Kawaguchi, Matsunaga conclude 2011 JPBA Ladies Tour atop the major statistical categories


    2011 JPBA Ladies Tour #10 and #11

    Tomie Kawaguchi wins Prince Cup; Hiromi Matsunaga claims last major title in Handa Cup

    2011JPBALT10TomieKawaguchi4.jpg2011JPBALT11HiromiMatsunaga3.jpgTomie Kawaguchi and Hiromi Matsunaga closed out the 2011 Japan Professional Bowlers Association Ladies Tour with victories in the JLBC Prince Cup and the third and last "major" of the season, the 43rd All Japan Pro Bowler Championships a.k.a. Handa Cup.

    Kawaguchi (pictured left), who claimed the first "major" title and the richest pay check (4 million Yen or approx. US$51,100) of the season in the Ladies Round 1 Cup 2011 in October, came from behind to capture her second title this season in the JLBC Queens Open Prince Cup.

    Matsunaga (right) missed a 300 game on live TV by just one pin when she defeated Ayumi Kobayashi, 299-242, to win the 43rd All Japan Pro Bowler Championships.

    It was the third title of the season for Matsunaga, who led the 2011 JPBA Ladies Tour in two of the three major categories. Matsunaga led second-place Kawaguchi in the point ranking by more than 1.100 points with 4748 point total. She outaveraged Urara Himeji by six pins to win the average award with 220.08. Kawaguchi captured the third crown by leading in earnings with ¥7.621.000 or approx. $98,000.

    2011JPBALT10TomieKawaguchi.jpg2011JPBALT10HiromiSusumu.jpgThe JLBC Queens Open Prince Cup was the tenth and penultimate tournament of the 2011 season offering total prize fund of 6.5 Million Yen or approx. US$83,700. The tournament which was held from Dec. 8-11 at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Bowling Center in Tokyo drew 328 women - 153 pro bowlers and 175 amateurs.

    After 8 games of qualifying the field was cut to 96 players - 48 pros and 48 amateurs - for the single elimination finals with the two-game total determining the winners until the field was trimmed to the top 4 for the semifinals. The semis and the championship match were decided in one game.

    Kawaguchi (left), seeded fourth, stunned tournament leader Mami Hasegawa, 238-203, while No. 2 seed, Hiromi Susumu (right), edged No. 3 Hisano Igarashi, 213-204, to advance to the title match. Kawaguchi carried the momentum into the title match and defeated Susumu, 235-187, to win the ¥1.600.000 top prize (approx. $20,600).

    It was second win in the Prince Cup (first title came in 2003) and the second title of the 2011 season for Kawaguchi, who also finished second in the Japan Open. It was also the sixth career victory for Kawaguchi.

    2011JPBALT11HisanoIgarashi.jpg2011JPBALT11YachiyoKato.jpgOnly the top 72 pros in the JPBA Ladies Ranking were eligible to bowl in the 43rd All Japan Pro Bowler Championships also known as Handa Cup, which was contested at Tokyo Dome Bowling Center from Dec. 15-17.

    The top four players after 21 games of qualifying, six games quarterfinals and nine games semifinals advanced to live TV stepladder finals. The top seed (Hiromi Matsunaga) must be defeated twice to win the title.

    In the opening match, third-seeded Hisano Igarashi (left) eliminated the No. 4, Yachiyo Kato (right), 203-192, to bowl second-seeded Ayumi Kobayashi in the semifinal. In a high-scoring strike fest, Kobayashi escaped with a 278-268 win.

    2011JPBALT11AyumiKobayashi.jpg2011JPBALT11HiromiMatsunaga.jpgKobayashi (left) carried the momentum in the title match defeating Matsunaga (right) easily, 259-193, to force a deciding second game. Right-handed Matsunaga started with the front eleven to put the match away well before the final frame.

    She left a 7-pin standing on the fill ball for a 299-242 victory worth ¥2.000.000 (approx. $25,700). With the 300-game bonus Matsunaga would have become a Triple Crown winner as the leader of the three major statistical categories.

    Matsunaga, who has won three of her seven career titles this season, finished in the top 10 in seven of the 2011 Tour's eleven events and cashed in all but one. She finished first in the point ranking with 4.748 points, first in averages with 220,88 and second in earnings with ¥6.775.000 (approx. $87,000).

    Japan is still reeling from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 and the nuclear crisis and huge leaks of radiation it set off. Of course this also affected the 2011 JPBA Ladies Tour and many tournaments were postponed or cancelled. The JPBA would like to thank everyone for the support throughout the year.

    Courtesy of Junia Yoshida of Japan Bowling Promotion. Photos and results courtesy of JPBA.


    JLBC Queens Open Prince Cup

    Total Prize Fund: 6.5 Million Yen (approx. US$83,700)

    2011JPBALT10TomieKawaguchi2.jpgFinal Standings - Top 8 with earnings (Japanese Yen)
    1. Tomie Kawaguchi (right), ¥1.600.000
    2. Hiromi Susumu, ¥1.000.000
    3. Hisano Igarashi, ¥540.000
    4. Mami Hasegawa, ¥500.000
    5. Yuko Nakatani, ¥290.000
    6. Aino Kinjyo, ¥260.000
    7. Chie Oota (Best Amateur)
    8. Mariko Sakurai (Amateur)

    Playoff Results:
    Semifinal Match 1: No. 4 Kawaguchi def. No. 1 Hasegawa, 238-203
    Semifinal Match 2: No. 2 Susumu def. Igarashi, 213-204
    Championship: Kawaguchi def. Susumu, 235-187.


    43rd All Japan Pro Bowler Championships (Handa Cup)

    Total Prize Fund: 7 Million Yen (approx. US$89,900)

    2011JPBALT11HiromiMatsunaga2.jpgFinal Standings - Top 8 with earnings (Japanese Yen)
    1. Hiromi Matsunaga (right), ¥2.000.000
    2. Ayumi Kobayashi, ¥1.100.000
    3. Hisano Igarashi, ¥650.000
    4. Yachiyo Kato, ¥420.000
    5. Keiko Aiko, ¥380.000
    6. Tomie Kawaguchi, ¥250.000
    7. Urara Himeji, ¥220.000
    8. Ayano Katai, ¥200.000

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: No. 3 Igarashi def. No. 4 Kato, 203-192
    Semifinal Match: No. 2 Kobayashi def. Igarashi, 278-268
    Championship: Kobayashi def. No. 1 Matsunaga, 259-193
    and in the deciding game: Matsunaga def. Kobayashi, 299-242.


    2011 Ladies JPBA Tour Stats (Final Standings)

    Top 10 with Points, Earnings and Averages


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