Kelly Kulick of Union, NJ, wrapped up a dominating performance in qualifying for the 2011 Bowling’s U.S. Women’s Open, going 6-2 in the final round of Wednesday’s match play, to claim the top seed for Thursday’s finals at Cowboys Stadium.
Kulick had a 48-game total of 11,945, including 30 bonus pins for each victory, to lead the final 16 bowlers in the field at AMF Euless Lanes. Leanne Hulsenberg of Roseville, CA, finished 276 pins back at 11,669.
Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., took the third seed while Shannon O’Keefe of Arlington, Texas, climbed from sixth after Tuesday’s match play to take the fourth seed. Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, took the final spot.
“New venue, new place, different atmosphere,” Kulick said about the finals at Cowboys Stadium. “But knowing as well as I’ve performed all week long, I’m going to take that and build up my confidence to go and bowl only one game tomorrow night and be the best game of my career.”
Kulick, who won the 2003 and 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, also has the chance to defend her title.
“I’ve never defended,” Kulick said. “This is the first opportunity for me to do so, and I would love to walk away having defended my U.S. Open title.”
Hulsenberg won 26 Professional Women’s Bowling Association titles and has made more than 100 TV appearances in her career, but said this is the first time her husband, Gary, has had the chance to see her bowl this well.
“I’m a little overwhelmed,” said Hulsenberg. “It’s been a long time since I’ve made a TV show.”
The U.S. Women’s Open finals will be broadcast on Saturday, July 2 at 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. If a bowler throws a 300 game in the championship match, she will win $1 million. The champion will earn $50,000.
The 2011 U.S. Women’s Open already has broken one record with 286 participants, which tops the previous record of 267 set in 2003. A total of 17 countries are represented in the field.
For more information Bowling’s U.S. Women’s Open, visit bowlingsuswomensopen.com. For complete coverage of the event, including stories and videos, visit BOWL.com.
2011 BOWLING'S U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
At AMF Euless Lanes, Euless, Texas
(48 games; Pos., name, hometown, match-play record, total)
1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 12-4-0, 11,945.
2, Leanne Hulsenberg, Roseville, Calif., 13-3-0, 11,669.
3, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 9-7-0, 11,554.
4, Shannon O'Keefe, Arlington, Texas, 9-7-0, 11,446.
5, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 8-8-0, 11,282.
6, Shannon Pluhowsky, Kettering, Ohio, 5-11-0, 11,204.
7, Rachel Perez, Maumelle, Ark., 10-6-0, 11,185.
8, Kim Terrell-Kearney, Grand Prairie, Texas, 9-7-0, 11,151.
9, Tennelle Milligan, Arlington, Texas, 8-7-1, 11,096.
10, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 4-12-0, 11,041.
11, Lisanne Breeschoten, Netherlands, 6-10-0, 11,019.
12, Stefanie Nation, Grand Prairie, Texas, 6-10-0, 11,016.
13, Helen Johnsson, Sweden, 8-7-1, 10,979.
14, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 7-9-0, 10,945.
15, Kristal Wilson, Lawrence, Kan., 7-9-0, 10,894.
16, Mai Ginge Jensen, Denmark, 6-10-0, 10,845.