Saturday, May 27, 2017

The 2017 USBC Queens

Last week, we had our first Major of the 2017 PWBA season - The USBC Queens in Baton Rouge, LA.

This week I was lucky enough to be joined with my hubby Drew and my in-laws. I always love having support at the tournaments! Prior to the start of the event, we did some sightseeing. We visited Oak Alley Plantation, Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tour, walked around New Orleans and went on a jazz dinner cruise on the steamboat Natchez along the Mississippi River.

This week, we competed on a 41' pattern using fire oil.

The format for the Queens consists of three 5-game blocks of qualifying. The field is then cut to the top 63 bowlers plus last year's champion Bernice Lim. Those 64 bowlers are then placed into a bracket with a double elimination format. Each match consists of 3 games total pins to determine the winner. This year, there were 162 bowers that participated in the USBC Queens tournament.

I was on the very first squad of qualifying for the tournament. I used my Columbia300 Impulse Solid to shoot games of 225 and 224. I then switched to my trusty Oath and shot 226, 257 and then hit a bad pair my last game shooting 180 for +112 overall. After all 3 squads of qualifying, this put me in 11th place overall.

My next block, I again bowled on the fresh. I started with the same ball - the Impulse Solid and shot 208, 183 and then switched to my Oath and shot 259, 235 and used my Hammer Scandal Pearl the last game to shoot 224 for +109 on the day and +221 overall. This bumped me up to 3rd place overall.

My final round of qualifying, I bowled on the burn squad, meaning that the lanes were not re-oiled after the previous squad bowled on them. I started with my Hammer Scandal Pearl and shot 238, 255, 206, 231 and switched to my Cyborg Pearl the last game and ended with a 183. I shot +113 for the day and +334 overall which put me in 4th place overall. The cut to matchplay was +21.

In my first match, I faced Aumi Guerra from the Dominican Republic. Interesting history between Aumi and I...the year I won the Queens in 2011, I also faced Aumi in the first round of match play. I was down 80 pins going into the last game and shot 290 to come back and win the match and then went on to win the entire tournament.

This year, I started the match shooting only 203 using my Track Mako to her 212. Being down 9 pins, I switched to my Oath, but again lost more ground the second game shooting 211 to her 237. I was down 35 pins going into the final game. I stuck with my Oath and started stringing strikes. It came down to the 10th frame. I needed to throw the first strike in the 10th to win the match. I threw it well and struck and ended up shooting 237 to her 186 for a 651-635 victory.

My next match, I faced collegiate standout and Team USA Member Stephanie Schwartz and we bowled on the burn. I used my Oath and shot a clean 215 to her 224. I then shot a clean 219 to her 197. I was down 13 pins going into the last game. Unfortunately, my look started going away and her look got significantly better. She started stringing strikes and it was all she wrote, as she went on to shoot 255 to my 187 for a 676 victory over my 621, sending me into the contenders bracket.

Being put in the contender's bracket in the 1st or 2nd round is pretty detrimental. You have to bowl a ton of matches to get to the TV show since bowlers keep getting thrown into the contenders bracket from the winners bracket each round. It's also win or go home, as once you loose in the contenders bracket, you are out of the tournament.

I had to bowl my first match in the contenders bracket that evening. I faced Hall of Famer Leanne Hulsenburg on the burn. I knew I was going to have to bowl well, not only because it was Leanne, but also because she was most likely going to be able to open up the lanes, since they were not re-oiled and create a better shot than I could. I started off shooting a clean 213 using my Oath to her 203. The next game, I made a gutsy move and decided to stay right and throw it firm, balling down to my Game Breaker 2 Phenom Pearl and shot a clean 215 to her 243.  I was down 18 pins going into the last game and ended up stringing strikes for a clean 244. The match came down to the 10th frame and I managed to win 672 to 661.

The next morning, I faced collegiate player Jessica Mellott. I sanded my Columbia 300 Impulse Solid and shot a clean 245 to her 194. I stuck with the same ball throughout and shot 222 to her 206. She then started stringing strikes the last game, but luckily I also continued striking shooting 233 to her 256 for a 700-656 win.

My next match, we again bowled on the burn and I faced newly wed and Team USA Teammate Josie Earnest-Barnes. I knew this match would be very tough as Josie was 3rd after qualifying and we were the top 2 highest seeded players still alive in the tournament.

I was able to start off with my Impulse Solid and shot 245 to her 249. The second game, I switched to  a pin down Columbia 300 Tyrant, swinging it a little with a little slower ball speed on the left lane and stayed with a more direct line, harder to the right with my Impulse Solid on the right lane. I managed to shoot 245 to her 236. I was up 5 pins going into the final game. The match came down to the 9th and 10th frame. I needed to strike in both the 9th and first shot in the 10th to lock her out. I threw both shots well, striking and ended up winning the match 716-690.

In my next match, I faced Clara Guerrero. I started with my Ebonite Game Breaker 2 Phenom, but quickly switched back to my Impulse Solid and shot 224 to Clara's 247. The next game, I shot a clean 247 to her 202. I was up 22 pins going into the last game and continued striking to shoot another clean 247 to her 194 for a 718 win over her 643.

In my next match, I faced another heavy hitter - Danielle McEwan. Throughout the match, I used my Columbia 300 Impulse Solid and shot 224 to her 225. The next game, I shot 201 to her 208. I was down 8 pins going into the final game. Danielle and I were both striking and it came down to the 8th, 9th and 10th frame. I needed to strike in the 8th, 9th, first shot in the 10th and get good count my 2nd shot in the 10th to lock her out. Those shots were some of the best I've thrown under pressure, as I pured each one off my hand. I ended up shooting 268 to her 224 to win 693-657. Check out my twitter account to see the last shots of that match @missyparkin

In my next match, I faced Singaporean lefty Cherie Tan. I didn't throw the ball very well in the first game and was having some troubles on the right lane. I only shot 167 to her 189. In the next match, I shot 211 to her 215. I was down 26 pins going into the final game. I started stringing strikes but a stubborn 10 pin and 9 pin in between strikes ended my winning streak. I shot 225 to her 245 to lose 603 to 649.

I ended up in 7th place overall for the tournament. If I had won that match, I would have made it to the contenders elimination match, where 4 bowlers bowl 3 games against each other and the top 3 players advance to the TV show. 

Hopefully everyone was able to watch the USBC Queens on CBS Sports Network. Congratulations to  Team C300 teammate Diana Zavjalova on winning her 2nd Queens title!

Now time for a little rest on this holiday weekend before heading out to our next stop in Wichita, Kansas. Until then!

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