Kuhlkin moves into lead after two rounds at 2021 USBC Queens

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RENO, Nev.
- Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, posted the highest five-game block Friday at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Queens to move into the overall lead after two rounds.

The two-time Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour champion now leads the field with a 10-game total of 2,284, a 228.4 average. She's followed in the standings by USBC Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Niagara Falls, New York (2,257), opening-round leader Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio (2,246), Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York (2,243), and Germany's Birgit Noreiks (2,238).

The USBC Queens is the first major championship on the 2021 PWBA Tour schedule, and BowlTV.com is providing wire-to-wire coverage of the event.

Kuhlkin improved on a strong opening round at the National Bowling Stadium (1,126 for five games on Thursday), rolling scores of 235, 255, 246, 190 and 232 for a 1,158 total Friday.

The 27-year-old right-hander saw a little more hook on this week's 42-foot lane condition during Friday's block, which played to her strengths.

"I was really satisfied with how I bowled yesterday, but I did miss a couple of moves and threw some splits at inopportune times," Kuhlkin said. "They hooked a little earlier today, and I had to throw a different ball. I had to shape the ball a little bit more, which I like to do, and because of that, my angle into the pocket was better. I was able to strike a lot today."

Kuhlkin bowled the USBC Women's Championships at the NBS prior to the start of Queens, and she was able to average more than 244 for the event to help her team take the lead in the Diamond Division. She currently sits in a tie for third place in Diamond All-Events with a 2,197 nine-game total.

Although the events are much different, Kuhlkin feels that seeing her ball strike at the NBS during the Women's Championships helped her confidence looking ahead to the Queens.

When the 78-lane venue hosted the Queens in 2018, Kuhlkin missed the cut to the bracket, finishing in 130th place.

"The last time the Queens was here, I didn't make the cut," Kuhlkin said. "That was in the back of my mind, but I had a really good showing at the Women's Championships. My ball was going through the pins really well, and I had that confidence going into this tournament. Knowing I'm capable of striking a lot at a center is a momentum thing for me, and I feel like I have a good look and just have to execute shots. If I keep doing that, I'll be OK."

Qualifying concludes Saturday, with A Squad kicking the day off at noon Eastern. After 15 games, the field will be cut to the top 63 players and Dasha Kovalova of Ukraine, who is guaranteed a spot in the double-elimination bracket as the defending champion.

Kovalova is in 27th place after two rounds with a 2,115 total.

The 64th spot heading into Saturday's final round of qualifying belongs to South Africa's Jody Scheerer, who has recorded a 1,992 total through 10 games, a 199.2 average.

Match play will begin Sunday, with all matches prior to the stepladder finals featuring a three-game total-pinfall format. Bracket play resumes Monday, with the top five athletes advancing to Tuesday's stepladder finals at 8 p.m. Eastern on BowlTV.

With the finals being broadcast on BowlTV, the top seed will have to be defeated twice in the true double-elimination format.

The champion at the 2021 Queens will take home the $20,000 first-place prize and tiara awarded to the winner.