Qualifying: Rd. 3 | Rd. 4
EAGAN, Minn. - After what most would consider a successful run at the 2021 Professional Women's Bowling Association Kickoff Classic Series in January, Ukraine's Dasha Kovalova was not satisfied.
After losing in the semifinal match to eventual champion Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, in what she considered embarrassing fashion at the PWBA Hall of Fame Classic, Kovalova was determined to erase the memory of the disappointing performance and put herself back in the winner's circle as quickly as possible.
One event later, she captured her third career PWBA title with a resounding 268-173 victory over Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, in the championship match at the PWBA Twin Cities Open at Cedarvale Lanes in Eagan, Minnesota.
The victory, broadcast live on BowlTV.com, earned Kovalova the $10,000 top prize.
"I'm driven to be the best, and losing like I did back in January was a big motivator to improve these last couple of months," said Kovalova, who had two top-five finishes at the Kickoff Classic Series in three events. "I was pretty obsessed about improving in every possible way coming into the rest of the PWBA season."
Kovalova entered Saturday's championship round as the No. 2 seed after surviving a hectic finish during the last qualifying round. She completely dominated her two matches in the stepladder finals, winning by 97 and 95 pins, respectively.
Parkin, the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Queens champion, was looking for her first PWBA victory since the tour's relaunch in 2015. She captured the No. 1 seed after averaging more than 220 for 24 games over two days.
In the final, Kovalova opened with a barrage of four straight strikes, while Parkin struggled to find the range, trailing by 52 pins after five frames. Another string of strikes following a spare in the fifth frame sealed the victory early for Kovalova.
"I tried taking a completely different approach during the finals this time," Kovalova said. "I reminded myself to breath, stay calm and think through my choices, and it worked out very well."
Six-time PWBA champion Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, was the No. 4 seed and opened the stepladder finals with a 245-226 victory over No. 3 seed Erin McCarthy of Elkhorn, Nebraska. Like Kovalova, McCarthy also was making her third championship-round appearance of the 2021 PWBA Tour season.
Once Kovalova stepped in to take on Kulick in the semifinal, she asserted her dominance with a 258-161 victory and continued to roll in the title match.
"Now that I'm living in Michigan, I've been able to spend a lot of time at Brunswick's facility," Kovalova said. "I've been learning more about my equipment, practicing how to read lane transition to make quicker adjustments and getting myself in better physical condition."
The tour resumed this week after a nearly three-month hiatus following the season-opening PWBA Kickoff Classic Series. Twenty titles will be awarded in the 2021 season, and the Twin Cities Open marked the beginning of a 14-event run that goes through the end of August.
All qualifying and match-play rounds at the PWBA Twin Cities Open were broadcast live at BowlTV.com and will remain in the BowlTV archives for fans who want to revisit the action.
The 2021 PWBA Tour season will continue starting April 29 with the PWBA Lincoln Open in Lincoln, Nebraska.