2023 U.S. Open concluded on Sunday, when EJ Tackett authored the storybook ending by defeating Kyle Troup, 221-208 to win his first the U.S. Open and third major overall, earning him the career triple crown.
A total of 108 participants, who got their invitations based on their on-lane performances during 2022, and those who have earned their spot through direct qualifiers, participated in the 2023 U.S. Open at Royal Pin Woodland, Indianapolis.
Eleven European bowling sharks were among those who tried to capture a third U.S. Open title for Europe. Even though 'The Eagle' did not land there this year, it was a successful tournament for European bowlers.
A living legend of bowling sport, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, and one of England's leading bowlers Dominic Barrett remain the only Europeans to ever win the U.S. Open.
'Major Mika' - this was his nickname on tour because his first two PBA titles came in major championships - won it in the 2001-2002 season, becoming the first foreign-born player to win the U.S. Open, while 'the Dominator' earned it by defeating top seed Jakob Butturff by a single pin, 207–206, in the dramatic final match in 2018.
Twenty-five-year-old Tomas Kayhko from Finland was closest to the goal of winning the 2023 U.S. Open. In his first year as a full-time professional bowler, Tomas Kayhko secured his spot in the televised finals, following his tremendous performance in the match-play stage by winning 17 of 24 head-to-head matches and finishing in second position among the top 24 bowlers.
With only two steps to the title left, the Finnish two-hander didn't seem the least bit intimidated when facing off against later runner-up Kyle Troup, despite having significantly less prior experience competing in TV finals than his American opponent. In fact, it was Kayhko who jumped out front, using an early double to take a six-pin lead before the commercial break. The situation changed, though, as Kayhko would only manage two more strikes the rest of the way despite consistently hitting the pocket. While this was going on, Troup thrilled the standing-room-only crowd with a four-bagger in frames five through eight to overturn the deficit and win 219-215.
Despite the loss, we all perceived Kayhko's true potential at the toughest bowling competitions possible. He has a bright future ahead of his career if he can keep up such an impressive level of performance. Tomas Kayhko filled his pockets with 25,000 dollars, finishing third at the 2023 U.S. Open.
Englishman Richard Teece was another European who made it to the TV finals and had a real chance of earning the desired green jacket. This year’s No. 4 seed at the 2023 U.S. Open, 'Richie' Teece, had a close match, but an untimely washout (1-2-4-10) in the eighth allowed the same Kyle Troup to open Sunday’s telecast with a 207-192 victory. Regardless of the loss, Richard Teece earned a prize of 10,000 dollars for 5th place.
Thomas Larsen of Denmark also made it to the live televised stepladder finals but lost his play-in match to Justin Knowles for the last remaining spot. Although both bowlers made open frames before the break, with J. Knowles blaming it on an early cough from the crowd, he was the one to come out dry in the last frames of the game consolidating another victory with a result of 215-190.
The U.S. Open is frequently regarded as one of the most difficult competitions in the sport of bowling because of the tournament's lengthy format (56 games from opening qualifying to the match play rounds; 64 games if a player from the pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) makes it through) and challenging oil patterns.
With the exception of 1997 and 2014, the U.S. Open has been held in some form every year since 1942 (81 years ago). Prior to 1971, this event was known as the BPAA All-Star.
The total prize fund for the U.S. Open 2023 was 300,000 dollars.