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In the wake of Kyle Troup’s victory over Jason Belmonte to win the 2018 Storm Lucky Larsen Masters, we caught up with Troup as he was heading to Team USA training camp in Arlington, Texas.
Troup offered some insight on his strategy of using a urethane ball to win the title and why he thinks urethane has become so popular with professional bowlers.
Why did you decide to throw urethane in the final?
“Going into the stepladder, I knew I was going to have to bowl two games and didn’t want to have to beat Belmo at his game, so that’s why I threw urethane. I knew (Christopher) Sloan was throwing urethane, and Bill (O’Neill) wasn’t going to destroy the lane using urethane, so I knew the shot was going to be there. It was just a matter of executing shots in the stepladder.”
So, it sounds like you were pretty comfortable with your ball reaction throwing urethane going into the stepladder?
“Yeah, definitely. I grinded to get to the stepladder. They got really ugly the last two games in the eight-game round. I knew if I got to the ladder, then I had a shot to win because I was probably averaging at least 240 on fresh. The left lane was a little tighter, but I was playing them just about the same. I was trying to throw it a little slower and maybe hit it a little harder on the left lane throughout the two matches. It was pretty simple for me, just trying to stay in the moment and take it one shot at a time, especially bowling Belmo I knew I was going to need 10 good shots probably.”
On the fill ball in the semifinal, you threw a reactive ball. Did you think about changing?
“The last shot, I took a look at it, but I knew I wasn’t going to do it. The lanes weren’t really changing that much with the urethane ball and Belmo was so much further left. I thought he might try to beat the track up in practice to affect us but he just did his own thing and set it up for where he wanted to play the lanes.”
Did Belmo throw urethane at all last week?
“He had an unbelievable reaction throwing urethane on the fresh. He was probably averaging 250 the first few games slow curving the urethane as well. There was quite a lot of urethane the first few games because the gutter didn’t really hook, so you really had to play the track area with urethane or super hook it on the fresh and they were pretty flat when you tried to do that. If Belmo’s not curving it on the fresh, then I know urethane is pretty good. He had a great look as well, but I knew that he was going to be hooking it because it was the last game on the pair. I think the urethane actually affected him a little more than he anticipated.”
Were you surprised Belmo didn’t go with urethane in the final?
“I expected him to curve it because that’s really where he had been getting all of his score. On the fresh, he was OK but he seemed to get out of it by the end of the second game or early in the third game every squad. With Sloan playing further right and me playing the track area, I think that kind of shied him away from it, too, because he already curves his urethane ball so much. I think he felt he would have some extra hold if he got in and curved it. Whenever I moved in and hooked it, it seemed there was extra push in the middle of the lane on any pair where urethane had been thrown. Plus, in the title match, I thought he would go with his strength and that’s what he did.”
Is it pretty common for you to throw urethane in general?
“I’ve always been a big fan of it. Most of the time, obviously, in the years past, I always used to throw it pretty hard. That’s kind of what I’ve been known for. I’ve really worked a lot on my speed control and, using urethane, the lanes can get a little bit easier. I’ve always been a fan of urethane, but now I’m learning how to take advantage of the middle part of the lane using a urethane ball. I knew I had a couple boards to hit and as long as my speed was right and I made sure I stayed aggressive at the bottom with it, I knew I had a good chance to win.”
Why do you think urethane is so popular these days?
“It blends the lanes out, especially on 39 feet. Now, how people throw it on longer patterns? I don’t really know because I don’t see the need for that. But anytime we are 40 feet and below, urethane balls produce more motion down lane but in a very smooth way so it’s an easy way to not put yourself in a bad position the first couple of games. As good as all of the different urethane balls are on the market, you can shoot some big numbers with them, too. I’ve heard people say it’s a crutch, but I don’t see it being a crutch at all. It’s a smart way to get pins and start a block out. Then, when it gets bad, you just get in and hook it when you are in Game 3 or 4 and the lanes have broken down and the transition is a little bit easier to play in.”