If you didn’t happen to catch the finals of the US Open, you missed quite a show. Not only did the men and women compete on the same lanes throughout the tournament, but the men’s and women’s champions faced off in a Battle of the Sexes to determine one ultimate champion.
In the first women’s match; which didn’t make TV; reigning USBC Queens champion Diandra Asbaty fell to reigning Team USA Trials champion Danielle McEwan 192-171. McEwan advanced to face two-time Women’s US Open champion Liz Johnson.
On the men’s side, the first match was Team USA member and collegiate standout Marshall Kent against PBA champion Wes Malott. Kent left a bucket (2-4-5-8 combination) and missed the spare to allow Malott to win with a mark in the 10th frame 200-193. Malott advanced to face five-time men’s US Open winner Pete Weber.
The men’s and women’s semifinal matches; Malott versus Weber and McEwan versus Johnson; were contested live on TV as both matches were conducted simultaneously. Johnson topped her Team USA teammate McEwan 227-202 while Malott rolled a 279 to best Weber’s 182 and setup a Master’s rematch against Jason Belmonte. Johnson advanced to face top seed Kelly Kulick. Kulick has been the top seed at three consecutive Women’s US Opens.
In the finals, Malott took advantage of Belmonte’s early struggles to best the Master’s champion 214-156. It was the first major title for Malott who has just come back from recent knee surgery. In the women’s finals, Johnson threw six consecutive strikes to easily best defending champion Kulick 257-195.
In the final TV match, Johnson and Malott faced off in the Battle of the Sexes round to determine the ultimate champion. Johnson, who faced Malott on TV previously in a PBA tournament, rolled a 194 to best Malott’s 188 earning herself an extra $10,000.
All eight bowlers in the stepladder finals are members of the Storm or Roto Grip staffs. While it would have been nice to see the first stepladder matches, the overall show was worth the watch.