The NDBowling.com Major Championship’s will kick off January 14th in Winnipeg, MB. Chateau Lanes will once again play host to the Manitoba Open which will be conducting its 36th installment of the longest standing NDBowling.com Major. Melody Savage and her staff have again provided a prize fund worthy of a multi-state/province drive to attend. With 82 entrants last season, the Manitoba Open will look to crack the 90 entry barrier this season. Here are some of the story lines heading into the seasons first Major.
Another Major for La Crosse, WI?
Nick Heilman and Andy Mills from La Crosse, WI have quickly made it a habit of winning on NDBowlTV. Last season, the two combined for 4 titles on NDBowlTV including 3 NDBowling.com Majors. Mills became a household name on The High Plains Bowling Network after recording back to back Major victories at the Manitoba Open and CMA Memorial Shootout in 2016. Meanwhile, Heilman has made the show here at the Manitoba Open the last 2 years and has his sights set on winning his second consecutive Major after winning the NDBowling.com Classic last March. With NDBowlTV once again providing coverage of the finals, I expect one, if not both, of the La Crosse boys to be in contention on Sunday.
Navigating Abbey Road
The lane pattern for the 36th Manitoba Open will be Kegel’s Abbey Road. This condition was used at the 2013 Manitoba Open that was won by Eric Parvey. In 2013, the finals were dominated by lefties but it wasn’t exactly easy for the group of south paws. The pattern measures out at 40′ and contains a volume of 24.20 ml. With a ratio of 3.70-1, the pattern will provide a few high scores throughout the day. The problem I tend to see with this pattern (like many others) is the inability of the right side to get out of their own way. The pattern forces the rev happy right side to play the track area and chase left. With the field being predominately right handed, I expect the righties to migrate left rather quickly in the 10 game block considering the mid-low volume pattern and the particular lane surface at Chateau Lanes that gives the appearance of hook in the front of the lane. So what does that mean for the left? I expect the left will have a look from out, but will be difficult to keep up with a right side that will open up on Saturday as the day goes on. Those lefties that are able to grind and make the cut on Saturday will find great success on Sunday. I expect the lefties to play in their comfort zone on Sunday while not having to worry about the right side chewing up the front part of the lane. The right side, however, will not open up as much on Sunday with reduced traffic along with multiple angles of attack being used.
Expect a Warm Welcome in the Frozen North
Over the years, the Manitoba Open has always provided bowlers with a warm welcome despite bone chilling temperatures. Melody Savage and the staff at Chateau Lanes run one of the best tournaments in the region and roll out the red carpet for the bowlers on tournament weekend. I encourage all bowlers who have yet to give the Manitoba Open a try to do so. As long as you can get your car to start, you will find this weekend to be one of the more enjoyable tournament experiences you have all year. This weekend, we will also remember the great Sherry Hobson. Sherry was a long time Chateau Lanes Manager and participant in the Open. Sherry passed away in the spring of 2016 and will be greatly missed by the bowling community. Sherry always welcomed NDBowling.com into Chateau Lanes and made it feel like home. If you are on the fence about bowling this event, do so for Sherry.
NDBowling.com Bold Predictions
I expect the cut to be in the neighborhood of +50 to +75. I expect there to be a few lefties in contention as well as some familiar faces on the right. Here are my bold predictions for the final 5 (In no particular order)
– Michael Mikaela
– Matt McNiel
– Nick Heilman
– Eric Parvey
– Dave Langer
Over the past year, nothing gets talked about more than the bold predictions. Keep in mind, these tournaments have some of the more stacked fields in the region and I need to pick 5? Please don’t send me hate mail regarding these. They are simply a fun prediction and a discussion point among bowlers. There are so many great players that compete in this event and the other Majors. Good luck to everyone participating and be sure to tune in to NDBowlTV on Sunday for the finals presented by Ebonite and Turbo 2-n-1 Grips.