7/25/13

Kim Kearney loves Gamebreaker

If there is a U.S. Open, expect Kim Kearney to be using an Ebonite Gamebreaker.

The ball was released in 2007, and every U.S. Open since has seen it in Kearney’s hands.

“I just love my Gamebreakers,” said Kearney, who now lives in Grand Prairie, Texas. “There isn’t a U.S. Open I didn’t bowl with a Gamebreaker since the ball was introduced.”

The two-time U.S. Open winner and USBC Hall of Famer used one to make a stunning comeback at the 2013 Lipton Bowling’s U.S. Open in Columbus, Ohio. After struggling at Columbus Western Bowl and Holiday Lanes, Kearney went to the Gamebreaker and found her stroke to move into 14th place with a 4,785 score for 24 games.

“As much as I work on my game physically, I don’t get to compete much,” said Kearney, who won the U.S. Open in 2001 and 2008. “A lot of it was just chipping the rust away day by day. Physically, I’m not throwing it great, but I was able to stay focus and stay committed to each shot.”

After averaging 189.75 after the first two days, Kearney posted a 1,749 total (218.62 average) to move from 40th place to 14th place. She admits that the conditions have been challenging.

“They’re hard,” said Kearney. “But as the games went on, I knew I had to stay clean and take advantage of the good pairs. I did that much better tonight than I had been doing. It’s hard staying composed in these long formats. But experience helps.”

Kearney, who is a coach for Junior Team USA, just came back into the country after coaching the American team at the PABCON American Zone Championships in Puerto Rico. She says the experience of coaching the current team has had a positive effect on her own game.

“Coaching them makes me better,” said Kearney. “I watch them and the things I ask of them I have to be willing to do myself. So it keeps me on my toes.”

Whatever happens for the rest of the 2013 Open, Kearney says tournament bowling has become easier for her.

“Since the Tour folded, I’ve been earning a paycheck, so there’s no fear of missing a cut like there used to be. It’s not tragic if it doesn’t happen the way I want it to. I’ve gotten so much already that I’m okay with what happens. And with that, it’s so much easier to play. There’s no pressure because I have to make the cut. And I can still want to win. Bowling is better when there’s not panic. I guess I learned that through experience.”

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