LAS VEGAS – After four days of competition at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Queens, only 16 players remain in contention for the coveted tiara and $20,000 top prize, which will be earned live on CBS Sports Network on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Among the undefeated competitors after the opening round of match play Tuesday are top seed Birgit Poppler of Germany and Team USA member Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, who each have had very different experiences this week at The Orleans Bowling Center.
Poppler led the field of 256 competitors by averaging more than 240 through 15 games of qualifying but needed to rely more on her spare game Tuesday as she averaged nearly 215 in her three wins, including a 644-609 victory against Kaidee Sutphin of Mount Dora, Florida, to remain in the winners' bracket.
“I always started pretty well in the first game and was able to build a lead,” said Poppler, whose 15-game qualifying mark of 3,601 was the second-highest in tournament history. “I wasn’t striking as much, so I just tried to make my spares and stay patient. For tomorrow, I’m going to try to do what I did today and stay patient. Hopefully, I can keep it going. I might need to strike more tomorrow.”
Johnson did not record a game higher than 226 in her first 13 games of qualifying but fired 279 and 240 in her final two games to edge her way into the double-elimination match-play bracket in the 53rd position.
Johnson continued to show a flair for the dramatic in match play, defeating Singapore’s Jazreel Tan in a roll off after the two tied at 674 in the opening round of match play.
In her last match Tuesday, Johnson delivered two strikes and nine pins in the final frame to hold off a charging Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 687-686. Kulick, a two-time USBC Queens champion, fired a 278 in the final game.
“I tried a couple of different things throughout qualifying but just never saw the picture,” said Johnson, the 2015 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Rookie of the Year. “I had nothing to lose, so I ended up making a big move right with a great ball choice and never looked back. Today was not an easy road. Two of my matches came down to the final frame, and being able to perform in those moments just reminds me of why I do what I do. Those are the moments you prepare for and want to be in.”
Joining Poppler and Johnson in the winners’ bracket are 2013 Queens champion Diana Zavjalova of Latvia, Singapore’s Hui Fen New and Bernice Lim, Sweden’s Sandra Andersson, Malaysia’s Sin Li Jane and Robyn Renslow of Brentwood, California.
The double-elimination bracket started with the 64 bowlers who advanced through three rounds of qualifying, and now only 16 remain with the opportunity to advance to Thursday’s stepladder finals.
The elimination bracket includes Kulick, Indonesia’s Tannya Roumimper, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio, Brenda Padilla of Mansfield, Texas, Natasha Roslan of Malaysia, Jennifer Higgins of Westerville, Ohio, and Lindsay Boomershine of Perry, Utah.
Defending champion and USBC Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York, won her opening match but lost her next two matches to be eliminated. Her run at a third Queens title ended after she fell to 2015-2016 National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Most Valuable Player Brittany Smith of Des Moines, Iowa, 646-625.
Match play will continue Wednesday at noon Eastern live on Xtra Frame, the online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association. To subscribe to watch the action on Xtra Frame, visit XtraFrame.TV.
The final two players in the winners’ bracket Wednesday will meet in a three-game match, with total pinfall determining the top seed for the stepladder finals.
The final four competitors in the elimination bracket will face off in a shootout round to determine the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds for the show. The highest three-game set from the round will earn the third seed, the second highest will be seeded fourth and the third highest will earn the final spot in the stepladder. The lowest series will be eliminated and finish in sixth place.
The Queens is the first major of the 2016 PWBA Tour season.
For more information on the USBC Queens, visit BOWL.com/Queens.
2016 USBC QUEENS
At The Orleans Bowling Center, Las Vegas
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Winners remain in winners bracket. Losers move to elimination bracket).
(1) Birgit Poppler (a), Germany, def. (64) Josie Earnest, Nashville, Tenn., 641-626.
(32) Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., def. (33) Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 715-616.
(48) Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., def. (17) Stephanie Schwartz (a), Racine, Wis., 681-611.
(49) Kaidee Sutphin, Mount Dora, Fla., def. (16) Kristina Wendell, Kingston, N.Y., 631-611.
(9) Siti Rahman, Malaysia, def. (56) Syaidatul Hamidi, Malaysia, 653-615.
(24) Hui Fen New, Singapore, def. (41) Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 701-581.
(25) Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, def. (40) Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 669-608.
(8) Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., def. (57) Kamilah Dammers, Aruba, 671-586.
(5) Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., def. (60) Catherine Maher (a), Ottumwa, Iowa, 639-549.
(28) Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, def. (37) Verity Crawley (a), Babson Park, Fla., 680-675.
(44) Emily Fagan (a), Berkeley, Calif., def. (21) Erin McCarthy, Omaha, Neb., 660-593.
(53) Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, def. (12) Jazreel Tan, Singapore, (10-10, 10-9) after a 674 tie.
(13) Sydney Brummett (a), Fort Wayne, Ind., def. (52) Kristina Mickelson, Ord, Neb., 670-638.
(20) Daria Kovalova (a), Wichita, Kan., def. (45) Katie Ann Sopp-Schroeder, White Bear Lake, Minn., 642-630.
(36) Katie Garcia (a), Wichita, Kan., def. (29) Laura Plazas (a), Bel Aire, Kan., 622-606.
(61) Sandra Andersson (a), Sweden, def., Shayna Ng, Singapore, 580-577.
(3) Jenny Wegner (a), Sweden, def. (62) Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., 678-630.
(35) Tannya Roumimper, Indonesia, def. (30) Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 700-620.
(46) Robyn Renslow (a), Brentwood, Calif., def. (19) Hollyann Johansen (a), Wichita, Kan., 694-671.
(14) Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, def. (51) Stephanie Martins, Brazil, 627-581.
(54) Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., def. (11) Brittany Smith (a), Des Moines, Iowa, 674-585.
(43) Kristin Quah (a), Singapore, def. (22) Daphne Tan, Singapore, 703-639.
(27) Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (38) Katelyn Simpson (a), Emmett, Idaho, 703-589.
(6) Sin Li Jane, Malaysia, def. (59) Dena Buxton (a), Australia, 707-571.
(7) Joey Yeo (a), Singapore, def. (58) Mariana Ayala, Euless, Texas, 632-561.
(39) Natasha Roslan, Malaysia, def. (26) Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla., 704-517.
(23) Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., def. (42) Correen Lieber (a), Issaquah, Wash., 758-619.
(10) Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, def. (55) Keli Callahan (a), Las Vegas, 777-613.
(50) Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, def. (15) Leanne Hulsenberg, Pleasant View, Utah, 629-621.
(47) Victoria Johansson (a), Sweden, def., Cherie Tan, Singapore, 719-599.
(31) Bernice Lim (a), Singapore, def. (34) Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 666-657.
(63) Syazwani Sahar, Malaysia, def. (2) Daria Pajak (a), Poland, 678-623.
ROUND 2 - WINNERS BRACKET
Poppler def. Parkin, 648-617
Sutphin def. T. Johnson, 580-565
New def. Rahman, 643-595
Restrepo def. L. Johnson, 675-643
Kulick def. Boomershine, 711-622
S. Johnson def. Fagan, 659-604
Brummett def. Kovalova, 679-588
S. Andersson def. Garcia, 682-616
Wegner def. Roumimper, 695-624
Renslow def. Pluhowsky, 629-628
Greene def. Quah, 773-584
Jane def. Guerrero, 691-641
Roslan def. Yeo, 692-672
Zavjalova def. McEwan, 736-695
Padilla def. Johansson, 772-589
Lim def. Sahar, 742-649
ROUND 2 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,200)
Dorin-Ballard def. Earnest, 618-560
Leuthold def. Dammers, 688-665
Schwartz def. Wendell, 689-549
Hamidi def. Asbaty (in roll off after 574 tie)
Crawley def. Maher, 652-611
Plazas def. Ng, 680-505
McCarthy def. J. Tan, 639-607
Sopp-Schroeder def. Mickelson, 692-603
Barnes def. Branka, 616-599
Simpson def. Buxton, 608-545
Johansen def. Martins, 651-588
Smith def. D. Tan, 670-601
Ayala def. Duggan, 704-621
Higgins def. Pajak, 711-652
Callahan def. Lieber 658-640
C. Tan def. Hulsenberg, 665-661
ROUND 3 - WINNERS BRACKET
Poppler def. Sutphin, 644-609
New def. Restrepo, 704-657
S. Johnson def. Kulick, 687-686
Andersson def. Brummett, 615-550
Renslow def. Wegner, 638-616
Jane def. Greene, 633-616
Zavjalova def. Roslan, 683-628
Lim def. Padilla, 748-632
ROUND 3 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,300)
Pluhowsky def. Dorin-Ballard, 634-609
Quah def. Leuthold, 594-582
Roumimper def. Schwartz, 676-631
Hamidi def. Guerrero, 758-647
McEwan def. Crawley, 698-652
Johansson def. Plazas, 564-539
McCarthy def. Yeo, 727-635
Sopp-Schroeder def. Sahar, 593-571
T. Johnson def. Barnes, 642-614
Rahman def. Simpson, 720-587
Parkin def. Johansen, 747-542
Smith def. L. Johnson, 646-625
Fagan def. Ayala, 647-594
Higgins def. Kovalova, 695-610
Boomershine def. Callahan, 631-597
Garcia def. C. Tan, 622-612
ROUND 4 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,400)
Pluhowsky def. Quah, 689-678
Roumimper def. Hamidi, 667-633
McEwan def. Johansson, 663-604
McCarthy def. Sopp-Schroeder, 665-649
T. Johnson def. Rahman, 699-609
Smith def. Parkin, 729-649
Higgins def. Fagan, 635-587
Boomershine def. Garcia 682-556
ROUND 5 - ELIMINATION BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,600)
Kulick def. Pluhowsky, 678-653
Roumimper def. Brummett, 671-588
McEwan def. Sutphin, 746-596
Restrepo def. McCarthy, 680-662
Padilla def. T. Johnson, 659-498
Roslan def. Smith, 695-641
Higgins def. Greene, 664-653
Boomershine def. Wegner, 652-622