Kelly Kulick making impressive showing as only woman in PBA Tournament of Champions


    2009-10 PBA Tour #10

    Rhino Page maintains pole position as field is cut to top 24

    200910PBA06KellyKulick2.jpgAveraging 229 after three rounds of qualifying Thursday, Kelly Kulick (pictured left) of Union, N.J., is making her presence felt as the only woman competing in the 45th Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Lanes.

    Kulick, who became the first woman ever to earn a berth in the Tournament of Champions by winning the PBA Women's World Championship earlier this season, is currently in a tie for fourth place with a 5,496 24-game pinfall and now heads into the match play portion of the tournament which begins later this afternoon.

    The 32 year-old Kulick originally made Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour history in 2006 when she became the first woman to earn an exemption to compete on the Tour. Her best finish during the 2006-2007 season was 22nd.

    200910PBAWSKellyKulick.jpg"I drew on a lot of experience from that season for this tournament," Kulick said. "So far I've been able to find an area of the lane to play where most of the guys either aren't or can't play. I'm getting good ball reaction and my carry percentage is high."

    Kulick (right) is not a stranger to doing well in majors. In women's professional competition she 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.

    "I think my experience in major competitions has helped too," she said. "There can be more pressure associated with those events and I've been able to handle that pressure pretty well. But, I'm not taking anything for granted. There's still a long way to go and things can change quickly in match play."

    200910PBARhinoPage.jpgThree-time PBA Tour titlist Rhino Page (left) of Wesley Chapel, Fla., who finished second in last season's Tournament of Champions, maintained his position as tournament leader with a 5,580 pinfall and averaging 232.5 for 24 games. Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y. regained second place with 5,540.

    Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., who posted the tournament high 1965 series in round 3 (242.63 avg.), leaped from 11th to third place with 5,529 pinfall total.

    Tied for fourth with Kulick is PBA Hall of Famer and 1987 Tournament of Champions winner Pete Weber. Weber, tied for third all-time with 34 PBA Tour wins, is trying for his ninth major title. He is currently tied for second with Mike Aulby in career majors with eight. Earl Anthony is the all-time leader with 10 major titles.

    200910PBAWalterRayWilliams.jpgAmong those in the top 24 advancing to this afternoon's first match play round is Hall of Famer and all-time PBA Tour win leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. (46, right) in 18th, who needs a Tournament of Champions win to complete PBA's Triple Crown, Grand Slam and Super Slam.

    Other past champions advancing to match play are Jason Couch (1999, 2000, 2002) who is trying to become the first four-time Tournament of Champions winner in 15th; two-time winner Mark Williams (1985, 1988) in 11th; Chris Barnes (2006) in seventh; Bryan Goebel (1998) in 13th and Wayne Webb (1980) in 17th.

    The field has been cut to the top 24 players who will compete in an eight-game match play round this evening and two more eight-game rounds on Friday. After Friday's match play, the top four will be determined for the finals which will be televised at 1 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.


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    The top 24 advance to match play. Places 25-63 show earnings.