Five past champions among 16 undefeated players at 2021 USBC Queens Article Image

RENO, Nev.
- The field at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Queens is down to 32 players after the opening rounds of match play Sunday at the National Bowling Stadium.

There are 16 players remaining in the winners bracket after two rounds in the double-elimination format, with five past USBC Queens champions rolling to undefeated records at the 78-lane venue.

The past champions in the winners bracket includes Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas (2001), Liz Johnson of Niagara Falls, New York (2009, 2015), Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois (2018), Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California (2011), and Latvia's Diana Zavjalova (2013, 2017).

Defending champion Dasha Kovalova of Ukraine and 2012 champion Diandra Asbaty of Chicago also are in contention in the elimination bracket.

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

Johnson rolled the first 300 game of the 2021 event during her first-round match against Hope Gramly of Aubrey, Texas. Johnson was down by 10 pins heading into the final game before connecting on 12 consecutive strikes to win the three-game total-pinfall match, 719-596.

The USBC Hall of Famer narrowly held on to win her second match Sunday, delivering a strike to start her final frame to lock up a victory against Estefania Cobo of North Richland Hills, Texas, 716-710. Johnson was up by 76 pins heading into the final game, but Cobo rolled 274 to close the gap.

Johnson will face Lindsay Boomershine of Perry, Utah, in her next match.

O'Keefe defeated Russia's Maria Bulanova (671-656) and Shanna Chepelsky of East Rochester, New York (668-546), to set up a match against Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York.

McEwan, the top seed from qualifying, recorded wins over Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina (732-676), and Indonesia's Tannya Roumimper (636-619).

O'Keefe and McEwan have finished first and second, respectively, on the PWBA Tour points list the last two seasons.

After winning her first match, Kovalova lost to Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio (689-520). She won her final match Sunday in the elimination bracket against 2014 Queens champion Maria José Rodriguez of Colombia (727-653) and will face Josie Barnes of Hermitage, Tennessee, in the next round.

Kovalova went undefeated in match play on the way to the title at the 2019 event in Wichita, Kansas.

Bracket play resumes Monday at noon Eastern, 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.

The 2021 event started with 110 competitors. After 15 games of qualifying over three days, the top 63 players and Kovalova, who was guaranteed a spot in the bracket as the defending champion, advanced to match play.