RENO, Nev. - Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., is just one win away from claiming her third Bowling's U.S. Women's Open title after grabbing the top seed for the stepladder finals at the National Bowling Stadium on Tuesday.
Kulick continued strong during the final eight games of round robin match play by going 6-1-1 to finish with 9,860, which is 425 pins ahead of 2011 United States Bowling Congress Queens champion Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif., who finished second with 9,435.
The 2003 and 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion averaged 247 Tuesday after finding her rhythm Monday evening.
"I really found my feel last night," said Kulick, who also is a member of Team USA. "Keeping tempo with my feet allowed my hand to be really soft at the bottom of the swing, which I'm really excelling at right now. As long as I can do that and maintain my balance, my hand gets through the swing every time and it's usually online. If I can go in with that mindset tomorrow and have a good practice session in the afternoon, we'll look to have a good TV final."
The U.S. Women's Open now moves from the one-of-a-kind stadium to four specially-constructed lanes located outside underneath the famed Reno Arch for the finals. After being in the same position during the 2011 event held at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Kulick is prepared to adapt to the unique setting. The finals will take place Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern, while the show will broadcast July 3 at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
"I'm just going to try and put myself into a little cubby hole, bowl the pins and not worry about the outside factors," Kulick said. "I'm going to try to adjust and adapt when I need to. Whether it's windy, calm, people are screaming or not, my goal is to find the pocket and knock down 10 pins at a time. It's going to be a great showcase. Whatever happens, it's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I get to share in that."
Also advancing to the stepladder finals alongside Kulick and Parkin is the No. 3 seed, Team USA's Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington, Texas, who finished with 9,430. Her Team USA teammate, Stefanie Nation of Grand Prairie, Texas, is the No. 4 seed and finished with 9,257. Grabbing the last spot on the show is two-time USBC Queens champion Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who earned the No. 5 seed by finishing with 9,227.
The 2012 U.S. Women's Open featured 202 of the best female bowlers in the world competing for a prize fund of nearly $170,000.
For more information on the U.S. Women's Open, visit BowlingsUSWomensOpen.com.
2012 U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.
(Position, name, hometown, 40-game total including 30 bonus for each win and 15 for each tie, match-play record)
1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 9,860, 12-3-1.
2, Missy Parkin, Lake Forest, Calif., 9,435, 9-7-0.
3, Shannon O'Keefe, Arlington, Texas, 9,430, 10-6-0.
4, Stefanie Nation, Grand Prairie, Texas, 9,257, 8-8-0.
5, Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 9,227, 10-6-0.
DID NOT ADVANCE
6, Tennelle Milligan, Arlington, Texas, 9,168, 8-8-0.
7, Kayla Bandy, Pikeville, Ky., 9,142, 9-7-0.
8, Yuka Tsuchiya, Japan, 9,126, 11-5-0.
9, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 9,116, 8-8-0.
10, Erin McCarthy, Omaha, Neb., 9,035, 6-10-0.
11, Liz Johnson, Buffalo, N.Y., 9,015, 6-9-1.
12, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 8,939, 8-8-0.
13, Leanne Hulsenberg, Roseville, Calif., 8,936, 7-9-0.
14, Rachel Perez, Maumelle, Ark., 8,836, 6-10-0.
15, Brittni Hamilton, Webster, N.Y., 8,830, 5-11-0.
16, Rocio Restrepo, Canton, Ohio, 8,570, 4-12-0.