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HENDERSON, Nev. - Defending champion Brenda Padilla of Mansfield, Texas, and Mike Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y., hold the lead heading into the final day at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.
Padilla, who won the event last year as Brenda Edwards and was married less than a week ago, had the high nine-game block in the women's field on the 47-foot Paris lane pattern Thursday to surge into the lead with a 27-game total of 5,931, an average of 219.6.
Fagan, meanwhile, stayed in the lead for the third consecutive day and has a total of 6,119, an average of 226.6, at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center in suburban Las Vegas.
Padilla holds a 17-pin lead over Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, with nine games remaining. Pluhowsky has totaled 5,914, while 2010 USBC Junior Gold Championships winner Brittni Hamilton of Webster, N.Y., is third with 5,887.
"Early today it was about getting the right ball reaction to carry, and I saw something that told me I could get in and it worked," said Padilla, who shot 2,024 for nine games Thursday. "This week has been about versatility for me. I can't say that I have been able to bowl my A game. You bowl according to what the lane gives you, not how you want to bowl and it has worked out for me."
Fagan saw his 27-pin lead over left-hander Scott Boyle of Salida, Calif., shrink to just three pins. Boyle finished the third round with a 6,116 total, while EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., is third with 6,055.
"A lot of the guys made the lanes look good today, but I wasn't one of them," said Fagan, who shot 1,927 Thursday. "The only positive thing is that I'm still in the lead. I didn't bowl well. I was struggling the entire day. I grinded it out and tomorrow will be better."
Dean Richards of Tacoma, Wash., had the high nine-game set of the day in the men's division. Richards totaled 2,227, an average 247.4, on the longest of the four lane patterns.
Competition wraps up Friday with the final round of four nine-game blocks. The top three men and top three women finishers after 36 games will earn automatic spots on Team USA, while the National Selection Committee will pick two additional men and two additional women to join the team.
The top two male and top two female competitors who are 20 years old or younger before Jan. 1, 2011 will earn automatic spots on Junior Team USA 2011. The National Selection Committee will select two additional boys and two additional girls to join the team. The National Selection Committee will select from players who either competed in the Team USA Trials or who advanced to the match-play portion of the USBC Junior Gold Championships, which were held in July in Indianapolis.
2011 USBC TEAM USA TRIALS
At Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center, Henderson, Nev.
(Top 5; 27 games)
1, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 6,119. 2, Scott Boyle, Salida, Calif., 6,116. 3, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 6,055. 4, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 6,051. 5, Jarret Mizo, Honolulu, Hawaii, 6,003
1, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 5,931. 2, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 5,914. 3, Brittni Hamilton, Webster, N.Y., 5,887. 4, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 5,882. 5, Kim Yioulos, Rochester, N.Y., 5,832.