group for keeping him in the moment Tuesday.
"I had a great team that was very supportive," Malakowsky said. "They all had my back, telling me to take it one ball at a time and to breathe, which got me into a relaxed state of mind."
After it all was said and done, Malakowsky wasted no time in relishing the moment. His previous high on the championship lanes was a 699 singles set at the NBS in 2011.
"To do it here, it's the Holy Grail," Malakowsky said. "Everyone dreams of the 300 or 800 at the National Bowling Stadium. This is my greatest achievement in bowling."
Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.
Story by: Jessica Gilgor - USBC