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Shannon Pluhowsky top seed for PWBA Las Vegas Open

Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, rolled through round-robin match play Sunday to capture the No. 1 seed for the stepladder finals of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Las Vegas Open.

The stepladder finals of the PWBA Las Vegas Open, the opening event of the 2016 season, will be taped May 26 at The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas and will air Tuesday, June 7 on CBS Sports Network.

L-R Pluhowsky, Gongora, Johnson and Restrepo.

Pluhowsky went 5-1 in match play and averaged nearly 250 in her final three games at Texas Station to run away from the field with a 5,551 total, including bonus pins.

“We’ve been bowling on all of these pairs for a few days, so when I went to a new pair I tried to just make a good shot and make the move right away,” said Pluhowsky, a 16-time Team USA member who is looking for her first PWBA title.

“This performance gives me a lot of confidence going forward. Having to win one game is a lot better than having to climb the ladder, so we’ll take our chances.”

Mexico’s Sandra Gongora earned the No. 2 seed after firing a 275 game in the position round against reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York, to edge her by six pins with 5,453, including bonus pins.

The opening match of the stepladder finals will feature Johnson taking on Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio, after each advanced through their group stepladders.

Johnson earned her spot on the CBS Sports Network telecast by defeating PWBA spokesperson Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 215-205. Kulick had the opportunity to throw three strikes in the 10th frame to shut out Johnson, but left the 2-4-8-10 split on her first shot and was unable to convert. Johnson advanced by covering the 10 pin and delivering a strike on her fill ball.

Restrepo, who led qualifying after the cashers’ round, took advantage of back-to-back splits from Singapore’s Hui Fen New by connecting on three consecutive strikes in frames six through eight to advance, 216-189.

The opening matches in the group stepladder saw Kulick best Singapore’s Jazreel Tan, 239-193, to set up the meeting with Johnson. New advanced by defeating Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, 268-225.

Sunday’s competition kicked off with a six-game block that narrowed the field from the 32 cashers to the top 12 players for round-robin match play. The match-play finalists were split into two groups, each featuring six players. Each group bowled six games of match play, including a final position round, to determine the top seeds and advancers to each group stepladder final.

Every round of competition leading to the stepladder final was broadcast live on Xtra Frame.

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PWBA Las Vegas Open – Cashers’ Round

Players with position, hometown and 18-game total; top 12 advance

1, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 4,123
2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 4,076
3, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 4,029
4, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3,995
5, Hui Fen New, Singapore, 3,932
6, Jazreel Tan, Singapore, 3,920
7, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 3,896
8, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,888
9, Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, 3,849
10, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 3,830
11, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 3,828
12, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 3,820

Missed Cut:
(13th earns $1,300; 14-32 earn $1,200)
13, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 3,818
14, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 3,817
15, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 3,811
16, Cherie Tan, Singapore, 3,802
17, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 3,786
18, Kristina Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 3,781
19, T’Nia Falbo, Greensburg, Pa., 3,776
20, Kristina Wendell, Kingston, N.Y., 3,762
21, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,757
22, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,754
23, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 3,738
24, Karen Marcano, Venezuela, 3,736
25, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 3,723
26, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 3,714
27, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 3,677
28, Mariana Ayala, Grand Prairie, Texas, 3,653
29, Leanne Hulsenberg, Pleasant View, Utah, 3,651
30, Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 3,650
31, Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., 3,632
32, Elysia Current, Ephrata, Pa., 3,621

PWBA Las Vegas Open – Match Play Results

Players with position, hometown, match play record and 24-game total

Group A
1, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 5-1, 5,551
(earns No. 1 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall)
2, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 1-5, 5,297 (advanced)
3, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 5-1, 5,287 (advanced)
4, Hui Fen New, Singapore, 2-4, 5,261 (advanced)
5, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 4-2, 5,204 (eliminated; earns $1,600)
6, Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, 1-5, 5,088 (eliminated; earns $1,600)

Group A Stepladder
Semifinal: New def. Dorin-Ballard, 268-225
(Dorin-Ballard finishes tied for seventh; earns $1,900)
Final: Restrepo def. New, 216-189
(Restrepo earns No. 4 seed for stepladder based on average; New finishes tied for fifth; earns $2,100).

Group B Stepladder
1, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3-3, 5,453
(earns No. 2 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall)
2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2-4, 5,447 (advanced)
3, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 4-2, 5,339 (advanced)
4, Jazreel Tan, Singapore, 3-3, 5,299 (advanced)
5, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 4-2, 5,275 (eliminated; earns $1,600)
6, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 2-4, 5,118 (eliminated; earns $1,600)

Group B Stepladder
Semifinal: Kulick def. Tan, 239-193
(Tan finishes tied for seventh; earns $1,900)
Final: L. Johnson def. Kulick, 215-205
(L. Johnson earns No. 3 seed for stepladder based on average; Kulick finishes tied for fifth; earns $2,100).

Televised Stepladder Finals

(Will be taped May 26; will air June 7 on CBS Sports Network)

First Match: No. 3 L. Johnson vs. No. 4 Restrepo
Second Match: No. 2 Gongora vs. Match No. 1 winner
Championship: No. 1 Pluhowsky vs. Match No. 2 winner

Author: Herbert Bickel
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