ARLINGTON, Texas - It's been clear over the past couple years that Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif., has found the secret to success at the United States Bowling Congress Queens presented by Storm. Now the question is, can she turn that success into back-to-back Queens titles?
Parkin, who finished fourth at the 2010 Queens and won last year's event by defeating top seed Elysia Current of Ephrata, Pa., 214-189, will begin her title defense Friday when the first round of qualifying begins at AMF Euless Lanes in Euless, Texas. The finals will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Eastern on April 24.
In the past two years, Parkin has gone 9-2 in the double-elimination, match-play bracket leading up to the television show at the Queens. Each match consists of three games and both losses came in matches in which she already was guaranteed a spot in the stepladder finals.
"The biggest key to finding success at the Queens is being able to throw that great shot under pressure when it matters the most," said Parkin, who averaged 227.78 in those 11 matches. "This tournament is all about winning matches and quite often the match will still come down to the 10th frame of Game 3. You have to be able to control your emotions and adrenaline and bear down to throw that perfect shot."
As the defending champion, Parkin will bowl qualifying to try and get the best possible seed for the match-play bracket. If she fails to finish among the top 48 after qualifying, she would be placed 48th in the bracket.
Parkin said getting to bowl qualifying, but having a guaranteed spot in match play, will help take some of the pressure off in the event's early days.
"Once match play starts, that's when the tournament really begins," Parkin said. "I love head-to-head competition and needing to throw a strike to win a match. With making back-to-back TV shows at the Queens, I'm feeling very good about my chances to defend my title."
Since winning the Queens last year, Parkin has been on a tear, not only taking on the game's best women's bowlers but shoeing up against the men, as well. She set the record for high finish by a woman at the USBC Masters (tied for ninth place) and the men's U.S. Open (21st place). Her success has placed her confidence at an all-time high.
"I'm bowling as many tournaments as possible in order to stay sharp," Parkin said. "I feel like I've been throwing the ball better than ever these last few months. I'm continuing my regular practice regimen when I am home, but competitive practice is really what keeps me on top of my game. I feel very confident going into the Queens tournament and confidence goes a long way at this level of the sport."
The Queens kicks off with 10 qualifying games over two days on April 20 and 21 before the field is cut to the top 64 for five additional qualifying games the morning of April 22. The top 47 then advance to join Parkin in the double-elimination match-play bracket, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on April 22. The final five players will advance to the televised stepladder finals.
In a change for 2012, only 48 players will advance to the bracket portion of the event with the top 16 players after qualifying receiving a first-round bye. The final two players in the winners bracket will be assured a spot on the television show, while the final three spots on the show will come from the contenders bracket.
Should Parkin come away with another victory, she would become just the fifth woman to successfully defend a Queens title, joining Katsuko Sugimoto (1981-82), Donna Adamek (1979-80), Dorothy Fathergill (1972-73) and Millie Ignizio (1970-71).
The qualifying and match-play portions of the Queens are open to the public at no charge. A very limited number of tickets for the televised finals are available for $20 and can be purchased by calling (800) 514-2695.
For more information on the USBC Queens, visit BOWL.com/Queens.