By Joe Jacquez
ROHNERT PARK, California - If anything can be gleaned from Bryanna Coté's performance so far at the 2021 U.S. Women's Open, it's that a bad start doesn't always equate to a bad finish.
The Tucson native's tournament began with a 155 and a 188 on Thursday night, but she followed that with back-to-back 247 games and shot over 200 in games six and seven before finishing with a 193 on the 36-foot pattern.
Coté came back to Double Decker Lanes for eight more games of qualifying, this time on a grueling 40-foot flat pattern, and shot 195 and 172 the first two games.
To say Coté rebounded from a sluggish start would be an understatement. She shot 229, 221 and 246 in games three through five and bounced back from a 189 in game seven with a 226 to finish off her day with her husband Randy watching her and giving her advice every step of the way.
Coté was one of a few players that was able to string together at least four or five strikes in a row and on a flat oil pattern, which can separate you from the rest of the field, even if the emphasis is on controlling the pocket and making your spares instead of trying to strike.
But she knew that there were plenty of frames left to bowl, stayed patient and stuck to her game plan.
"My strategy was to hit the pocket, make my spares and take advantage of any good pair you may find," Coté said. "If you start striking just roll with it and see how the day plays out. I try to keep it as simple as possible, stay on top of the moves."
Other than trying something on fill shots, Coté used the 900 Global Ordnance C4 the entire block, finishing with a total pin fall of 1,478 for the block and vaulting her into the overall lead at +170, ahead of day one leader Cherrie Tan (+166).
"It's very controllable and read the lane really well. I didn't really have to change or get away from it. It didn't do anything funky for me, which helps me make the correct moves."
Coté kept her angles small through the fronts because the pattern was flat. She said if players are right on top of it with their ball, it tends to want to hook and conversely, she said if you have to big of an angle, it wants to keep going.
"I had a little bit of a smaller angle, kept my breakpoint around 9 or 10 and moved left as the day went on.”
In Her Element
Missy Parkin knocked down 1,453 pins, good for the second highest block behind Coté. Parkin moved up into 14th for the tournament at +39 for the tournament.
Parkin said at Wednesday's practice session that she "loves them when they are hard," and the lanes were as hard as they are going to be all tournament, which only plays into Parkin's strengths.
"I typically bowl really well on flat patterns because it puts a premium on shot making and picking up your spares and that is really what my game is built around," Parkin said.
Parkin said her game plan, like Coté's and most other players, was to use a ball that was controllable, allowing her to keep her angles closed down.
She said she started with a Radical Informer and then she switched to a Brunswick Zenith Hybrid. In the last few games, she used a Hammer Rhodman Pearl.
"I left a lot of makable spares if I didn't strike and I picked up all my spares, so it was a really good day," Parkin said.
"My mindset was to really keep the ball in play and make good decisions with my ball selections and make my spares and that is kind of what I did the whole block," Boomershine said.
A Gritty Block for Boomershine
Lindsay Boomershine began the day outside of the cut line in 32nd place, but she put together one of the top blocks of the day as well, including a 245 and 215 in games seven and eight respectively. She knocked down 1,668 pins for the day and she jumped into 12th place overall.
She tried to be a lot more up the back of it, a lot smoother, with a lot less axis rotation and pick the balls that would blend it out and get through the fronts and then continue on the back end.
Boomershine said she moved left, but with a 1:1 ratio, you have to do it by angling your body instead of moving left with your feet and throwing it right.
"I'm angling myself that way and I might not be standing that much farther left, but it makes me have the opportunity to create hold," Boomershine said.
Daria Pajak held the lead several times, but she finished with games of 173 and 174. The native of Poland still sits in fourth overall and second on B squad.
O’Keefe’s Big Move
Shannon O'Keefe put together a block of 1,622, moving her from a tie for 36th at the start of the day into 24th. The field will be cut to the top 24 after A squad bowls their 8 games Friday night.
O'Keefe started her block with a Game Breaker 3 and was confident in her choice but as the first game continued, she noticed the ball kept going straighter and straighter down lane.
"So, I was like, 'I just have to get my feet closer to it,’ and I threw a good shot and it hooked, which told me it was the wrong ball," O'Keefe said.
Near the end of game one, you could see O'Keefe looking around at other players, something she says is in her DNA as a coach.
O'Keefe noticed that other players were using big asymmetrical balls that allowed them to control the pocket and so she decided to try hers.
"I threw a really good shot, but I split, so this told me that I needed a cleaner cover," O'Keefe said.
O'Keefe went to her clean a-symmetrical and she found Clara Guerrero, who she always talks to when she is unsure.
"She said ‘Yes, I think you are close, I think that is a good idea," O'Keefe said.
She started Game 3 after a 169 game with the clean-asym. Then, Taylor Bailey and Lauren Pate, who graduated from O’Keefe’s program at McKendree, confirmed what O'Keefe was thinking. After bowling 206 in game 3, O'Keefe said all she had to do the rest of the way was commit to her game plan. She went on to bowl 210, 255 and 236 in the middle games and got herself right back in the tournament.
Stephanie Johnson and Shayna Ng were the other B-squad bowlers in the top 10 and A-squad bowled their 8 games Friday night.
After Friday's final qualifying round, the field will be cut to the top 24 for match play.