Kulick (above), a six-time major champion and the event’s top seed, defeated rookie of the year candidate Verity Crawley of England, 224-218, in the title match. The stepladder finals aired nationally on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday.
The moment was almost more of the same for Kulick as she traded strings of strikes with Crawley late in the championship match, and had a chance to shut out Crawley in the final frame. But Kulick spared in the 10th, followed with a strike on the final offering, to leave Crawley with the opportunity to win her first career title.
Amidst personal and physical trials during the last two seasons, Kulick still was able to put herself in position for a title but had been unable to find the winner’s circle. She battled an ankle injury during the second half of last season, and endured the death of her mother, too.
Words simply couldn’t describe the feeling for Kulick after climbing a mountain to what was such an elusive victory.
“I give myself credit for making so many shows and being one of the consistent players out here on tour. Everyone looks at wins, and even though I didn’t win, I still considered myself a winner because I know what it takes to win.
“I grinded out today, didn’t make quality shots but I left makeable spares. It was a win for myself and it was a win for my family because of the emotional things we’ve been going through and having to deal with life itself. So, it was a win for the Kulick family today.”
Crawley, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the title match when she struck seven consecutive times en route to defeating No. 3 seed and reigning back-to-back PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson (right) of Deerfield, Illinois, 241-211. Johnson was looking for consecutive titles after winning the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open.
All qualifying and match-play rounds of the PWBA Fountain Valley Open were held at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, California, on May 12-13.
The stepladder finals were held May 23 at the Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in conjunction with the United States Bowling Congress Queens and the finals of the QubicaAMF PWBA Sonoma County Open and PWBA Storm Sacramento Open.
For more information on the PWBA, click here.
Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, Calif., USA (May 11-13, 2017)
1. Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 224 (1 game), $10,000
2. Verity Crawley, England, 459 (2 games), $5,000
3. Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 486 (2 games), $3,500
4. Cherie Tan, Singapore, 258 (1 game), $3,000
L-R Kelly Kulick, Verity Crawley, Liz Johnson and Cherie Tan.
First Match: No. 3 Johnson vs. No. 4 Tan, 275-258
Second Match: No. 2 Verity Crawley def. Johnson, 241-211
Championship: No. 1 Kulick def. Crawley, 224-218.