Kelly Kulick powers her way into the lead in U.S. Women's Open qualifying


    2011 U.S. Women's Open

    Defending champion averages 262 in third round to pace Squad C bowlers with 1120 over after 24 games; Dorin-Ballard; Blankenfeld achieve perfection




    2011USWOKellyKulick2.jpg2011USWOShannonPluhowsky.jpgDefending champion Kelly Kulick (pictured left) of Union, N.J. is in a familiar position in the U.S. Women's Open, sponsored by the Brands of Ebonite International, after the 98 bowlers of Squad C having completed their 24 games qualifying Monday morning at AMF Showplace Lanes in Euless, Texas.

    Kulick, who earned a two-year exemption on the PBA Tour by winning the PBA Tournament of Champions last year, averaged 262.50 for the day and powered her way into the lead. The right-hander had high games of 279, 278 and 277 and a low game of 238 in her 2100 eight-game series to bring her 24-game qualifying total to 5920, 1120 over based on a 200 average, and a tournament average of 246.67.

    Fellow Team USA member Shannon Pluhowsky (above right) of Kettering, Ohio, who led the field of originally 286 players after 16 games with an average of 242, maintained that average during the third block (1936) but slipped to second place with 5808.

    2011USWOHelenJohnsson.jpg2011USWONinaFlack.jpgTrailing Pluhowsky by 230 pins to sit in third place is Jodi Woessner with 5808 total. Woessner, who set a set scoring record on her way to the 2010 USBS Women's Championship Scratch Division All Events title, closed out her 1883 series with high games of 269 and 268.

    Tennelle Milligan was fourth with 5451 and was followed by Helen Johnsson (left) in fifth place with 5447. The World and European champion from Sweden is the best foreign bowler in Squad C behind series of 1787, 1812 and 1848.

    April Ellis, who was in fourth place after the first and second round, slipped to sixth place with 5431 total due to a 1637 series today. Junior Team USA member Elise Bolton was seventh with 5424 and was followed by another Swedish World and European champion, Nina Flack (right), who totaled 5400 including an 1813 series today.

    Ninth place belonged to Jan Schmidt with 5399 and rounding out the top 10 was USBC Queens winner Missy Parkin with 5389.

    2011USWOCarolynDorinBallard.jpgFormer PWBA super star Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (right) started the day with the 10th perfect game of the U.S. Open en route to a 1939 series today to jump into 12th place with 5353. Six games later Jovan Blankenfeld followed in CDB's footprints and posted the 11th perfecto en route to a 5007 total, good for 43rd place in Squad C.

    Squads A and B will complete their 24 games of qualifying later today after which the first cut will be made. The top 32 of the record 286-player field will advance to the next round while it's "cab day" for other 254 players.

    2011USWOLogo.jpg Qualifying runs from Saturday through Monday (eight-game blocks each) and is followed by the Rounds of 32 and 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The top five players will determine the champion in a stepladder final on June 30 to be staged on the biggest stage possible for their sport: the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and host of Super Bowl XLV.

    The show will be broadcast on ESPN2's "Best and the Brightest," Saturday, July 2 at 6 p.m. ET.

    The 2ß11 U.S. Women's Open will offer total prize fund of $200.000 based on 300 entries. The tournament winner will receive a $50,000 purse. The runner-up gets $25,000, third place is worth $15,000, the fourth-place finisher takes $12,500 while the fifth-place finisher garners $10,000. If a competitor in the championship match rolls a 300, she will win $1 million.

    BowlingdigitalBanner.gif Bowlingdigital will cover the Open live from Texas commencing on Sunday, June 26 all the way through to the arena finals on Thursday evening. will have live streaming of all rounds leading up to the ESPN2 televised finals,



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    Qualifying Round Three - Standings after 24 Games (Squad C only)

    300 Games (11) - Lisanne Breeschoten, Diandra Asbaty, Sara Vargas, Josie Earnest, Patricia De Faria. Michelle Feldman, Jodie Woessner, Jan Schmidt, Brittani Scruggs-Barb, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Jovan Blankenfeld.