COLUMBUS, Ohio – In most sports, the move to the professional level generally comes with a learning curve. The Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour is no different.
After Thursday’s pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) for the Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open, the final of three elite-field events on the 2018 PWBA Tour schedule, two bowlers who advanced to the tournament field will be cashing a check at the end of the week for the first time this season.
Giselle Poss of Nashville, Tennessee, had a 1,754 pinfall total in the eight-game PTQ at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl to lead a group of nine qualifiers who earned their way into the elite-field event. Her effort comes a week after failing to advance through the PTQ at the BowlerX.com PWBA Twin Cities Open.
“Last week was rough,” Poss said. “I changed some things in practice this week, and I worked on my timing – it’s been off for about two weeks – and it paid off. My pushaway and my steps were entirely too fast, and I was running to the line. I just really wanted to throw the ball, I guess.”
Also qualifying through the PTQ on Thursday were Jessica Mellott of Lauderhill, Florida, and Erin Czuprynski of Tinley Park, Illinois, who were third and fourth, respectively. Each is guaranteed to earn a PWBA Tour prize check for the first time.
Czuprynski quit bowling for about five years – the PWBA was not active when she graduated from college in 2013 – and she recently returned to the sport. She bowled in the U.S. Women’s Open last year and learned success on the Tour would be tough, so she dedicated a year to practice and preparation. She has missed just three events this season.
“I had super-high expectations this year, and it hasn’t gone exactly as planned,” Czuprynski said. “This feels awesome. I think I’m kind of in shock, because I expected this in Vegas (opening stop of the 2018 PWBA Tour). I’ve been expecting this the whole season.”
Mellott bowled on the McKendree University team that won the Intercollegiate Team Championships and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles in 2017. She joined the PWBA Tour after the 2017-2018 collegiate season.
“It means all the struggling throughout the season has finally paid off,” Mellott said. “There were times where I was like, ‘I just don’t want to bowl anymore’ because it was so mentally frustrating and physically demanding. I stuck it out, and now I’m excited.”
Mellott said before heading to the PTQ, she visited her uncle’s farm in Ohio, and he had her cut the lawn, though she didn’t finish. He informed her if she didn’t qualify through the PTQ, she had to come back and finish the rest.
“I guess I had to bowl well or else I had to mow the lawn,” Mellott said.
Jodi Woessner was the only bowler from Ohio to advance through the PTQ. Woessner, who made the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Oregon, Ohio, also is the only bowler to advance to each elite-field event through the PTQ.
Competition in the Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open begins Friday with two eight-game qualifying blocks. After 16 games, the field will be cut to the top 12 competitors, who will bowl six additional games Saturday morning, with the top five in total pinfall after 22 games, advancing to the stepladder finals.
CBS Sports Network will have live coverage of Saturday’s stepladder finals, starting at 5 p.m. Eastern. BowlTV will livestream all rounds leading up to the televised finals, starting with Friday’s first qualifying round at 10 a.m. EDT.