O’Keefe Cruises Into Lead at Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open

by Bob Johnson 0

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LINCOLN, Neb. - Shannon O'Keefe of O'Fallon, Illinois, opened the day with a 277 game, and cruised to the lead after 12 games of qualifying Friday at the Pepsi Professional Women's Bowling Association Lincoln Open at Sun Valley Lanes.

Following her explosive start, O'Keefe turned in her lowest game of the day (184), but she was able to rally with games of 258, 248, 258 and 219 to close the opening block with a 1,444 total. The 37-year-old right-hander added 1,362 in her second block for a 12-game total of 2,806, an average of 233.83.

Mexico's Sandra Gongora, who shot the day's only perfect game, is second with 2,650. She is followed by 2015 PWBA Minnesota Open champion Diana Zavjalova (2,646), 2015 PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson (2,555) and two-time QubicaAMF World Cup champion Clara Guerrero (2,551).

The final spot in the cashers' round went to Natalie Goodman, also from O'Fallon, who finished 32nd with a 2,404 total, a 200.33 average.

O'Keefe found success earlier this season on the way to the No. 2 seed for the stepladder finals at the Nationwide PWBA Sonoma County Open, which will air Tuesday, June 14 at 9 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.

Although she's off to a great start in Lincoln this week, she's not looking too far ahead with such a talented field advancing to the cashers' round.

"There are so many games left," said O'Keefe, a 12-time member of Team USA. "I don't ever look at the scoreboard, so I'm really just trying to throw good shots. The lanes were definitely different this afternoon, and I had to trust that I was making good shots and trust my ball reaction. Same thing for tomorrow - make good shots, trust that I'm throwing it good enough to make adjustments and take it one shot at a time."

The Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open continues Saturday with six additional games, with pinfall carrying over, to determine the 12 players who will advance to round-robin match play. The match-play finalists will be split into two groups, each featuring six players. Each group will bowl six games, including a final position round.

At the end of match play, the top qualifier in each group will earn an automatic spot in the stepladder finals, with seeding being determined by total pins. The second, third and fourth qualifiers in each group will advance to a group stepladder final. The winner of each group stepladder will advance to the televised stepladder finals.

All qualifying and match-play rounds are being broadcast on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association.

The finals of the Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open will be taped June 26 during the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship and will air Tuesday, July 12 on CBS Sports Network.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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