June 14, 2008 19:00
DEFENDING U.S. SENIOR OPEN CHAMPION RICK MINIER MAKES THE BEST OF HIS TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES
LAS VEGAS - Rick Minier is a professional bowler who also has a “day job.” That means he has to choose the tournaments he bowls in carefully. So far, he’s done an excellent job in selecting events.
A year ago the 56-year-old controller from Houston became the first amateur to win the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Senior U.S. Open presented by the Suncoast. In a battle between two Texans, Minier strung six strikes in the title match to defeat David Ozio, 240-223, and capture his first PBA Senior Tour title.
Minier has now turned his focus toward defending his title against nearly 300 of the world’s best professional and amateur bowlers when the 2008 PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by the Suncoast is conducted June 15-20 at the Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
As a journeyman competitor whose “real job” prevents him from competing regularly on the Senior Tour, Minier admits he has to step up his preparation to do battle against the nation’s best 50-and-older players.
“Every year I mark the calendar and target the tournaments that I want to bowl in given my work commitments,” Minier said. “Then it’s just a matter of preparing through practice and competing in as many local area tournaments that I can to get ready.
“I bowl in tournaments that have more challenging lane conditions and I’m able to practice at a center that will put out conditions that I might face in a tournament like the Senior U.S. Open.”
For the past few weeks, Minier has been preparing for one of the most demanding formats in the sport. The Senior U.S. Open begins with six qualifying games on three consecutive days (June 16, 17, 18). The field will then be cut to the top 25 percent for another nine games on June 19, after which the top 24 players will advance to 24 games of round robin match play which continue through June 20. After 51 games of qualifying and match play, the top five survivors will compete in a traditional stepladder finale which gets underway at 6:30 p.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. PDT) on June 20. Practice and pro-ams will be conducted on June 15.
“I definitely have to ratchet up my preparation for this tournament,” Minier said. “The day after I got home from the tournament last year I think I slept all day.”
Minier competed on the regular PBA Tour from 1973 to 1979 with two third-place and one fourth-place finish to his credit. In 1984 he finished third in the American Bowling Congress Masters as a regional player and finished fifth in the 2002 USBC Senior Masters.
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