Nebraska bowler goes big to take Standard Singles lead at 2021 USBC Open Championships

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By Sam Neves
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS -
Saturday afternoon at the South Point Bowling Center ended in a big way for Chris Lytle, a 39-year-old right-hander from Kearney, Nebraska.

Lytle had not bowled a three-game set over 586 in six previous appearances at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, but he was able to best that number by 120 pins on the way to the lead in Standard Singles at the 2021 event.

There was nothing small about his nine-strike opening game of 266, and though his pace slowed to just 185 in Game 2, he tossed another nine strikes in the finale for a 255 game and 706 series. Tutor Caldwell of Stockton, Missouri, previously held the lead with 696.

"I really had no idea I was even close," said Lytle, who made his tournament debut at the 2007 event in Reno, Nevada. "All of the sudden, my friends were clapping and cheering me on, and that's when I thought I may have a chance."

Along with his singles score, Lytle had a 558 series in team and 513 in doubles for a 1,777 all-events total, his best on the USBC Open Championships lanes by more than 150 pins. That came in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2008.

"It's definitely my best performance ever at the Open Championships," Lytle said. "Actually, it's my best series all year."

Coming to the Open Championships with a group from his hometown bowling center, Big Apple Fun Center, made the experience more fun, as the cheers, high fives and hugs flowed once Lytle was finished.

"While I'm extremely hopeful that my score holds up, I do know there is more than a month left, so anything can happen," Lytle said.

Lytle's 706 ties for the second-highest set in the four-year history of the Standard Division, with the highest being 707, bowled by 2018 champion Ted Rybialek of South Elgin, Illinois, at the Oncenter Convention Center in Syracuse, New York.

The Standard Division is for bowlers with entering tournament averages of 156-175.

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