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Siti Safiyah makes history with victory at PWBA Wichita Open


Siti Safiyah became the first Malaysian-born player to win a Professional Women’s Bowling Association title by winning the 2017 PWBA Wichita Open.

Safiyah (above), the No. 2 seed, defeated Team Malaysia teammate Sin Li Jane (right), 221-170, to become the first Malaysian player to win on the PWBA Tour. The stepladder finals aired nationally Tuesday, July 4, on CBS Sports Network.

Safiyah built an early 31-pin lead after Sin opened the match with three consecutive splits, and strikes in frames four and five for Safiyah all but locked up the victory.

The 26-year-old right-hander remained clean throughout the game en route to her first PWBA title. Along with earning the championship, Safiyah also captured a spot in the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship to be held at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia.

The win not only was a win for herself, but a win for her team and the country of Malaysia.

“I’m really happy and proud of myself for winning a PWBA title,” said Safiyah, who finished fourth at the 2017 Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship.

“But, we are always happy for each other because we are all winners. If I win, if you win, we are still a team, and all of Team Malaysia are winners. This win is really prestigious for our country, Team Malaysia and our sports council.”

Team Malaysia, from left to right: Natasha Roslan, Shalin Zulkifli, Esther Cheah, Sin Li Jane, Siti Safiyah and Syaidatul Afifah.

Safiyah’s title almost never came to be as she tied with Colombia’s Juliana Franco in the semifinal at 191. Who advanced to meet Sin was decided by a one-ball roll-off.

As the higher seed, Safiyah had choice of starting order and lane and chose to start the on the left lane. She left the 6 and 10 pins on her first offering, but Franco failed to top that, leaving the 1-2-4 combination. Safiyah won the roll-off by a score of 8-7.

“I didn’t expect to advance to the next round,” Safiyah said. “I threw an eight-count, and I was expecting her to roll something higher than me. When she didn’t, I was really shocked. I was surprised and didn’t know what to do.”

Franco advanced to the semifinal match by defeating two-time reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson, 172-154. Johnson, who won the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship in June (pictured right), was making her fourth consecutive TV finals appearance.

All qualifying and match-play rounds of the PWBA Wichita Open were held at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, on June 2-3.

The stepladder finals were held June 25 at the The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in conjunction with the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship and the finals of the Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open and PWBA Greater Detroit Open.

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PWBA Wichita Open

Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan., United States (June 1-3, 2017); was taped June 25 and aired July 4 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network.

Championship Round:
1. Siti Safiyah, Malaysia, 412 (2 games), $10,000
2. Sin Li Jane, Malaysia, 170 (1 game), $5,000
3. Juliana Franco, Colombia, 363 (2 games), $3,500
4. Liz Johnson, Deerfield, Illinois, 154 (1 game), $3,000

L-R Sin Li Jane, Siti Safiyah, Juliana Franco and Liz Johnson.

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 3 Franco def. No. 4 Johnson, 172-154
Second Match: No. 2 Safiyah def. Franco, 8-7 in roll-off after a 191-191 tie
Championship: Safiyah def. No. 1 Sin, 221-170.

Herbert Bickel

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