NDBowling.com Major Preview: 2019 Manitoba Open

The NDBowling.com Major Championship’s will kick off January 12th in Winnipeg, MB. Chateau Lanes will once again play host to the Manitoba Open which will be conducting its 38th 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. Here are some of the story lines heading into the seasons first Major.

Window of Opportunity
The most notable story line heading into the 2019 Manitoba Open has to be the absence of top tier players from years past including the defending champion, Matt McNiel.

Canadian stars Mitch Hupe and Zach Wilkins, along with 2018 finalist AJ Chapman, will be taking their talents to the PBA Tour this weekend in Oklahoma to compete against the best in the world.

McNiel was recently named a global ambassador for Storm Bowling Products and will most likely be working in Utah or Oklahoma this upcoming weekend.

2016 Champion Andy Mills and 2-time finalist Nick Heilman do not appear to be making the trip North this season as well.

Since 2014, these 6 bowlers (McNiel, Hupe, Wilkins, Chapman, Mills, Heilman) have accounted for 15 of the 25 spots on NDBowlTV at the Open. With these players not in attendance, I see a window of opportunity for many players to have a break through tournament at the Open by either making the cut to Sunday or competing for a spot in the NDBowlTV finals. I encourage everyone on the fence about bowling to definitely make the trip to Winnipeg this weekend.

Could we see a first time Major winner as a result? Look for a few new faces in the finals on Sunday.

Changing of the Guard
Since NDBowling.com has been making the trip North (2012), the lane conditions have been on a rotation between Kegel patterns Beat’n Path and Abbey Road with the exception of a WTBA pattern used in 2015. This season, the Open will be contested on the 2013 USBC Open Championships Team pattern.

This 41 foot pattern has a ratio of 2.57-1 which should keep scores in check. While scores at the 2013 USBC Open were rather high in the team event, it is important to note that most teams worked together to make the pattern more playable resulting in higher scores. This likely won’t be the case at the Manitoba Open.

I see the pattern playing tricky to start, but will open up in the middle stages of the 10 game block. It will be important to post a few good scores as the lanes open up while still being able to fill frames and post scores around even on the book ends of the round. The key at the Manitoba Open is always how the pattern will hold up in the later stages of qualifying. Remember when the cut dropped considerably late in the 10 game block last year?

History has generally been on the side of the bowlers who are able to create push through the front part of the lane and still have enough angle to carry the corners. I think this will once again hold true this season.

The 10 game qualifier is always a grind, but those who are able to survive may find great success on Sunday.

NDBowling.com Bold Predictions
I expect the cut to be in the neighborhood of +25 to +50. I do not have a complete roster, so my bold predictions are based on who I know will be in attendance.

-Thomas Wolf
-Clayton Mohr
-Doug Wagner
-Joe Franchewski
-Matt Smallin

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.

For complete tournament details:
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Manitoba Open 2015
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