Singapore's Cherie Tan sets pace at 2021 U.S. Women's Open Article Image
Standings: Round 1

It took a few games for Singapore's Cherie Tan to see what she wanted to on the lanes at the 2021 U.S. Women's Open, but once the right look developed, she was able to take advantage and find her way to the top of the standings.

The 33-year-old left-hander is one of three southpaws in the 71-player field, and she averaged more than 220 over eight games at Double Decker Lanes to lead the opening day of competition with a 1,766 total.

Tan rolled three 181 games during the block, including her first and last games, but a mid-round run of 233, 268, 245 and 246 gave her the boost she needed on the day's 36-foot oil pattern, the first of four lane conditions the players will see this week in Rohnert Park.

The two-time Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour champion was followed in the standings by Poland's Daria Pajak (1,763), Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas (1,751), Singapore's Shayna Ng (1,748) and Erin McCarthy of Elkhorn, Nebraska (1,732).

"The lanes were a little different from pair to pair, and I struggled to get the right shape to start with, but I eventually saw it and got the ball to read right," Tan said. "I do think I got lucky at times, but I also found some room to miss, and that really helped my confidence. It's pretty important to have a great start, but tomorrow is a new day and new pattern, so it's also important to go in with a fresh mindset."

Competition at Double Decker Lanes will resume Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern with the second of three rounds of qualifying, this time on a flat 40-foot oil pattern.

A final eight games Saturday, on a 46-foot oil pattern, will determine the 24 players who advance to the fourth round and fourth oil pattern. Those 24 competitors will transition into 24 games of round-robin match play, with seeding based on their 32-game pinfall totals.

There will be 30 bonus pins awarded for each win in match play, and the 56-game pinfall totals will determine the five players for the championship stepladder.

All rounds of qualifying and match play are being broadcast on through Monday night, and the event will conclude live on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern.

The winner will take home the iconic U.S. Women's Open trophy, coveted green jacket and a record $100,000 top prize.

Tan and her Team Singapore teammates picked the perfect time to make their 2021 debuts on the PWBA Tour, and their presence was felt immediately last week at the PWBA Spokane Open, where four of the six cashed and three finished in the top 12.

The 2021 U.S. Women's Open is the 17th event on this year's PWBA Tour schedule and the second of three majors. Along with the recently announced record payout, the players also are bowling for double points this week.

Unfortunately for Tan, she was one of the two players from Singapore who did not make the first cut in Spokane. She started the event with a 147 game and never was able to recover, despite bowling 242 pins better in her second six-game block.

Though her second-block surge ultimately wasn't enough for another day of bowling, it did give her a rush of confidence heading into the U.S. Women's Open.

What she missed out on in prize money, she gained in knowledge and experience, and that's part of what kept her from getting rattled after another slow start Thursday at Double Decker Lanes.

The Spokane Open marked the first competition for Tan and her teammates in about a year and a half due to COVID-19, and it was a much-needed way to ease back into the competitive mindset, before taking aim at her second major title.

The thing Tan struggled with in her 2021 debut was the same thing that tripped her up Thursday - seeing the right shape and ball reaction. Working through the challenges, and getting there quicker than last week, is the first small victory of what is expected to be a challenging U.S. Women's Open.

"I think it was good to have that event, even though it didn't go as well as I'd hoped," said Tan, who won the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open in 2016 and the PWBA Players Championship in 2019. "I struggled a little and then got comfortable. I had a lot of catching up to do, but I made a great run, and it got me in the right frame of mind to be competing again. Just like today, it took some time to see the right shape, and it was good to know it was more about recognizing that and not a physical problem with me."

Defending U.S. Women's Open champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, who won last week's Spokane Open, finished Thursday's opening round in the middle of the pack in 33rd place. A 245 final game gave her a 1,566 total.