GREEN BAY, Wis. – Malaysia’s Sin Li Jane was the top seed for the stepladder finals at two consecutive Professional Women’s Bowling Association tournaments, and the experiences couldn’t have been more different.
After a disappointing loss to her own teammate in her first opportunity, the resilient right-hander confidently returned to the CBS Sports Network television set at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley and opened the title match of the 2017 Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open with five consecutive strikes.
Sin, 25, cruised to a 222-186 victory over amateur Thashaina Seraus of Aruba in the final of the PWBA Lincoln Open and joins her teammate, Siti Rahman, in the record book as the second Malaysian player to claim a PWBA Tour title.
The win earned Sin $10,000 and a spot in the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship in Richmond, Virginia, a 16-player invitation-only event that will include the winners and top point-earners from the 2017 PWBA Tour season.
“After I lost in the Wichita event, I knew I had one more chance, and we started joking that since (Siti) was going to the Tour Championship, she’d probably need a roommate,” said Sin, who opened in the first three frames of the PWBA Wichita Open title match against Rahman and fell 221-170. “The loss didn’t get me down, it made me come back even stronger. I looked forward to the second chance. I just had to remember it was a different event and different lane condition.”
Sin was dominant on her way to the No. 1 seed at the PWBA Wichita Open but edged Seraus by just 32 pins to claim the top spot for the championship round in Lincoln a week later.
Overall, the six-player Malaysian contingent, supported by their country’s National Sports Council, had a successful four-event stint on the PWBA Tour this year, tallying four TV appearances and two titles.
They competed in the Wichita, Lincoln and Detroit events and finished the trip with all six players cashing at the 2017 Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship.
They’ll now spend time at home preparing for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August.
“Winning here was a dream come true for me as something I’ve thought about since I was very young,” Sin said. “I heard a lot about the PWBA Tour, especially when Shalin (Zulkifli) came to bowl, so it was something I hoped to do, too. I was disappointed when I heard the Tour went away (2003) but very excited when it came back (2015). It feels great to be a PWBA champion.”
The 2017 PWBA Lincoln Open was just the second event for Seraus, a top collegiate competitor and recent graduate of Maryland Eastern Shore.
The 26-year-old right-hander performed like a veteran in her PWBA television debut, topping PWBA spokesperson Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 222-142, to set up the meeting with Sin.
Seraus struck three times in the first five frames to build a 25-pin lead, and Kulick opened four times in the second half of the game to end her run at her second title in 2017. Kulick won the recent PWBA Fountain Valley Open for her first victory since the relaunch of the Tour in 2015.
The opening game of the PWBA Lincoln Open stepladder featured a rematch of the title tilt at the 2017 Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship and allowed Kulick to earn some redemption against two-time reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Deerfield, Illinois.
In this showdown, Kulick, 40, built an 11-pin lead after five frames and cruised to a 207-159 victory, as Johnson, a 43-year-old United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer, opened in her last three frames.
Johnson has had a successful 2017 campaign as she looks for her third consecutive player-of-the-year honor. The PWBA Lincoln Open marked her fifth consecutive championship round appearance.
During that stretch, Johnson collected wins at the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open and Players Championship, and a runner-up finish at the USBC Queens.
All qualifying and match-play rounds of the Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open were held at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 9-10.
The stepladder was held June 25 at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in conjunction with the live championship round of the 2017 Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship, the second major of the 2017 PWBA Tour season, and the finals of the PWBA Wichita Open and PWBA Greater Detroit Open.
Johnson topped Kulick to win the PWBA Players Championship for her ninth major title, while Rahman was victorious at the Wichita Open to become the first player from Malaysia to win a PWBA Tour title.
The finals of the Greater Detroit Open will air July 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern and feature England’s Verity Crawley, 2012 Queens champion Diandra Asbaty of Chicago, Colombia’s Juliana Franco and Daria Pajak of Poland.
For more information on the PWBA Tour, visit PWBA.com.
2017 PEPSI PWBA LINCOLN OPEN
At The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley, Green Bay, Wis.
1, Sin Li Jane, Malaysia, 222 (one game), $10,000
2, Thashaina Seraus (a), Aruba, 408 (two games), $5,000
3, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 349 (two games), $3,500
4, Liz Johnson, Deerfield, Ill., 159 (one game), $3,000
Match One – Kulick def. Johnson, 207-159
Semifinal – Seraus def. Kulick, 222-142
Championship – Sin def. Seraus, 222-186