EL PASO, Texas - USBC Hall of Famer Leanne Hulsenberg of Roseville, Calif., put herself in good position to make a run at her second Queens title as she tied for the second-highest series in match-play history on her way to an undefeated record at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center on Monday.
After qualifying fourth, the 1999 Queens champion defeated Stacey Fehr of Cincinnati, Ohio, 661-573, before beating defending champion Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 803-698. Hulsenberg's 803 ties her with Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington, Texas, who rolled 803 at the 2009 Queens in Reno, Nev. Johnson holds the record for the highest match-play set with 806, also shot in the 2009 event.
The 26-time Professional Women's Bowling Association titlist knew she would have her hands full against Johnson and took advantage of what the conditions gave her. She also finds herself in the favorable position of staying out of the contenders bracket during the first day of match play.
"I knew I had to bowl a lot, and she bowled a great match. The breaks just went my way," Hulsenberg said. "The conditions were very favorable. Plus, I can't remember the last time I went win-win to start this tournament. My hip has been bothering me, so the fewer games, the better."
Hulsenberg also is making her return to the Queens after missing out last year. Just days before the tournament was set to begin, she gave birth to her son, Barrett.
"I had Barrett maybe five days before the tournament last year," Hulsenberg said. "My husband took vacation to come here and watch him while I bowl, so I hope to make it worth his while."
The 16-undefeated bowlers remaining will continue their run towards the tiara and $25,000 first-place check. Hulsenberg is joined in the winners bracket by several past Queens champions, including Anne Marie Duggan of Edmond, Okla. (1994), Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas (2001), Kim Terrell-Kearney of Grand Prairie, Texas (2002), Tennelle Milligan of Arlington, Texas (2005), Shannon Pluhowsky of Kettering, Ohio (2006) and Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J. (2007).
Johnson will not become the first competitor to repeat as champion since Katsuko Sugimoto of Tokyo won back-to-back Queens titles in 1981 and 1982, as she was knocked out of the contenders bracket by Brenda Edwards of Mansfield, Texas, 638-620.
Along with Hulsenberg's 803 series, there were three 300 games during match play. Clara Guerrrero of Pflugerville, Texas, Christine Bator of Warren, Mich., and Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, raised the 2010 tournament total to eight 300 games.
All of Tuesday's match play action will be live streamed on BOWL.com. The action begins at 9 a.m. MDT, and is scheduled to last until 6:30 p.m. MDT. The championship round of the 2010 Queens will be televised live on ESPN2 on Wednesday, April 28 at 8 p.m. EDT.
PRIMROSE REMAINS UNDEFEATED IN TITLE DEFENSE
Janine Primrose of Gardnerville, Nev., developed a knack for finding herself behind in matches during her run to the 2009 USBC Senior Queens title, and she has continued to fight her way back to victories at the 2010 event at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center.
Finding herself down going into the final game of her first and second round matches on Monday, she rallied with games of 245 and 247 to defeat USBC Hall of Famer Nancy Fehr of Cincinnati 613-567 and Melody Felton of Colfax, Iowa, 653-635, respectively.
Primrose felt the pressure of coming in as the defending champion, but continued to win despite not putting together her best performance.
"There are major butterflies. I definitely put more pressure on myself then needed, and I'm not bowling up to par," Primrose said. "It's scary because I'm not throwing the ball well and I have to keep chasing everybody to squeak by."
Only eight bowlers remain in the Senior Queens winners bracket. Joining Primrose is USBC Hall of Famer and 2007 Senior Queens champion Lucy Sandelin of Tampa. Fla.
The championship match of the Senior Queens will be live streamed at BOWL.com on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. MDT. With the double-elimination format, the bowler coming from the contenders bracket will have to win two three-game total-pinfall matches to earn the title.