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SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Michelle Feldman of Auburn, N.Y., lives just 25 minutes from the Oncenter Convention Center, where she is one of 16 players still undefeated in match play at the 2011 USBC Queens.
While her trip to the tournament venue might be simple and scenic, the road to the coveted title that has eluded her for more than 15 years is shared by 31 other talented bowlers all with their eyes on the tiara and $20,000 first-place prize.
Among those still undefeated are top-qualifier and 2001 Queens champion Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, who will take on her sister, Cathy Dorin-Lizzi of Sandusky, Ohio, in the next round of the winners bracket Tuesday morning, 2009 Queens winner Liz Johnson of nearby Cheektowaga, N.Y., who averaged 246.5 in her two wins Monday and Team USA member Shannon O'Keefe, formerly of Rochester, N.Y., who averaged more than 251 in her two victories.
Feldman has been close to breaking through at the Queens in the past, including a runner-up finish in 2004 and a fifth-place effort at last year's event in El Paso, Texas, and she'd love to finally capture the crown in front of her hometown fans.
The 35-year-old right-hander had a fair share of family members and friends in the stands to see her wins over Mandy Wilson of Dayton, Ohio (631-570) and defending champion Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J. (655-514), and many likely will be back when she takes on Tracy Ganjoin of Brick, N.J., on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. EDT.
"Being so close to home is especially cool when you bowl well, and it was nice to get those first two wins, so I can go home and relax a little bit," said Feldman, who teamed with USBC Hall of Famer Aleta Sill of Livonia, Mich., to take the Scratch Doubles lead at the USBC Women's Championships late last week. "I've been close to winning this event a few times now, but for some reason, I haven't been able to finish it off. To be able to do it here would be pretty special."
Despite being bounced to the contenders bracket after losing to Feldman, Kulick defeated Jamie Rovner of West Hills, Calif., and still is in the hunt to become the first competitor to repeat as champion since Katsuko Sugimoto of Tokyo won back-to-back Queens titles in 1981 and 1982.
Jonquay Armon of Roselle, Ill., and Keli Callahan of Las Vegas each rolled perfect games in match play Monday. Armon was later eliminated, while Callahan is one of 16 bowlers still alive in the contenders bracket.
All of Tuesday's match play action will be live streamed on BOWL.com. The action begins at 9 a.m. EDT, and is scheduled to last until approximately 7 p.m. The championship round of the 2011 Queens will be televised live on ESPN2 on Wednesday, at 7 p.m. EDT.