LAS VEGAS - After a traumatic head injury that left him almost completely blind, Army veteran Ken Davis of Hillsboro, Ore., joined a Veteran Affairs program that allowed him to bowl on occasion, and he quickly fell in love with the sport.

The 32-year-old right-hander, who has been bowling for only three months, continues to show improvement and tested his skills earlier this month at the USBC Open Championships.

"At first, I just took a house ball and started to figure it out," said Davis, who made his first tournament appearance. "Once I got a hook down, my wife told me if I could get a 220, I could get my own ball. I ended up getting a 222 with a house ball. Since then, I do OK."

While the USBC Open Championships proved to be challenging, the experience taught Davis a little bit more about the game. With help from his doubles partner, Kelvin Schoen, 25, of Hillsboro, Ore., Davis shot 413 in singles and 331 in doubles at Cashman Center. Schoen contributed 518 for an 849 doubles effort and added 503 in singles and 502 in team for a 1,523 all-events total.

"It's been an interesting experience," Davis said. "All the guys were telling me about the oil on the lanes and stuff. This is the first time I've ever heard of anything like that."

Davis' routine on the tournament lanes started with finding the edge of the ball return and counting the steps to the left and then to the foul line. After he released the ball, he waited for Schoen to tell him how many pins he had knocked down and which ones were left standing.

As a result of his head trauma in Iraq, Davis suffered from hemianopsia, the loss of half of the field of view in one or both eyes due to a stroke or head injury. The incident happened while he was building armory and suddenly found himself beneath 500 pounds of steel.

It wasn't until months after he got back from Iraq that he started to have more severe vision problems. Those problems led to another head injury that left him with minimal light perception in his right eye and the occasional bit of contrast in his left eye.

Despite his injury and the obvious challenges, Davis found his first experience at the Open Championships to be so gratifying, that he and Schoen already are excited about attending the event again next year in Reno, Nev.

Presenting sponsors for the 2009 USBC Open Championships are the Coast Casinos in Las Vegas and the Eldorado Hotel Casino, Silver Legacy Resort Casino and Circus Circus in Reno, Nev. Other participating sponsors are Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Brunswick, capital equipment supplier; Storm Products, Inc.; Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel and Four Queens Hotel and Casino, the official brackets sponsors; Sapphire Gentleman's Club; Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino; MGM Mirage; Jerry's Nugget Casino and Fitzgerald's Casino and Hotel.