It’s a long drive from Kekaha to the Lihu’e Bowling Center, but Kyrin Sasaki seems to have no problem with the journey because it’s all worth it, once he enters the doors of the alley.
“I’ve been bowling for over two years. There’s nothing else to do. I used to surf. I like it because when I get there, I don’t have to wait to play,” Sasaki said.
For the second consecutive year, Sasaki will have the privilege to bowl with professional bowlers at the annual PBA West/Northwest Region Rice Shopping Center Open, which bowls from Sunday through Tuesday.
Sasaki will be joined by fellow Kauaians in Juni Cacal and John Petrovits.
The three local bowlers earned entrance into the event by finishing up with top scores in a qualifier held earlier this month.
But Sasaki still has last year’s tournament on his mind, when he finished dead last.
“My game plan is to not let the pros psych me out this year. I think I have the right equipment this year. I think I can adjust a little more. I shouldn’t come in last this year or unless I’m in the wrong sport,” Sasaki said.
He was introduced to bowling a few years ago by an LBC employee.
“My girlfriend’s good friend used to work there. It was for fun at first. My other friend Treston Tabura got into it and realized we could get money for it, so we continued to play,” Sasaki said.
At the start, Sasaki remembers the days of heartache.
“At first I was terrible. I just got some pointers from Daryl (Izuma) and I observed other good players. I can see that I’ve been improving. A year ago I used to practice five games a week. Everyone knows I’m always there. It’s my second home,” Sasaki said.
On Sunday, there will be a practice session for all participants from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a pro-am at 4:30 p.m., the annual lu’au at 6 p.m., and a rock-n-glow pro-am at 7:30 p.m.
“Last year, I just tried something different. The way they (the pros) work the lanes is unbelievable. I was fighting the lanes I shouldn’t have been doing that last year,” Sasaki said.
In November, Sasaki bowled his very first 300 game, which was the first perfect action at the LBC in two years.
“My goal is to shoot an 800 series. Only one person on Kaua’i has done it so far,” Sasaki said.
The 207-average bowler has one year of playing experience against the pros under his belt and he’s definitely learned a lot from that.
“Everyone is serious about winning. Last year I was nervous. It’s all in the mind. I just got all psyched out, but I’ll be ready this year,” Sasaki said.
The tournament begins on Monday at 9 a.m., with eight games of qualifying followed by the round of 16, who will be bowling best-of-five game matches. Tuesday concludes the tournament, with round-of-eight, best-of-three matches at 8 a.m., followed by a round of 4-game matches and the championship match.
Notables at the event include defending champion Vayle Floria, Robert Smith, Tony Reyes, Ben Laughlin, Michael Haugen Jr., Dave Arnold, Ernie Schlegel, Joe Salvemini, Jim Pratt, and Vince Wood.
For more information about the event, contact the Lihu’e Bowling Center at 245-5263.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org.