Tour Championship Bracket
ARLINGTON, Texas – The final major of the season is up for
grabs as 16 of the top players on the Professional Women’s Bowling
Association Tour will vie for the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship title, Sept. 3-6 at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia.
The PWBA Tour Championship brings together all eligible champions
from 2017, with the remainder of the field filled through the season
The 16-player field and bracket matchups became official Tuesday
following the television broadcast of the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open
on CBS Sports Network.
Players will compete in a single-elimination, best-of-five match-play
bracket to determine the two additional competitors who will advance to
the live finals, which will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network on
Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Deerfield, Illinois,
and Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, automatically earned spots on the
TV show as the top two players on the 2017 PWBA Tour points list. As
the season points leader, Johnson is the top seed.
Johnson was dominant this season – her 139,150 points are more than
50,000 points ahead of second place – resulting in her already earning
PWBA Player of the Year honors, which is determined by season points.
She is the first player in PWBA history to win award in three
The 43-year-old right-hander had the best year of her professional
career in 2017, winning the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open, Go Bowling PWBA
Players Championship and her fourth consecutive U.S. Women’s Open
She joins Wendy Macpherson (four) and Lisa Wagner (three) as the only players who’ve won the honor three or more times.
“That is absolutely amazing to me,” said Johnson, who has won eight
titles since the relaunch of the PWBA Tour. “I grew up a bowler and with
a dream to bowl on the women’s professional tour. I grew up watching
the ladies bowl. I grew up watching Leanne (Hulsenberg), who I bowl
against. I watched Robin Romeo and all those ladies, hoping I could grow
up one day and do what they do. To be in this position, especially
doing this for more than 20 years and at the ripe age of 43, to be
player of the year, is hard to put into words. But, it’s amazing. It’s
an amazing feeling.”
And while 2017 already has been a season to remember, winning the Tour Championship would add a new title to Johnson’s resume.
“I’ve been fortunate to go right to the TV show the last couple
times, but I didn’t do so well,” Johnson said. “To really finish off
2017 with the Tour Championship would be a big deal for me. But, I’ve
had an amazing 2017 – two major wins, one runner-up in a major and one
more title. If it happens, it happens. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant
to be. But, I’m not going to be at the Tour Championship just to show up
and have fun. I’m going to have fun, but I want to win. That’s going to
be my goal in Richmond.”
Kulick broke through earlier this season with a win at the PWBA
Fountain Valley Open, her first victory in 11 championship-round
appearances since the relaunch of the PWBA Tour in 2015.
Kulick added a runner-up finish at the Go Bowling PWBA Players
Championship and was third at the Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open, which helped
her finish second on the points list (86,000). She will be the No. 2
seed and compete in the second semifinal.
Diana Zavjalova of Latvia, who won her second United States Bowling
Congress Queens title this season and finished second at the PWBA Storm
Sacramento Open, is the third seed and earned a first-round bye at the
PWBA Tour Championship.
Zavjalova will face the winner of Monday’s match between No. 10 seed Daria Pajak and 11th seeded Verity Crawley.
Also earning a first-round bye is 2015 Smithfield PWBA Tour
Championship winner Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York. She won
the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open, the final standard event of the 2017
season, for her first win of 2017, was third at the PWBA Orlando Open
and had fourth-place finishes at the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open and PWBA
St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open.
She will face the winner of Monday’s opening match between No. 9 Maria Jose Rodriguez and No. 12 Missy Parkin.
Monday’s other first-round matches, with how they qualified in
parenthesis: No. 5 Shannon O’Keefe (PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open
winner) vs. No. 16 Birgit Poppler (PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast
Cancer Mixed Doubles winner); No. 7 Rocio Restrepo (QubicaAMF PWBA
Sonoma County Open winner) vs. No. 14 Sin Li Jane (Pepsi PWBA Lincoln
Open champion); No. 6 Shannon Pluhowsky (points) vs. No. 15 Stefanie
Johnson (PWBA Orlando Open winner); No. 8 Clara Guerrero (points) vs.
No. 13 Siti Rahman (PWBA Wichita Open winner).
Monday’s Pajak-Crawley match is a matchup of former Webber
International teammates and PWBA Tour roommates. The match also could
determine the winner of the PWBA Rookie of the Year award.
Pajak, who won the 2017 PWBA Greater Detroit Open, has 59,890 points
and holds a small advantage over Crawley (53,462.5). If Pajak wins the
match, she will claim the 2017 honor.
Crawley, who finished second at the PWBA Fountain Valley Open and the
PWBA Greater Detroit Open, would need to reach the TV finals to win the
The PWBA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards are determined by competition points.
All rounds of the PWBA Tour Championship leading up to the TV finals are being broadcast on Xtra Frame,
the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers
The lanes are being specially installed inside the Old
Dominion Building by QubicaAMF, the official supplier of bowling
equipment for the 2017 Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship.