Johnson leads after first day at 2013 USBC Queens

Complete standings

With help from her Team USA teammates, coaches and friends at home, Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., was able to work through recent timing issues and find her way to the top of the standings after the first round of qualifying at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Queens.

The 2009 USBC Queens champion averaged more than 242 on the way to a 1,211 five-game total Sunday at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center. She closed with a 246 game to edge Singapore's Shayna Ng, who is second with 1,206. Team USA member Brittni Hamilton of Webster, N.Y., and Amy Stolz of Larkspur, Colo., are tied for third with 1,199, while opening-squad leader Lindsay Boomershine of Brigham City, Utah, is fifth with 1,178.

Johnson struggled with her timing at the recent World Tenpin Bowling Association World Championships, also held at Sunset Station, but finished strong with a bronze medal in Masters competition and a silver-medal effort in team before turning her attention to the Queens.

There wasn't much time to regroup between tournaments, but helpful insight from those who know her game best allowed her to make the most of her Queens practice session Saturday. While others were practicing across the 72-lane bowling center and getting comfortable with the Sport Bowling-certified lane condition, Johnson stayed on one pair of lanes and focused on her timing.

"Last week was a good week, but it was disappointing because I felt like I could've bowled better than I did," Johnson said. "We all stuck together as a team, but at the same time, you're always your own worst critic. Not having any time off probably ended up being a good thing because I feel like the more games I bowl, the sharper I get."

Johnson proved her endurance in July as she conquered a grueling lane condition and long format to win the 2013 Lipton Bowling's U.S. Women's Open, her third U.S. Women's Open title. Now, she's in a comfortable position at the Queens but knows there's a long way to go in a unique format where anything can happen.

"This event is a grind, but this is just the beginning," Johnson said. "Everything changes for match play, and the pins you earned go away. The most important thing is to take it one day at a time and get there. Then, you just focus on each opponent."

Qualifying will continue with five more games Monday, before the field is cut to the top 67 for five additional games Tuesday. After 15 games, the top 63 competitors will join defending champion Diandra Asbaty of Chicago for double-elimination match-play, which will begin Tuesday at 5 p.m. EDT. Asbaty finished the first day in a tie for 56th place with 1,029. Should she not qualify for match play, she automatically will earn the 64th seed.

Match play will continue Wednesday, and the final five players will advance to the televised stepladder finals, which will be taped Sept. 5 at 10 p.m. EDT. The winner will take home the $20,000 top prize, and a perfect game in the championship match will earn the player an additional $10,000 from Storm Bowling Products.

The Queens is open to any female USBC member, and with this year's event coming just after the WTBA World Championships, the field includes 202 players representing 15 countries.

Competitors at this year's Queens also have another opportunity to cash in through the USBC Shoot-Out, a special event following Queens qualifying with a $4,000 prize fund.

Four players will advance to the Shoot-Out based on qualifying scores with the high player from each of the following categories earning spots: international players, collegiate/youth players, players who have not competed in the Queens in the past four years and all others. Tournament rules will dictate the category in which each player competes.

The Shoot-Out will consist of a four-person bracket with one-game matches determining the winner of each match. The special event will be broadcast live on's BowlTV.

The qualifying and match-play portions of the Queens are open to the public at no charge, and a limited number of tickets for the televised finals are available for $25. Call 702-547-7467 for more information.