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24th Malta Open Championships
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McEwan averaged more than 257 during match play to claim the No. 1 seed for the TV finals, which will be taped June 26 at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and air Tuesday, July 5 on CBS Sports Network.
McEwan opened match play with games of 279, 268 and 276 for an 823 series, the first 800 series rolled by a PWBA player since the re-launch of the tour in 2015. The 24-year-old right-hander followed with 276, 233 and 211 for a six-game total of 1,543.
McEwan, coming off a third-place finish at the United States Bowling Congress Queens, notched a 4-2 match-play record in the Group B standings for a 5,590 pinfall total, which included 30 pins for each victory.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done something like that,” said McEwan, who is a five-time Team USA member.
“I don’t really shoot high games or high series or have big sets like that. I’m more of a grinder who doesn’t give away pins, who will occasionally pop a big game. That’s usually my strength. I don’t even have words to describe what was going through my head because I was in such shock. I was just bowling.”
Saturday’s competition began with the 32 cashers bowling a six-game block to determine the top 12 players for round-robin match play.
While Cassandra Leuthold of Lincoln, Nebraska, had the high pinfall total during the final qualifying round Saturday morning with 1,357, McEwan fired a 753 set in her final three games to take the No. 12 seed.
“I definitely thought I was out of the tournament three or four times,” said McEwan, who won 2015 The Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship.
“The three qualifying blocks were the same for me because I went minus for the first three. Then, I went plus 100 or more during the back three. I had confidence in myself that I was going to figure it out and shoot a big last set. I went with a great ball suggestion that was perfect and I just went with it from there.”
The match-play finalists were split into two six-player groups. 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.
Colombia native Maria Jose Rodriguez (left) led Group A with a 5,480 pinfall total on the strength of a 4-2 match-play record to claim the No. 2 seed, and a guaranteed spot on the televised show.
Shannon Pluhowsky (right) of Dayton, Ohio, and Malaysia’s Syaidatul Afifah, advanced through the dual group stepladder finals as the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.
In the Group A stepladder, Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova defeated Amanda Greene of Romney, West Virginia, 246-224. In the final match, with her Team Malaysia teammates looking on, Afifah tossed 12 consecutive strikes for a 300 game to down Zavjalova, 300-209.
“I feel very satisfied with my game and all my hard work is paying off,” said Afifah (left). “It was hard, but I was able to keep repeating shots. I’m very satisfied and didn’t expect at all to be in the final.”
In the Group B stepladder, Sin Li Jane, a teammate of Afifah, defeated Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., 238-163. In the final match, Pluhowsky had her own run at perfection, starting with six consecutive strikes and rolled to a 276-228 win over Sin Li.
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R-L McEwan, Rodriguez, Pluhowsky and Afifah
Players with position, hometown and 18-game total; top 12 advance
1, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 4,128
2, Li Jane Sin, Malaysia, 4,105
3, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 4,091
4, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 4,051
5, Syaidatul Afifah, Malaysia, 4,024
6, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 4,012
7, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 3,971
8, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 3,969
9, Amanda Greene, Romney, W. Va., 3,960
10, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 3,955
11, Ingellimar Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,947
12, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 3,927
13, Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., 3,917, $1,300
14, Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, 3,913, $1,200
15, Leanne Hulsenberg, Pleasant View, Utah, 3,896, $1,200
(tie) Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3,896, $1,200
17, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,886, $1,200
18, Olivia Sandham (a), St. Joseph, Mo., 3,879, $1,200
19, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,878, $1,200
20, Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, 3,861, $1,200
21, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 3,860, $1,200
22, Clara Guerrero, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,847, $1,200
23, Bryanna Cote, Red Rock, Ariz., 3,826, $1,200
24, Jennifer Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, 3,810, $1,200
25, Kristina Rosberg, Ord, Neb., 3,809, $1,200
26, April Ellis, Wichita, Kan., 3,804, $1,200
27, Siti Rahman, Malaysia, 3,791, $1,200
28, Esther Cheah, Malaysia, 3,781, $1,200
29, Megan Kelly, Dayton, Ohio, 3,769, $1,200
30, Kristina Wendell, Kingston, N.Y., 3,749, $1,200
31, Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla., 3,696, $1,200
32, Gabriella Mayfield, Lake Isabella, Calif., 3,682, $1,200
Players with position, hometown, match play record and 24-game total, including bonus pins. The top qualifier in each group will earn an automatic spot in the stepladder finals, with seeding being determined by total pins. The second, third and fourth qualifiers in each group will advance to a group stepladder final.
1, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 4-2-0, 5,480
(earns No. 2 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall)
2, Syaidatul Afifah, Malaysia, 4-2-0, 5,447
3, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 4-2-0, 5,417
4, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 1-5-0, 5,407
5, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 3-3-0, 5,351
6, Ingellimar Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 2-4-0, 5,162
Group A Stepladder
Semifinal: Zavjalova def. Greene, 246-224
(Greene finishes tied for seventh, $1,900)
Final: Afifah def. Zavjalova, 300-209
(Afifah earns No. 4 seed for stepladder based on average; Zavjalova finishes tied for fifth, $2,100)
1, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 4-2-0, 5,590
(earns No. 1 seed for stepladder based on total pinfall)
2, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 5-1-0, 5,530
3, Sin Li Jane, Malaysia, 3-3-0, 5,427
4, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3-3-0, 5,370
5, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 2-4-0, 5,369
6, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 1-5-0, 5,3581
Group B Stepladder
Semifinal : Sin Li def. Kulick, 238-163
(Kulick finishes tied for seventh, $1,900)
Final: Pluhowsky def. Sin Li, 276-228
(Pluhowsky earns No. 3 seed for stepladder based on average; Sin finishes tied for fifth, $2,100)
Televised Stepladder Finals
(Will be taped June 26; will air July 5 on CBS Sports Network)
Match No. 1: Afifah vs. Pluhowsky
Match No. 2: Rodriguez vs. winner of Match 1
Championship: McEwan vs. winner of Match No. 2.
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