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Waterloo native Rich Eighme, right, and doubles partner A.J, Chapman of St. Paul, Minn., and formerly of Manchester, took the over lead in the doubles competition at the 2018 USBC Open Championships in Syracuse, N.Y., last May before their score held up for the title. 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Waterloo native Rich Eighme and his doubles partner A.J. Chapman took the lead at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championship Monday.

Eighme and Chapman of St. Paul, Minn., and a native of Manchester, rolled a total of 1,457 to push ahead of USBC Hall of Famer Steve Koempken of Pleasant View, Utah, and David Haynes of Las Vegas, who had held the lead with 1,453.

Eighme, the proprietor of Fran’s Pro Shop at Maple Lanes, and part of the ownership group of both Maple Lanes and Cadillac XBC, as well as a Cedar Valley Bowling Association Hall of Famer, rolled a 720 series to compliment Chapman’s 737.

Eighme opened with a 296 leaving the 2-4-8-10 in his bid for the sixth perfect game of the 2018 championships.

In the final game, needing a big 10th frame to overtake the leaders, Eighme opened with two strikes before leaving a 4-7 split with his last roll. Chapman followed with three strikes and the Eighme-Champman duo was the prestigious tournament’s new leaders in the doubles division.

“I always like to know the number I need because I think it helps me stay focused,” Chapman said. “I knew what we needed to take the lead after Rich left the 4-7, but he had no idea what we needed or that we still had a chance.”

This was Eighme’s 33rd USBC championship.

“A.J. and I bounced a lot of ideas off one and another, which was beneficial to me, because it’s like bowling with someone with 14-15 years of experience bowling in this tournament although he is only 24” Eighme said in a press lease from the USBC. “We also did a great job of burning a line, with a ball I drilled just a few hours before hitting the road to come here.

“Funny, I put out a pattern at my bowling center similar to what I thought it would be, and I simply hated the ball reaction.”

After his opening 296 game, Eighme rolled games of 190 and 234. Chapman had games of 257, 245 and 235.

“Winning an Eagle has been one of my goals since I was 15 years old,” said Eighme who also posted matching 605 sets in team and singles over the weekend for a 1,930 all-events total. “I have guys back home always looking at the leaderboard, so they will keep me posted as to whether our score stands or not.

“I won’t be on the internet always watching. I will keep an eye on it, though.”

The USBC championships began March 24 and run through July 7.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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