ARLINGTON, Texas - When the best female bowlers in the world hit the lanes for the 2018 U.S. Women's Open, it will be as part of a select field, a change being made to help celebrate the prestige of the event and mirror enhancements introduced for the upcoming 2017 U.S. Open.
The 2018 U.S. Women's Open will be held June 23-30 at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando, Florida, and feature a prize fund of more than $143,000, with the winner taking home $20,000 and the coveted green jacket.
The event will be the second of four majors on the 2018 Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour schedule and will feature an invitation-only field of 108 competitors, who will be selected based on their on-lane performances during the 2017 calendar year.
"The response to the changes at the U.S. Open has been terrific, and it only made sense to make sure the two tournaments mirror each other as closely as possible," United States Bowling Congress President Frank Wilkinson said. "These events are revered for their long and challenging formats, and the competition will be even more exciting and intense with the best of the best out there."
The operation of the U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Open is a collaborative effort by the International Bowling Campus' USBC and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America and jointly funded by the two organizations.
Among the qualifiers will be the points leaders from the PWBA Tour and top performers at a variety of USBC and international events, including the World Bowling Tour, USBC Queens, USBC Women's Championships, Intercollegiate Singles Championships sectional qualifiers and Junior Gold Championships.
Additional spots will be awarded to the Team USA women, Junior Team USA girls and recent U.S. Women's Open champions. A qualifier will be held on-site prior to the official practice session of the U.S. Women's Open and used to fill the field.
Bowlers qualifying on multiple lists will be placed on the list with the highest priority, beginning with the PWBA Tour points list.
"We definitely are excited and proud to be a part of continuing the future of the U.S. Women's and U.S. Open, and we know the centers hosting these events are looking forward to welcoming the best in the world and helping showcase their talent in such a special way," said BPAA President Nancy Schenk. "The new format helps to increase the level of competition at this prestigious tournament and makes the U.S. Women's Open one of the most elite competitions in the world."
Competitors again will bowl 24 games of qualifying over three days, and as was recently done at the 2017 event in Plano, Texas, the number of competition lanes will be limited to just 24, so all bowlers will visit the same lanes and see them the same amount of times during qualifying, with each experiencing the three phases of the oil pattern - fresh, burn and double-burn.
Invitees will have until April 1, 2018, to accept their invitations before the spot is offered to the next eligible competitor. Bowlers still are responsible for paying the $400 entry fee. All unclaimed spots will be filled from the on-site qualifier.
A complete explanation of the list prioritization, and what happens if an invitee declines, plus tournament rules, can be found in the tournament rules at BOWL.com/USWomensOpen.
The location and timing of the tournament will require some additional adjustments to the 2018 PWBA Tour schedule. Those adjustments will be announced at a later date.