BATON ROUGE, La. – United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Deerfield, Illinois, went undefeated in match play at the 2017 USBC Queens to earn the top seed for Tuesday’s championship round.
The stepladder finals will air on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern, and the winner will take home the coveted tiara and top prize of $20,000. The USBC Queens is the first major of the 2017 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour season.
Johnson, a two-time Queens champion, put together a near-historic run through the double-elimination bracket at the Raising Cane’s River Center, averaging more than 237 through her six matches, including a 663-612 win against 2013 Queens winner Diana Zavjalova of Latvia in the winners bracket final to earn the No. 1 spot. Zavjalova will be the No. 2 seed for the finals.
“I made really good ball choices to start and ball changes when I needed them throughout my matches,” said Johnson, the 2015 and 2016 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Player of the Year. “Mentally, I felt really good, and the physical game came together as well.”
Johnson is one win away from adding another historic accomplishment to her storied career. With a victory, she would become the third bowler to win the Queens for a third time, joining fellow hall of famers Mildred Ignizio (1967, 1970, 1971) and Wendy Macpherson (1988, 2000, 2003).
“It’s going to be tough no matter who I face,” said Johnson, who also rolled the tournament’s only 300 game in her opening-round victory against England’s Verity Crawley. “I always go into a match thinking I’m up against the best bowler in the world, no matter who it is. That’s always been my mindset, so I’m going to bowl the best game I can, since that’s all I can do.”
Singapore’s Jazreel Tan and Cherie Tan and Marissa Thomas of Louisville, Kentucky, are the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds for the stepladder, respectively, after advancing through a final shootout round Monday.
Jazreel Tan led the round with a 671 series to earn the third spot. Cherie Tan took the fourth spot with a 611 set, and Thomas edged out Singapore’s Shayna Ng for the final spot in a dramatic finish, 587-578.
Finishing first, Ng struck on her first delivery of the 10th frame for a double and converted a 7 pin, forcing Thomas to mark to advance. Thomas left a 3-10 split on her first offering and covered it to secure the fifth spot.
A total of 162 bowlers competed in three five-game blocks of qualifying over three days this week to determine the 63 competitors who joined defending champion Bernice Lim of Singapore in the double-elimination match-play bracket. Lim lost her first two matches Sunday and finished in a tie for 49th place.
Each bracket match leading up to the stepladder included three games, with total pinfall determining which player advanced. The televised portion of the event will be one-game matches.
For more information on the USBC Queens, visit BOWL.com/Queens.
2017 USBC QUEENS
At Raising Cane’s River Center, Baton Rouge, La.
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
ROUND 3 - WINNERS BRACKET
(16) Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., def. (64) Jennifer King, Irmo, S.C., 698-595
(57) Marissa Thomas, Louisville, Ky., def. (9) Jamie Martin, Omaha, Neb., 643-485
(12) Liz Johnson, Deerfield, Ill., def. (5) Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 729-499
(29) Stephanie Schwartz, Racine, Wis., def. (20) Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 638-542
(19) Daria Kovalova, Wichita, Kan., def. (3) Josie Earnest-Barnes, Nashville, Tenn., 687-661
(54) Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, def. (27) Amanda Fry, Antelope, Calif., 674-662
(7) Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, def. (10) Juliana Franco, Colombia, 697-577
(18) Shayna Ng, Singapore, def. (63) Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 661-561
ROUND 4 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,500)
(51) Daria Pajak, Poland, def. (8) Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 648-568
(49) Jazreel Tan, Singapore, def. (59) Nicole Bower, Camp Hill, Pa., 680-562
(42) Elysia Current, Ephrata, Pa., def. (61) Aumi Guerra, Dominican Republic, 594-569
(34) Brittany Smith, Johnston, Iowa, def. (53) Verity Crawley, England, 643-590
(6) Cherie Tan, Singapore, def. (17) Melissa Van Dyke, Parma, Ohio, 718-562
(22) Karen Marcano, Venezuela, def. (32) Karen Boyd, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 608-541
(52) Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (58) New Hui Fen, Singapore, 650-552
(4) Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., def. (37) Jessica Mellott, Lauderhill, Fla., 700-656
ROUND 4 - WINNERS BRACKET
Thomas def. McEwan, 594-576
Johnson def. Schwartz, 716-688
Zavjalova def. Kovalova, 770-670
Ng def. Pluhowsky, 614-609
ROUND 5 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,700)
Kuhlkin def. Pajak, 691-617
J. Tan def. O’Keefe, 652-650
King def. Current, 664-651
Martin def. Smith, 725-611
C. Tan def. Restrepo, 663-616
Marcano def. Franco, 630-508
Guerrero def. Fry, 651-606
Parkin def. Earnest-Barnes, 716-690
ROUND 5 - WINNERS BRACKET
Johnson def. Thomas, 716-545
Zavjalova def. Ng, 681-587
ROUND 6 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,000)
J. Tan def. Kuhlkin, 648-562
Martin def. King, 633-581
C. Tan def. Marcano, 680-589
Parkin def. Guerrero, 718-643
ROUND 6 - WINNERS BRACKET
(Winner earns No. 1 seed for Tuesday's CBS Sports Network finals; loser is No. 2 seed)
Johnson def. Zavjalova, 663-612
ROUND 7 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,500)
J. Tan def. Pluhowsky, 692-640
Martin def. Kovalova, 710-606
C. Tan def. Schwartz, 607-514
Parkin def. McEwan, 693-657
ROUND 8 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,800)
J. Tan def. Martin, 625-616
C. Tan def. Parkin, 649-603
ROUND 9 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Three highest scores advance to CBS Sports Network finals, high score is No. 3 seed, second high is No. 4, third high is No. 5, lowest score is eliminated, earns $3,000).
J. Tan 671, C. Tan 611, Thomas 587, Ng 578