BATON ROUGE, La. – The last 24 hours at the United States Bowling Congress Queens have been a roller coaster for Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio, but she remains undefeated after two rounds of match play.
Sixteen players remain in the winners bracket at the Raising Cane’s River Center after Sunday’s opening rounds of match play in the double-elimination bracket. Bracket matches consist of three games, with total pinfall determining who advances.
The bracket started with the top 63 competitors after qualifying, along with defending champion Bernice Lim of Singapore, and matches will continue through Monday until the five stepladder finalists are determined. CBS Sports Network will air the finals Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern, and the winner will take home the top prize of $20,000.
Restrepo’s roller coaster ride started Saturday evening while finishing her qualifying block. The Colombian native was in eighth place after the first two rounds but struggled with her timing during the final five games.
After rolling a 131 in Game 4, Restrepo found herself in jeopardy of missing the cut as she continued to struggle with her timing in the final game. She was able to regroup and throw two strikes in her final frame, along with a nine-count on her fill ball, to tie Jennifer King of Irmo, South Carolina, for the final two spots in the bracket.
“I nearly bowled myself out of this tournament,” said Restrepo, a two-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour champion. “I don’t know how I came through on those last three shots, since I really had nothing. I stepped up on the approach, cleared my mind and did everything I could. If it was meant to be, I was going to find a way, and I did.”
Restrepo was back on track Sunday morning in her opening match against two-time USBC Queens champion Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, advancing with a 683-659 victory.
Restrepo continued strong to start her next match against Brittany Smith of Johnston, Iowa, rolling a 278 game to take an 84-pin lead after the first game. But, the momentum quickly swung in the opposite direction as Smith rolled 258, and Restrepo lost her reaction on the way to a 168 effort, falling behind in the match.
Restrepo made a ball change and trusted in her ability in the final game, delivering a key double late in the match to sneak past Smith, 650-640.
“I went from having great ball reaction to shooting 160,” said Restrepo, who advanced to the stepladder finals of the 2017 QubicaAMF PWBA Sonoma County Open and PWBA Storm Sacramento Open, which will be taped Tuesday at the River Center and air on CBS Sports Network in June. “I felt that my shots weren’t that bad, but the lanes drastically changed for me. I made a ball change, trusted my instincts and did what I needed to do in those finals shots. I’ve bowled a lot of games in the past four weeks, and having the chance to rest and relax tonight means a lot.”
Restrepo will face Singapore’s Shayna Ng in the third round Monday, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern. Restrepo and Ng are joined in the winners bracket by three past Queens champions – USBC Hall of Famer Liz Johnson (2009 and 2015), Diana Zavjalova (2013) and Shannon Pluhowsky (2006).
Defending champion Bernice Lim of Singapore lost both of her matches Sunday and was eliminated. She finished in a tie for 49th place. Japan’s Katsuko Sugimoto was the last player to successfully defend a Queens title, winning in 1981 and 1982.
Qualifying at the River Center consisted of 15 games over three days to determine the 63 players who would join Lim in the double-elimination bracket.
All rounds of competition leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association. To subscribe to watch the action on Xtra Frame, visit XtraFrame.TV.
For more information on the USBC Queens, visit BOWL.com/Queens.