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Urara Himeji wins Rokko Queens Open for 15th career JPBA title


Urara Himeji of Osaka earned her first Japan Professional Bowlers Association title this season and the 15th of her career when she defeated top-seeded Hiromi Matsunaga of Fukuoka in a high-scoring championship match, 268-257, to win the 33rd Rokko Queens Open Tournament Tuesday in Kobe, Japan.

Himeji (right and above), 39, who won the JPBA women’s Triple Crown (leads the Tour in Points, Average and Earnings Ranking) in 2008 and 2015, struck on eight of her first nine shots, but was tied with Matsunaga heading into the last frame.

2013 Triple Crown winner Matsunaga (left), 33, started with two spares before she reeled off seven consecutive strikes. Matsunaga’s string ended in the 10th frame as she converted a 5 pin and got nine on the fill ball. Himeji fired another strike in the 10th frame to ice the title.

Himeji earned the 1,200,000 Yen for her first victory in the Rokko Queens Open ($10,585), while 12-time JPBA titlist Matsunaga, who won in Kobe in 2011 and 2015, took home 600,000 Yen ($5,290) for second place.

Himeji, the No. 2 seed, survived a close semi-final match against two-time JPBA titlist Chika Terashita (right) of Hokkaido, 246-239. Leading by seven pins heading into the last two frames, Himeji left and spared a 4-9 split before she threw three strikes in the 10th frame to shut out Terashita, who received 360.000 Yen third place ($3,175).

In the opening match of the four-player finals, Terashita, 22, used two turkeys to oust fourth-seeded Niina Sakakura (left) of Mie, 237-217. Sakakura, 22, who was looking to win her first JPBA title, garnered 300.000 Yen ($2,645) for fourth place.

The 33rd Kobe Rokko Queens Open Tournament for women bowlers was held July 10 and 11 at Kobe Rokko Bowl, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, and featured total prize fund of five million Yen or approx. $44,100.

The Kobe Rokko Queens drew 95 bowlers, 76 professionals and 19 amateurs, who rolled 10 games of qualifying after which the field was cut to the top 32 who bowled an additional five games with the top 8 after 15 games advancing to round robin match play. The top 4 after match play, all of whom were right-handed, determined the champion in a traditional stepladder final.

The next event on the Japan Professional Bowlers Association schedule is the Chunichi Cup 2017 Tokai Open for men and women July 13-16 at Hoshigaoka Bowl in Aichi, Japan.

Results and photos courtesy of JPBA Media Relations.

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33rd Rokko Queens Open (JPBA Women)

Kobe Rokko Bowl in Hyogo, Japan (July 09-11, 2017)

Championship Round:
1. Urara Himeji, Osaka, 514 (2 games), 1,200,000 JPY
2. Hiromi Matsunaga, Fukuoka, 257 (1 game), 600,000 JPY
3. Chika Terashita, Hokkaido, 476 (2 games), 360,000 JPY
4. Niina Sakakura, Mie, 217 (1 game), 300,000 JPY

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 3 Terashita def. No. 4 Sakakura, 237-217
Semifinal Match: No. 2 Himeji def. No. 2 Terashita, 246-239
Championship: Himeji def. No. 1 Matsunaga, 268-257.

Herbert Bickel

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