Rising Stars Archives

Liz Johnson Wins 2017 Women’s U.S. Open for 10th Major Title

PLANO, Texas – United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Deerfield, Illinois, just bought a house and is in the process of permanently relocating from New York to Illinois, and she’ll now need to make some room in her new place for a couple more trophies.
The 43-year-old right-hander defeated Poland’s Daria Pajak, 188-176, to win the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Plano Super Bowl on Sunday, marking the fourth
consecutive time, and sixth time in her career, she has claimed the coveted green jacket.
The win, which was broadcast live on CBS Sports Network, was the record 10th major victory of her career and second of the season. She earned $20,000 for the win, and Pajak took home $10,000 for the runner-up finish.
The two-time reigning Professional Women’s Bowling Association Player of the Year, Johnson won the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship in June and also claimed a standard PWBA title earlier in the year at the 2017 PWBA Storm Sacramento Open.
USBC Hall of Famer Marion Ladewig won the U.S. Women’s Open a record eight times, including five straight, starting with the inaugural edition in 1949.
On the way to the win Sunday, Johnson threw two doubles to stay head of Pajak, who rolled a pair perfect games and averaged more than 229 this week to earn the top seed for the championship round.
Johnson needed just two pins in her final frame to secure the win and sealed it with a six-count on her first delivery.
She now is a formal trophy presentation away from her third consecutive PWBA Player of the Year award, which is based on competition points from the 13 of the season’s 14 events.
“It’s probably cliché, but it’s a dream-come-true season,” said Johnson, who was the runner-up to Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova at the 2017 USBC Queens in May. “I never could’ve thought about winning two majors and finishing second in the third one, along with the possibility of a third player of the year, and I can’t put into words the season I’ve had. With all the talent we have out here on the Tour, to be in the position I’m in is the best feeling in the world.”
Johnson entered Sunday’s live TV finals as the No. 5 seed and defeated four talented young players to climb the ladder for the second consecutive year.
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“Climbing up the ladder always is tough, and a couple of times I thought there was no way it was going to happen,” Johnson said. “I was close early and then found my look, but in the third match, I lost my feel a little bit. I had to take a step back mentally, take some deep breaths and just focus on making better shots. It was a little more of a grind today than we saw during the week, and that’s when experience really helps. Sometimes, you have to expect the unexpected.”
Pajak was looking to become the first international player since 1982 to win the U.S. Women’s Open. Japan’s Shinobu Saitoh was the first and only other to do so, defeating USBC Hall of Famer Robin Romeo, who went on to win the event in 1989.
Pajak is in contention for the 2017 PWBA Rookie of the Year Award, which will be decided at the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship, the fourth major on the 2017 PWBA Tour schedule and an invitation-only event that features eligible champions and the top point-earners from the current season.
The 24-year-old right-hander earned a spot in the PWBA Tour Championship with a win at the recent PWBA Greater Detroit Open, the first title of her PWBA career.
“I lost to the best bowler in the world, ever,” Pajak said. “Liz is probably – not probably, she is the best bowler in the world. I could never take advantage of the fact she was missing a little bit. I’m upset that at the time I really needed to carry, I didn’t, because I felt that could have changed the game. I don’t like losing in the ninth frame, but it is what it is.”
On the way to the seventh U.S. Women’s Open championship match of her career, Johnson needed to fill 15 pins in her final frame to get past Team USA member Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska.
Johnson left, and converted, the 3-6 combination on her first offering and then tossed a crossover strike to earn a spot in the final by a 199-195 margin.
Throughout match play this week at Plano Super Bowl, McCarthy suffered from severe back spasms and was unable to sit during the match.
She led by 26 pins after five frames, before missing a 3-10 split in the sixth frame slowed her momentum and allowed Johnson to take the lead with strikes in frames seven through nine.
The semifinal between Johnson and McCarthy was rematch of the title tilt at the 2015 Queens, where Johnson defeated McCarthy, the top seed, to win her second Queens tiara.
Prior to meeting with McCarthy, Johnson found herself down nine pins at the halfway point of her match against Canada’s Valerie Bercier, but she tossed six consecutive strikes, starting in the fifth frame, to outdistance the former University of Nebraska standout, 255-223.
The day’s opening match featured just seven strikes between the two players, but nine consecutive clean frames from Johnson to start helped her sneak past Nicole Trudell of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 191-178.
Back-to-back splits from Trudell in the seventh and eighth frames, including a 7-10 in the latter, proved to be her undoing, despite Johnson leaving, and missing, a split of her own in the final frame.
The 2017 U.S. Women’s Open started with 114 competitors, who each bowled 24 games of qualifying over three days before the field was cut to the top 38 for Friday’s eight-game cashers’ round.
The 32-game pinfall totals determined the 24 bowlers for match play, while their 56-game totals, including 30 bonus pins for each win, decided the five players for the TV show. There were 10 perfect games this week, with Pajak (two) and Johnson among them.
The championship round of the U.S. Women’s Open was one of four finals contested Sunday at Plano Super Bowl.
The finals of the 2017 PWBA Orlando Open, PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open and Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open were taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network on Aug. 15, Aug. 22 and Aug. 29, respectively.
All qualifying and match play rounds of the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open were broadcast live on XtraFrame, the online bowling channel of the Professional Bowlers Association.
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Registration Now Open For Collegiate Expo Challenge II

As an extension of it’s premier event, The Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo, Turbo will be hosting it’s 2nd Annual Challenge Event, Sunday, October 1st at Mayflower Lanes in Redford, Michigan.  The Challenge Event is open to all high school bowlers with an opportunity to bowl in a competitive environment for valuable scholarships along with a chance to win a win FREE entry into the 2018 Collegiate Expo in Dallas, Texas next summer.

Thanks to our presenting sponsor The Frank Gavie Youth Committee additional money is added to prize fund each year which makes the Collegiate Expo Challenge one of the highest awarding and best youth events in Metro Detroit.

While MHSAA prevents the award of any prize in excess of $25 to high school athletes, all registered bowlers will receive a prize ticket where all bowlers will have equal opportunity to WIN Entry regardless of how they bowl.  Winning tickets will be pulled at random following the 6 games of qualifying where one lucky girl and one boy will selected.

Bowlers can register on-line at turbogrips.com.  Check out Collegiate Expo Challenge under the Collegiate Expo section.

Making Waves in Cleveland

Chesterfield, Michigan –  For the 7th consecutive year, Turbo Bowling Accessories hosted another successful edition of its Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo.

Collegiate Expo has become THE place for college coaches to scout talent. The event also provides a chance for high school bowlers to explore scholarship opportunities and a chance to learn from the best bowlers and instructors in the industry.

Game of Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio played host from July 11-13, as nearly 200 students from 32 states, Mexico and Finland participated in the educational and competitive gathering. The event also welcomed more than 40 Collegiate coaches, the most ever to attend the Collegiate Expo.

“We can’t say enough how awesome it is to host an event like this for youth bowlers, parents and coaches,” said Lori Mraz, President of Turbo Bowling Accessories. “They inspire and invigorate us each summer with their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about the sport.”

Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo provided both students and coaches with training from more than a dozen of the best coaches in the industry. Instructors consisted of PBA and PWBA champions, as well as USBC Silver and Gold Certified coaches. The event has also been embraced by industry experts as a showcase to provide technical information regarding their products.

“We come together once a year representing so many great brands, often time competing brands, for one primary cause, building future generations of bowlers,” said Mraz. “We’re proud of them all for taking time from their busy schedules to share their gifts and talents with the next generation of bowling super stars.”

The first two days involved instruction, both on-lane and in classroom settings. Day three  put student’s knowledge to the test in the annual Turbo Tech Audition Tournament, sponsored by Logo Infusion. The event concluded with an Open House that provided students, parents and coaches to meet and discuss college bowling programs and opportunities for scholarships.

The winners of the Audition Tournament were Paige Boyd of Lebanon, PA, and Parker Wilson of Pineville, NC (pictured above at center). Both Boyd and Wilson were awarded $350 SMART scholarships for their wins, and special awards from On The Ball Bowling.

An additional $700 was raised with a special raffle held on-site by Logo Infusion, with all proceeds going to back to the Audition Tournament scholarships fund. Carlene Beyer and Baily Gipson finished second and third respectively in the Girls Division, while Wyatt Smith and Matteo Cittadon took second and third in the Boys Division. Beyer and Smith earned $150 each for second place, while Gipson and Cittadon received $100 each for third.

Another big winner during the Collegiate Expo was Turbo’s charitable honoree, Ballard vs. The Big ‘C’ (BVBC). The group is led by PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Del Ballard, and Collegiate Expo Event Director Carolyn Dorin-Ballard.

To support the cause, a photo booth was sponsored by Columbia300, with Ebonite International staff members Jason Couch and Shannon Pluhowsky posing with nearly 200 attendees. Over $800 was raised for Ballard vs. The Big ‘C’ to continue research in cancer treatment.

“Del and Carolyn have been long time friends of Turbo for nearly two decades,” said Mraz. “It means a lot to our company and our family to give back and support to their cause.”

Mraz says that preparations are already underway for the 2018 edition. Dates have not been finalized, but Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo VIII will be held prior to the Junior Gold Championships in Dallas.

“We’ve received so many kind words and are very thankful to have the opportunity to give back to bowling in such a meaningful way,” she said. “The Collegiate Expo demonstrates our commitment to the sport and the growth of our industry.”

Sponsors for Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo VII included Ace Mitchell Bowlers Mart, Bowling Business Builders, BowlFit, Bowlers Journal International, BowlingBall.com, Brunswick, Columbia 300, Dexter, DV8, Ebonite, 900 Global, Hammer, iabowling.com, Kegel, KR Strikeforce, Logo Infusion, Motiv, On the Ball Bowling, PBA, Roto Grip, Storm, Track, Metro Detroit USBC, and Game of Wickliffe.

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