RENO, Nev. – Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, went undefeated in match play at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Queens and earns the top seed for the stepladder finals at the first major of the 2021 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour season.
The 25-year-old right-hander defeated her former University of Nebraska teammate, Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, in the final match of the winners bracket Monday at the National Bowling Stadium to secure the top seed, 663-620. Kuhlkin will be the No. 2 seed for the finals.
The finals of the 2021 USBC Queens will be broadcast live on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern at BowlTV.com. The champion will take home the $20,000 first-place prize and tiara awarded to the winner.
With the finals being broadcast on BowlTV, Bond will have to be defeated twice in the true double-elimination format.
Joining Bond and Kuhlkin in the stepladder will be No. 3 Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, No. 4 Diana Zavjalova of Latvia and No. 5 Verity Crawley of England.
Parkin, Zavjalova and Crawley advanced out of the elimination bracket Monday. The final four athletes in the elimination bracket bowled a final three-game total-pinfall contest, with the top three scores advancing to the stepladder.
Parkin earned the No. 3 seed with a 688 series. Zavjalova advanced with a 683 set and will face Crawley (598) in Tuesday’s opening match. Erin McCarthy of Elkhorn, Nebraska, rolled a 575 series and was eliminated, finishing in sixth place.
Bond captured her first national tour title earlier this season at the PWBA Hall of Fame Classic in January, and she’s worked hard during the year to become more consistent from week to week.
Her confidence has continued to grow, too, and she attributed her success in match play to being able to put together an arsenal that allowed her to make quick changes as this week’s 42-foot oil pattern began to transition.
Bond averaged more than 234 in her six wins on Sunday and Monday.
“I think what really helped with my confidence this week was getting into a part of the lane I was comfortable in and using bowling balls that helped me stay in that part of the lane,” said Bond, a five-time Team USA member. “We built my arsenal in a great way to make my ball changes really simple and straightforward. I knew exactly what ball to go to when the lanes started to transition, which allowed me to settle in and be loose and make the best shots possible.”
Bond faced her biggest test in her match against Kuhlkin, as she worked through a couple of different bowling balls and a different zone on the lanes to find a look during the final game.
Kuhlkin, who joined Bond in helping Nebraska win the 2015 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship, was up by 21 pins after two games, but Bond was able to deliver six consecutive strikes after a spare in the first frame to finish with a 257 game and the victory.
“When Plan A and B aren’t working, you have to go to Plan C,” Bond said. “I didn’t have to play that angle since early in match play, because I’ve mostly been able to stay right. I’m very proud that I was able to trust myself and believe in the plan we worked on to get into the right ball and make the zone change. I made the change and saw the shape I was looking for, and I knew I could do it.”
Bond is making her first championship-round appearance in a major, and she’s confident her experiences on the way to the top seed will give her the opportunity to take home the tiara.
“There’s a little bit of a confidence boost knowing there’s a cushion with the extra game, but I’m still going to go out there and give it my all,” Bond said. “I don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to beat me more than once, and we’re just going to stick with the process. If the game plan doesn’t work, I know I have the ability to completely switch gears. I know there are two parts of the lane I can play very well, and I feel pretty good about tomorrow.”
Kuhlkin will be looking to win her second career major and third PWBA Tour title. She won the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open and is making her second stepladder appearance at the Queens after finishing fifth at the 2015 event.
Parkin and Zavjalova will look to add an additional tiara to their collections as past champions at the Queens. Parkin won the 2011 event, and Zavjalova will look to join USBC and PWBA Hall of Famers Mildred Ignizio and Wendy Macpherson as the only three-time champions at the event. Zavjalova won the 2013 and 2017 Queens.
Crawley joins Bond in making her first championship-round appearance at a major and is looking for her first PWBA Tour title.
The 2021 event started with 110 competitors. After 15 games of qualifying over three days, the top 63 players and Ukraine’s Dasha Kovalova, who was guaranteed a spot in the bracket as the defending champion, advanced to match play.
Kovalova won two matches at the NBS before she was eliminated Monday by Josie Barnes of Hermitage, Tennessee, 629-609. Kovalova finished tied for 25th place.
For more information on the USBC Queens, visit BOWL.com/Queens.
2021 USBC Queens
At National Bowling Stadium
Double-elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
ROUND 3 – WINNERS BRACKET
(Winners remain in Winners Bracket. Losers move to Elimination Bracket.)
(1) Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., def. (16) Shannon O’Keefe, Shiloh, Ill., 685-656
(41) Verity Crawley, England, def. (40) Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 706-599
(44) Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., def. (5) Jordan Richard, Maumee, Ohio, 635-631
(4) Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., def. (13) Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 657-574
(19) Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (30) Kayla Pashina, Minnetonka, Minn., 634-531
(22) Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, def. (6) Birgit Noreiks, Germany, 625-613
(10) Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., def. (39) Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 734-636
(15) Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., def. (63) Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, 652-592
ROUND 4 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,350)
(11) Alexis Neuer, Milton, Pa., def. (64) Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 707-627
(56) Sandra Gongora, Mexico, def. (62) Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 747-580
(29) Erin McCarthy, Elkhorn, Neb., def. (42) Gazmine Mason, Cranston, R.I., 735-609
(31) Brandi Branka, Belleville, Ill., def. (21) Bryanna Coté, Tucson, Ariz., 631-604
(35) Taylor Bailey, Joliet, Ill., def. (9) Shannon Sellens, Long Beach, N.Y., 696-563
(33) Tannya Roumimper, Indonesia, def. (8) Kara Mangiola, Spencerport, N.Y., 598-558
(2) Rocio Restrepo, Uniontown, Ohio, def. (7) Caitlyn Johnson, Beaumont, Texas, 678-579
(18) Josie Barnes, Hermitage, Tenn., def. (28) Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 629-609
ROUND 4 – WINNERS BRACKET
Crawley def. McEwan, 672-616
Kuhlkin def. Parkin, 663-569
Zavjalova def. Guerrero, 664-585
Bond def. L. Johnson, 759-650
ROUND 5 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,550)
Richard def. Neuer, 700-646
Gongora def. Bolton, 652-644
McCarthy def. O’Keefe, 730-716
Dorin-Ballard def. Branka, 574-562
Boomershine def. Bailey, 657-610
S. Johnson def. Roumimper, 672-620
Restrepo def. Noreiks, 577-552
Barnes def. Pashina, 682-630
ROUND 5 – WINNERS BRACKET
Kuhlkin def. Crawley, 688-550
Bond def. Zavjalova, 723-652
ROUND 6 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,750)
Richard def. Gongora, 661-632
McCarthy def. Dorin-Ballard, 708-604
Boomershine def. S. Johnson, 623-563
Barnes def. Restrepo, 674-542
ROUND 6 - WINNERS BRACKET
(Winner earns No. 1 seed for Tuesday’s BowlTV finals; loser is No. 2 seed)
Bond def. Kuhlkin, 663-620
ROUND 7 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,000)
Richard def. L. Johnson, 675-631
McCarthy def. Guerrero, 691-480
Parkin def. Boomershine, 688-576
McEwan def. Barnes, 675-598
ROUND 8 – ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,300)
McCarthy def. Richard, 726-689
Parkin def. McEwan, 731-675
ROUND 9 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Three highest scores advance to BowlTV finals, high score is No. 3 seed, second high is No. 4, third high is No. 5, lowest score is eliminated, earns $2,700)
Parkin 688, Zavjalova 683, Crawley 598, McCarthy 575