Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship

This past week, I traveled to Green Bay, WI for the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship held at Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley. I was happy to be able to bring my hubby along and show him a little bit of the area.

We arrived late on Tuesday night. Having most of the day Wednesday prior to the practice session, I took Drew to Titletown Brew Pub, which is one of the most popular brew pubs in the country. Built inside of an old train depot, the decor is fabulous, food is amazing, and I highly recommend the home-brewed sno cap root beer.

After lunch, we ventured to Bay Beach and stopped by the amusement park and took a stroll along the bay. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get in a tour of Lambeau Field.

We then had our practice session, followed by a unique pro-am event, in which we did cosmic bowling. That was a first for me! I had so much fun bowling, especially with my friends from the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.

This week, the oil pattern wasn't posted for the event. The format for this week was also slightly different. We bowled three 6-game blocks of qualifying. The field was then cut to the top 16 for round robin match play, with the winner of each match earning 30 bonus pins. After all 32 games, the top 4 would make the LIVE TV show.

The next morning, we started our first 6 games of qualifying. I struggled game 1, shooting 154. I then switched to my New Hammer Diesel and shot 209. The lanes broke down quickly and I then switched to a newly drilled pin down Hammer Scandal Pearl and shot 192, 194, 205 and 196 for -50, which put me in 43rd place overall. Unfortunately my carry percentage wasn't great, so it was hard for me to make up for the bad start.

The next round, I started with my Hammer Diesel and shot 198. I then switched to my Scandal Pearl for a 176 and 199. I struggled game 4 to find a line and shot 169. I then switched to a pin down Phenom Pearl and shot 179 and 210 for -119 overall, which dropped me down to 44th place. Definitely a frustrating day, but at least I was able to end it o a positive note.

The next morning, I knew I needed to execute and shoot a big block just to cash, let alone have an outside chase of making the top 18 cut. Going into the final block of qualifying, the current cut to the top 18, was +32. I started off on the high end of the bowling center and used my Hammer Diesel to shoot 246 game 1. I then had to make the turn to the low end of the bowling center and shot 206 and 204. I followed it up with a 247 game. 

My scores put me close to the top 18 cut, needing two good games to finish off the block. The lanes started to transition and I switched to my Phenom Pearl and shot 185 leaving a stone 8 pin my second shot in the 10th, which cost me a double and 10 extra pins. 

My last game, I bowled really well, but didn't carry enough shooting 210 for +98 for the block. This put me at -21 overall. I ended up coming in 24th, cashing in the tournament, but missing the cut to the top 18 by 25 pins.

This week was a great lesson in never giving up. I was 151 pins out of making the cut and 58 pins away from cashing when the day started. With some great execution and confidence in my ability, I was able to pull everything together and make a great comeback. I am very proud of that.

HUGE thank you to Dave and Matt, amazing proprietors from Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley and Joel from the GGCVB for all of their hard work and gracious hospitality during the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship! It's always a pleasure to visit Green Bay!

This week also marks the last stop for my Malaysian friends. Very sad to see them go, especially my old roomie Shalin Zulkifli. 

Time to head home for a few days, rest and relax and then it's on to Orlando! #PWBA  

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open

This past week, I travelled to Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska for the Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open.

This week, we competed on a demanding 36' pattern. There were 78 bowlers at this event with a max of 80. 

Even though we were bowling on a short pattern, the extreme outside part of the lane was out of bounds/unplayable. That's what also added to the difficulty of this pattern, as that is usually the part of the lane you should be playing on such short patterns. 

I decided to play it safer, keeping the ball controlled and used my Black Hammer Urethane with 500 grit playing straight up 9 board to start and shot games of 200, 245 and 168. I then began lofting my Urethane ball to get it cleaner through the heads and shot 223 and 197 before switching to my Columbia 300 Eruption Pro Orange for 184. This put me at +17 overall and in 13th position, only missing one makeable spare  (a washout.)

After a short break, we came back to bowl the 2nd block of qualifying. I again started with my Urethane ball shooting 202. Unfortunately, many played the lanes further inside to start, making the pattern change faster and get ugly pretty quick. I really struggled the remainder of the block shooting 159, 184, 199, 178 and 170 for -91 total. This squeaked me into the Casher's Round ending up in 29th place. It took - 114 to make the cut to the top 32.

Needing a big block in the Casher's Round, I decided to go with a different strategy. I used my New Hammer Diesel and opened up my angles quite a bit, getting the ball quickly to the right, allowing the ball to roll off the dry. I must admit this is definitely not my A game, as I prefer a straighter angle to the pocket. 

The strategy seemed to work as I shot 206 and 232 to start. However, the lanes transitioned and I couldn't quite figure them out after that. I ended up shooting 171, 193, 145 and 192 for -152 overall, which kept me in 29th position for the tournament. 

Although I definitely would have liked to bowl better, I am still happy with cashing considering I haven't cashed at this event the prior 2 years. 

Thank you to the 2017 BPAA Proprietor of the Year John Losito and the entire staff of Sun Valley Lanes for the gracious hospitality! It has been a pleasure bowling here the first 3 seasons. 

Congratulations to Li Jane Sin from Malaysia, Thashaina Seraus from Aruba and Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson for making the TV show.

Be sure to tune in to CBS Sports Network on Tuesday nights at 8 pm EST to watch the stepladder finals of this season's events.

Time for a quick trip home before heading to our next PWBA Tour Stop in Detroit, Michigan. And....last but not least...

Here's a little secret that I can finally let all of you in on....Baby Parkin will be arriving in December 2017. Drew and I are ecstatic! And YES, I will be bowling the entire 2017 PWBA Tour Season. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

The PWBA Wichita Open

This past week, I travelled to NorthRock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas for the Midwest segment of the PWBA Tour. 

Having just missed the cut at this event the past two seasons, I was determined to change things this time around.

I flew out early Thursday morning and made it in time for the Thursday afternoon practice session. I also bowled in the pro-am that evening with a great group of junior and adult bowlers. 

Prior to the start of the pro-am, we had a little silly competition amongst the pros. Every pro had to go up to the foul line with a ball in their hand. We had no idea what was going on. We then were asked to face the audience and throw the ball granny style between our legs, backwards. Well seeing as I have actually never done this before, I was concerned at knocking down any pins at all. 

We all threw the ball at the same time, highest pin fall remained. I actually knocked down 9 pins to my surprise. There were 3 or 4 people left. So we went again. I knocked down 6 pins and tied with one other bowler for the highest pinfall. We both then threw it in the gutter and needed to go again for the tie breaker. I again knocked down 9 pins and won my pair free frozen custard! A great way to start the night! 

The next day, we bowled our qualifying squads. For those that haven't actually attended one of our tour events, I'd like to give you a little more insight into our daily schedule for each standard event week.

There's an optional morning practice session from 9-10am on Fridays. I opted to get extra sleep and skip it this week. We then bowl 6 games of qualifying starting at noon, so a late breakfast/early lunch is what we eat beforehand. 

As in many weeks, we had another awesome turnout - 101 bowlers, so there were 4 and some 5 pros on a pair. This makes for LONG qualifying blocks. We got done bowling around 4pm, which gives you about an hour for a quick late lunch/early dinner (and that's if you're not drilling a bowling ball in between squads, which takes more time since we have to work out all of our own equipment.) 

We then bowl another 6-game qualifying block at 6pm, which usually gets done around 10pm. By the time we get done, I might have a quick snack, if at all and then it's off to sleep. Then if you make the cut to the top 32, it's a very quick turnaround as we have to bowl at 8:30am the next morning. 

That next morning, it's another 6 games of the Casher's Round before cutting to the top 12 for matchplay. Then another 6 games of matchplay, followed by the stepladder finals. So all of this makes for a lot of bowling in a very short amount of time. Just a little more in depth look into our lives every weekend. 

This week, we bowled on a rather interesting/difficult 42' pattern using ice oil. 

I started off using a lot of surface (360 grit) on my Track Heat Xtreme, playing far to the right, pointing the ball. I shot games of 215 and 204. I then switched to my Track Mako and shot 182, 210 and 225. Unfortunately, the last game I struggled only shooting 159 for -5 overall, which put me in 21st place. 

The next block, they did not re-oil the lanes so we bowled on the burn. I completely changed strategies and jumped deep inside using my Columbia 300 Tyrant and shot 237 and 201. I then struggled again leaving a couple of pocket splits and shot 159. I brought it back with a 227, 182 and 221 for +22 total, which moved me into 16th place overall. The cut to the top 32 was -31. 

The next morning, I needed a good block to jump into the top 12. I was only 33 pins back when the day started. I again started off using my Track Heat Xtreme with surface and played right and shot 223. Unfortunately, when I moved to the next pair, I struggled to get lined up and started off with 3 splits and opens in a row. I ended up striking out in the 10th for 156. I then switched to my Track Mako shooting a clean 194. 

Not having a great reaction, I decided to jump inside and shot 186, 211 and 205. I didn't throw the ball stellar in the Casher's Round and with the demanding conditions, that wasn't going to make the cut. I ended up -3 overall which put me in 20th place in the tournament. It took +60 to make the cut to match play. 

Even though I would have liked to do better, I'm still happy with the fact that I bowled better at this event than the previous years. 

Thank you to Kathy Desocio and the staff of NorthRock Lanes for their continued support of women's bowling! 

Congratulations to Malaysians Siti Rahman and Li Jane Sin as well as Colombian Juliana Franco and Liz Johnson for making the TV show! On to Lincoln!