2017 Bowlers Journal Championships concludes in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Craig Nidiffer of New Boston, Michigan, highlighted an exciting edition of the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by the United States Bowling Congress by rolling an 846 series on his way to the top spot in three categories.

The 71st Bowlers Journal Championships, held at the South Point Bowling Center, kicked off Feb. 17 and concluded its run alongside the USBC Open Championships on July 15.

All standings are unofficial and pending a final verification.

Nidiffer connected for 31 strikes during his winning performance June 2, which included a stretch of 23 consecutive strikes, on his way to games of 247, 300 and 299. The effort helped him into the top spot in Open Singles with the highest set at the event since the format changed back to three games in 2013.

The 32-year-old right-hander also used the record set to move into the lead in Open Doubles with Justin Neiman of Macomb, Michigan, who added games of 290, 258 and 207 for a 755 series and 1,601 doubles total.

By competing in doubles and singles at the same time, Nidiffer also earned the top spot in the Dual Entry standings, reserved for bowlers who choose to use the same three-game set for both events at once.

The top prizes in Open Singles, Open Doubles and Dual Entry for 2017 are $10,000, $7,500 and $1,000, respectively.

"It was definitely a sweat in the final weeks, since it seemed like the numbers started to shoot up at the end," Nidiffer said. "I put up a big number, but no number is safe, especially with every great player in the country coming in and taking a shot. This is one of my biggest accomplishments, especially after missing in 2016 due to a wrist injury. It really shows me I can still compete at this level, and to be able to win with a buddy of mine is really a big thing. It was one of the best days of my career and definitely one I won't forget."

PeteMcCordic_637In Senior Singles, Pete McCordic of Katy, Texas, used a return visit to Las Vegas to shoot to the top of the standings, rolling games of 279, 290 and 243 for an 812 series July 11.

The 63-year-old right-hander already had found success at the tournament in March, rolling a perfect game at the 64-lane facility, and he took advantage of being able to return to the event, earning a total of five top-10 finishes.

The two-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour titlist also used the trip to move into second, fifth and sixth place in Senior Doubles to go along with a sixth-place finish in Super Senior Singles from his initial trip in March.

"I knew when I was there in the spring I had a really nice reaction, but I wasn't very sharp," said McCordic, the manager for the PBA Southwest Region. "I wanted to come back if I could get sharper. Luckily, I had the opportunity. The set in singles was probably the best three games I've bowled in a long time. I was very excited and pleased with how I performed and can't tell you how much shooting an 800 and winning Senior Singles at the Bowlers Journal means to me. With as little competition as I get to do nowadays, this was a really nice win."

The top spot in Senior Singles will pay $4,000 in 2017.

Casey Shephard of Portage, Michigan, and Kyle King of Glendale, Arizona, joined Nidiffer and McCordic as the others players to record 800 series at the South Point Bowling Center in 2017, notching 827 and 805, respectively.

King finished second in Open Singles, while Shepard's only was entered in doubles for his set. Shephard held on for an eighth-place finish in Open Doubles with Andrew Klingler of Grand Rapids, Michigan (1,483).

A total of 15 players, including Nidiffer, McCordic and King, rolled perfect games at the Bowlers Journal in 2017.

Other top finishers in singles included Open Championships titlist Les Shirwindt of Las Vegas, who claimed the top spot in Super Senior Singles with a 695 series, and Melissa Cassidy of Jacksonville, Florida, who found her way to the top of the 209 & Under Handicap Singles standings with a 707 total.

The top prize in both Super Senior Singles and 209 & Under Handicap Singles is $2,000.

Robert Brown of Cody, Wyoming, and Billy Langford of Lone Grove, Oklahoma, held off several close calls to finish in the lead in Senior Doubles with a 1,416 total. Langford led the effort with a 714 series, and Brown added 702 to the total.

Henry Murphy and Marlyn Bisnar of nearby Henderson, Nevada, took the top spot in Handicap Doubles with 1,343.

Senior Doubles will pay $2,000 to the winning pair in 2017, and Handicap Doubles features a top prize of $1,000.

Competitors at the 2017 event also had the opportunity to take home some extra prize money by entering three different jackpots - Clean Frame Jackpot, High Game Jackpot and Strike-It-Rich Jackpot. Each features a prize-fund style payout.

A total of 44 players were able to navigate three games across three different pairs without an open frame to claim a portion of the top prize in the Clean Frame Jackpot, while 13 of the 15 bowlers who rolled 300 games in 2017 were entered in the High Game Jackpot.

Seven competitors were able to deliver strikes in each of the designated nine frames to share the top payout in the Strike-It-Rich Jackpot.

Winners in the Clean Frame Jackpot will get $300, while the top spots in the High Game Jackpot and Strike-It-Rich Jackpot will pay $1,000 and $1,400, respectively, to each competitor.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Bowlers Journal was held under the same roof as the Open Championships, this time the South Point Hotel and Casino, and featured the same lane condition used during doubles and singles at the Open Championships.

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