Jeff Fehr of Cincinnati and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., continued strong at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino Bowling Center on Tuesday to retain their spots atop the standings at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.
Fehr holds the men’s overall lead with a three-round total of 17 ranking points, following a 12th-place finish in Tuesday’s third round, while McEwan used a third-place effort to increase her lead over the women’s field with 12 points.
Defending Team USA Trials champion Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., is second among the men with 24 ranking points, while Zach Hattori of Henderson, Nev., and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., are tied for third with 32.
McEwan leads Jordan Richard of Tipton, Mich., by eight points, while 11-time Team USA member Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, is third with 28.
“It was definitely a tougher road [Tuesday], but I only missed one spare again, so that was big,” said Fehr, who closed with games of 257 and 235 Tuesday for a 1362 total. “I felt like I had to go to the bag of tricks today, since I don’t have the speed and rev rate like some of the younger guys. I was able to manipulate my ball roll to what it needed to do to match up. Hopefully, I can come out [Wednesday] and have a good day. I wanted to come out here and make the team, and my goals are in sight.”
Hattori averaged more than 244 on the 44-foot Tokyo pattern to lead Tuesday’s third round with a 1469 total, holding off a late charge from Kent, who was second with 1453. Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, was third with 1423.
Johnson led wire-to-wire during the women’s third round, firing a 279 to start, and never looked back on her way to a 1428 total. Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., finished second with 1382.
McEwan finished Tuesday’s round with a 257 game to jump into third place for the day with a 1366 total. The four-time Team USA member credits her versatility in helping her find continued success at the event.
“Over the years, I’ve really tried to make my game well-rounded so I’m not just good on one pattern,” said McEwan, the 2012 and 2013 Team USA Trials champion. “I’m always working on my weaknesses, and I think that’s why I’m able to come here and be consistent on each pattern. The cool and different thing about this tournament is that you’re never really in good shape — you can’t win it in one day, but you can lose it. I’m in a good position now, but I need to come out and bowl well the next two days.”
The players earn points based on their finishing position in each of the qualifying rounds — the top bowler of the block earns one ranking point, second place in the block earns two points, etc., with the lowest total of ranking points after five six-game blocks determining the overall leaders.
The United States National Amateur Bowling Championships returns as part of the 2016 Team USA Trials. The top three amateur men and top three amateur women will advance to a stepladder final after the final round of qualifying, which will determine the U.S. Amateur champions. The winners also will earn a spot on Team USA.
For the second consecutive day, the top three amateurs on the men’s side mimic the overall standings, with Fehr, Doyle and Hattori now holding the top spots. The top amateurs in the women’s field are Richard, Taylor Bulthuis of Coral Springs, Fla., and Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, Calif. Bulthuis and Dunn are tied for fifth overall with 38 points.
BOWL.com's BowlTV is providing wire-to-wire coverage of the event.
A minimum of 12 men and 12 women will join Team USA for 2016. The top four men and top four women at the 2016 Team USA Trials, based on ranking points, automatically will earn spots, while two additional men and two additional women will be selected by the National Selection Committee from the field of players that competed this week.
— Aaron Smith, USBC Communications