Updated: Jan 7
The Storm Utah Open is set to kick off Friday January 13th with its first of 8 qualifying squads. This event brings in well over 500 entries in the past few years and this year is set to break another attendance record. Bowlers from all over the country will converge in Roy, Utah at Sparetime lanes and see who can outlast the Storm that is the Utah Open.
Arguably one of the toughest patterns at any tournament Steve Kloempken, Tournament Director, and John Janawicz, Kegel, have put together a monster. Although it may play differently than in years past, its teeth will show non the less. I tested the pattern and can tell you, after the pattern begins to breakdown, you'll be begging for mercy. This test though, has produced some of the greatest championship matches we here at Championship Bowling have called. Flash back to last year when Randy Miles secured the title in dramatic fashion picking the 4-7-8-10 and striking in the 10th to beat Josh Link, who was defending his title. Randy comes back as the defending champion and looks to be the 3rd person in a row to go back to back. Before him was Josh Blanchard in '18 & '19, Josh Link in '20 & '21 and now Randy has the opportunity to join them.
Along with Randy's story line, Clay Rees looks to improve his already record 3 titles at the Storm Utah Open. Clay is the only 3 time champion at this event is looking to make it 4 next weekend. Highlighting his 2022 SNWT season was a win at our very own Championship Bowling Masters, which was in this very same center. Clay defeated Alex Hoskins in a roll-off that lasted 3 rounds, Clay tripping a 4 pin and Alex leaving the 4-9. That format was grueling, and so is this one, yet they are very different beasts. This story is certainly one we want to look out for as the action unfolds.
Finally We have Alex and Gio who fought closely for the season ending championship on the SNWT. Alex came out on top as his consistency was unmatched, however, Gio pulled off more wins last year. Gio though has struggled at Sparetime, not making it quite as far as he would have liked last year at the Storm Utah Open, and failing to make the cut all together at the Championship Bowling Masters. Alex on the other hand made the top 3 step ladder last year at the Storm Utah Open and bowled for a title against Clay at the Championship Bowling Masters. Clearly he has this center figured out. Both of them you will want to keep an eye out for this weekend.
With so many elite level bowlers attending this years event it will be difficult to know who the clear front runner is. Everyone from Touring pros like Darren Tang, Brad Miller, and PJ Haggerty, to those on hot streak like Andy Kinney. We will break down who we think are our front runners throughout next week with our power rankings. Be sure to check them out!