Mills Takes Beat’n Path to First Career Major traveled to the frigid North this past weekend for the 35th Manitoba Open. With a relatively warm start to Winter, there was hope that the annual trip to Winnipeg would be warmer than the typical 10 to 20 below. However, mother nature was right on point as temps dipped several degrees below zero for the first time this year. It may have been cold outside, but the action inside Chateau Lanes was on fire (literally).

The action began Saturday as 82 bowlers entered for a chance at the $3000 top prize. All bowlers bowled 10 games of qualifying with the top 24 bowlers advancing to the match play round on Sunday. The lane condition of choice was Kegel’s Beat’n Path. This particular pattern was modified slightly by adding units of oil to help the condition hold up over the entire ten games. Another change made this season was that Chateau Lanes decided to use Kegel’s Fire oil. This was used in an attempt to help spark friction down lane.

The scoring pace was set high early on as a 300 game by Mitch Hupe and a 290 by Joe Franchewski had bowlers thinking a scorefest was in order. However, as the day progressed, the heads started to burn out forcing many bowlers to chase the pattern left. This required bowlers to manage a ball reaction that oftentimes would begin to set up in the first 30 feet of the lane. The proper combination of projection and entry angle to the pocket was required to score well on this pattern. When the dust settled, Zack Wilkins lead all bowlers with a 2306 10 game total. The cut for the top 24 was Eric George at +85.

On Sunday, Andy Mills wasted no time and raced out to an early lead winning his first 5 matches with games of 246, 263, 234, 227, and 258. Following the round robin match play round, Mills lead the field by over 100 pins and secured the top seed on the NDBowlTV Stepladder Finals. Mills was joined in the finals by Zack Wilkins, Nick Heilman, Brady Stearns, and Daron Hansen.
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In the finals, 3 time Manitoba Open Champion Daron Hansen built momentum defeating Brady Stearns 184-179, Nick Heilman 234-186, and Zack Wilkins 204-184. The championship match, however, would be a pretty tall order for Hansen as he would have to defeat Mills twice in order to win the title. Mills wasted no time and closed out the tournament in game one 222-203.

With the win, Mills joins Mark Buffa as the only right handers not named Mike Schmidt to win the Manitoba Open since 2005. The win also gives Mills his first Major title. Congrats Andy!

I would like to thank Melody Savage and her staff at Chateau Lanes for running another great event. I would also like to thank Mike Boroskae for joining me in the booth on NDBowlTV again this season. You can watch the finals on NDBowlTV by clicking HERE.

Tune in Wednesday as we preview the Morris Anderson Memorial Shootout in Minot next weekend.

Thank you all for visiting and congratulations to Andy Mills on the victory!


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