LAS VEGAS - Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, and Jeff Fehr of Cincinnati moved into the lead after the second round at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials on Monday.
McEwan, a four-time Team USA member, took the top overall spot in the standings on the women's side with a two-round total of nine ranking points (seven points for seventh place in Round 1 and two points for finishing second in Round 2), while Fehr paced the men's division at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino with five points after finishing fourth in Round 1 and first in Round 2.
The players this week 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.
McEwan made her move during Monday's final game, firing a 279 to move into second place for the day with a 1,345 total.
Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, who defeated McEwan to win the Team USA Trials in 2015, led the way in Monday's second round with a six-game total of 1,399. Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska, was third with 1,305, Amanda Greene of Romney, West Virginia, was fourth with 1,296 and Jordan Richard of Tipton, Michigan, was fifth Monday with 1,280.
After two rounds, Greene is just one point behind McEwan, followed closely by Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, California (11), Richard (14) and Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, and Bryanna Cote of Red Rock, Arizona, who are tied for fifth with 27 points.
As a two-time Team USA Trials winner (2012 and 2013), McEwan has been working to keep her physical game consistent knowing the challenges the event brings.
"There are so many different variables that go into being successful at this tournament, and I think the most important thing for me is being consistent with my physical game, so I've really been focusing on that," said McEwan, the 2015 Smithfield Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour Championship winner. "I've had success in this tournament in the past, so I'm trying to combine what has worked before with what I've learned from other tournaments to help put it all together."
It has been more than a dozen years since Fehr last competed at the Team USA Trials, but some opportune timing brought him to Las Vegas in 2016. He's taken advantage of the opportunity and held off the field to capture top honors on the men's side Monday with a 1,349 total.
"It's been about 15 years since I last bowled this event, and it's something I've been wanting to do before I got too old," said Fehr, the son of USBC Hall of Famers Steve and Nancy Fehr. "I won a spot through the (USBC) Open Championships, and the timing worked perfectly with my new job, so the stars aligned for a week. Staying patient and spare shooting have been the keys so far. The lanes were difficult today, and I really had to grind the first three or four games before I caught something at the end. I missed one spare today, too, and with as jumbled as everyone was, another one could easily have cost me five spots, so it was huge to stay relatively clean."
AJ Chapman of Manchester, Iowa, has put together two top-five finishes and sits in second overall with nine points. Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tennessee, is third with 17 points, first-round leader Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, is fourth with 25 points, and Anthony Simonsen of Princeton, Texas, is fifth with 27 points.
Devin Bidwell of Wichita, Kansas, finished second behind Fehr in Monday's round with a 1,331 series. Matthew Farber of Plainview, New York, was third with 1,325, while Chapman and Michael Eaton Jr. of Mason, Ohio, tied for fourth with 1,319.
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.
The top three amateurs on the women's side are Dunn (11 ranking points), Jordan Richard (14 points), and Taylor Bulthuis of Coral Springs, Florida, and Haley Richard of Tipton, Michigan, who each have 30 points. The men's side mimics the overall standings, with Fehr, Chapman and Doyle ranked as the top three amateurs.
Competition continues Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern with the third round of men's qualifying. BOWL.com's BowlTV will provide 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.
The National Selection Committee also will select a maximum of five men and five women for the team based on resumes submitted by Team USA or Junior Team USA members from the last 10 years or the top 25 on the points list of the 2015 Professional Bowlers Association Tour and 2015 PWBA Tour.
On the youth side, Junior Team USA 2016 will consist of 12 boys and 12 girls. The top four boys and top four girls at the 2016 Team USA Trials, based on ranking points, automatically will earn spots, while two additional boys and two additional girls will be selected by the National Selection Committee from either the 2016 Team USA Trials or 2015 Junior Gold Championships.
They will join the six boys and six girls who already earned their spots on Junior Team USA 2016 by qualifying at the 2015 Junior Gold Championships in Chicago.
To be eligible for the U.S. Amateur portion of the event, a bowler must not hold or have held a professional membership (PBA or PWBA) anytime in 2015. Also, anyone who has won a professional title (regional, national or senior) as a professional is not eligible to compete as an amateur.