First-timer takes early lead

USBC Senior Queens homepage | Round 1 results

When Cynthia Johnson of Bowie, Md., planned her trip to Syracuse for the USBC Women's Championships, she had no intentions of staying in town to compete in the USBC Senior Queens.

Luckily for Johnson, her friends and teammates had enough confidence in her abilities to talk her into staying, and she's now the first-round leader at the Senior Queens with a 1,128 five-game total at the Oncenter Convention Center on Saturday. Three-time Senior Queens champion Sandy Postma of Lansing, Ill., is second with 1,108, and Karen Miller of Las Vegas is third with 1,087.

"Yesterday, I bowled in the Women's Championships, but I was planning to go home on Monday," said Johnson, who posted a 1,810 scratch all-events total at the Women's Championships this week. "Some people told me I should stay, so here I am. This is my first time bowling in anything this big, and I'm so nervous."

The 51-year-old right-hander didn't appear nervous as she climbed into the lead with games of 260, 216, 235, 202 and 215.

"I am just trying to bowl as well as I can and make it to the next day," Johnson said. "I'm glad I decided to bowl. Now, I am just going to try and relax and get some rest for tomorrow."

Defending champion Char Hammel of Las Vegas also bowled well Saturday and finished her five games with a 1,038 total, which is 12th overall. She used the opportunity to try some different balls and entry angles, since she's already guaranteed a spot in the 32-person match-play bracket as the defending champion.

"It definitely helps keep you loose when you know you don't have to worry about the cut line," said Hammel, who defeated defending champion Janine Primrose of Gardnerville, Nev., twice to win the crown last year in El Paso, Texas. "There's probably a little added pressure on me now, but I won't really feel it until match play. I bowled pretty solid overall today, although, I wish I could've thrown more strikes. Really, I just want to have a good plan heading into to match play and understand how the lanes are going to breakdown so I know what balls to throw."

Senior Queens qualifying continues with five more games Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern.

After two rounds, the 76-person field will be cut to the top 40 players, who will bowl an additional five games Monday morning. Following the third round, the top 31 qualifiers will join Hammel in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

The Senior Queens finals will be broadcast live on on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern.