Monday, January 25, 2010

Kulick Tops Barnes For Historic Tournament Win

Sports history was made Sunday when Kelly Kulick of Union, NJ,  won the 45th
Professional Bowlers Association Tournament
of Champions at Red Rock Lanes becoming the
first woman to win a Lumber
Liquidators PBA Tour tournament.

She defeated 2007-08 PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes 265-195 in the championship match to
win a $40,000 first prize in PBA’s signature event, plus a
two-year exemption on the PBA Tour.

“It’s been a dream of mine to win a PBA Tour event but I couldn’t have imagined
it would have come
in the Tournament of Champions,” said the 32-year-old
right-hander. “It may have looked easy but
my legs were like jelly—it got to a
point where I couldn’t feel them. Believe me, I was nervous and I
was just
letting adrenalin take over.”

The previous high finish for a woman in a PBA Tour event was second by Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga,
NY, in the 2005 Banquet Open.

In 2006, Kulick became the first woman to earn an exemption on the PBA Tour by
finishing sixth in
the PBA Tour Trials. Her best finish in the 2006-07 season
was 22nd which she accomplished twice.

Kulick recognized the potential impact her victory will have for the future of
the sport.

“I believe this can only mean bigger and better things for the sport,” she said.
“If in any way this can
be a boost for women's sports and bowling, I’m willing
to do my part.

“I feel like I’m on a magic carpet ride right now and I want to keep riding it
higher and higher.”

In the championship match Kulick started with four consecutive strikes, then had
an open frame when
she left the 7-10 split in the fifth frame. She then went on
to fire the next six strikes and a nine-count
on the final ball to close the

Barnes was hoping for his second Tournament of Champions win having previously
won it in 2006.

“When it comes down to one game, a combination of factors have to come together
and they just
didn’t for me,” Barnes said, “but Kelly bowled great and she met
every challenge.”

In women’s professional competition, Kulick won the 2007 United States Bowling
Congress Queens
and the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open in addition to winning the PBA
Women’s World Championship in

"Kelly Kulick's win Sunday at the PBA Tour's Tournament of Champions is not only
historic, it
serves as a motivational and inspirational event for girls and
women competing at all levels all around
the world," said Women's Sports
Foundation founder Billie Jean King.

"Kelly had a great week, defeating several
of the top-ranked men's bowlers in the world, and hopefully
she can truly enjoy
the moment and appreciate how it is not only a big deal in bowling, but a major
moment in her life and potentially the lives of others."

In the semifinal match, Kulick defeated eight-time Tour champion Mika Koivuniemi 227-223 to advance
to the final match against Barnes.

In the opening match, Koivuniemi defeated three-time titlist Rhino Page,

Kulick earned a berth in the Tournament of Champions, by winning the PBA Women’s
last September, the first PBA women’s major tournament.

Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, NV
Jan. 24, 2010

Final Standings
1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J. 492 (two games) $40,000
2, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas 195 (one game) $20,000
3, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich. 478 (two games) $10,000
4, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla. 215 (one game) $7,000

Stepladder Results
Match One – Koivuniemi def. Page, 255-215
Semifinal Match – Kulick def. Koivuniemi, 227-223
Championship – Kulick def. Barnes, 265-195

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