Johnson leads after two rounds at 2018 USBC Senior Queens


United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Tish Johnson of Colorado Springs, Colorado, cruised to the top of the standings after two rounds of qualifying Friday at the 2018 USBC Senior Queens.

Johnson, a 55-year-old left-hander, averaged more than 236 to post five-game blocks of 1,195 and 1,173 for a 2,368 total at Gold Coast, more than 100 pins ahead of fellow hall of famer Leanne Hulsenberg of Pleasant View, Utah, who finished the day in second with 2,254.

Sharon Powers of Lakewood, Colorado, was third with 2,247, while Laura Hardeman of Chula Vista, California, and Michele Carter of National City, California, rounded out the top five with 2,219 and 2,211, respectively.

Johnson knows what it takes to put herself in position for a deep run at the Senior Queens, recording five top-four finishes at the event since 2012. Although she has yet to break through for a win, Johnson is looking to learn as much as she can about the characteristics of the 70-lane facility in preparation for match play.

"I've been taking a lot of notes," said Johnson, a 25-time Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour titlist and PWBA Hall of Famer. "I noticed that certain pairs played differently from lane to lane, and the low end seemed to hook a lot more compared to the middle of the house, but I didn't want to get out of the zone I was in because it seemed to be working."

As Johnson tinkered with her equipment choices during Friday's qualifying rounds, she still was able to post five games of 245 or better, including a 288 effort during her first block.

"When I started to see flat or ringing 7 pins, I started to play around with different equipment to see if I could consistently get the corners out," Johnson said. "I'm going to continue to try and fine-tune everything during qualifying. I've been bowling a lot of tournaments at home, so I'm feeling sharp and making adjustments pretty quickly. Everything is feeling good."

USBC Hall of Famer Lucy Sandelin of Tampa, Florida, is the reigning Senior Queens champion, and the three-time winner sits in 28th place after two rounds with a 2,002 total, a 200.2 average.

As the defending champion, Sandelin is guaranteed the No. 32 spot in the bracket, but she can improve her seeding through qualifying.

All competitors will return to the lanes Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern for five additional games of qualifying, after which the 81-player field will be cut to the top 31 players, plus Sandelin, for the double-elimination match-play bracket, which also will start Saturday. Bracket matches will be three games, with total pinfall determining who advances.

Bracket play will continue Sunday until five players remain for the stepladder finals, scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.'s BowlTV is providing wire-to-wire coverage of the 2018 Senior Queens.