Kulick paces field after two rounds at 2021 PWBA Lincoln Open

BOWL.com Article Image
LINCOLN, Neb. - Coming off a third-place finish at her first event of the 2021 Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour season, Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, continued strong Friday by leading the field after two rounds of qualifying at the PWBA Lincoln Open.

The United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer averaged more than 230 for her two six-game blocks at Sun Valley Lanes and finished with a 2,764 total. She was followed in the standings by former University of Nebraska standouts Gazmine Mason of Cranston, Rhode Island (2,718), Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York (2,674), and Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois (2,672).

The 65-player field was cut to the top 32 players after Friday's second round, with Jen Higgins of Lewis Center, Ohio, earning the final spot by rolling 234 in her last game to finish with a 2,435 total, a 202.92 average.

Higgins finished one pin ahead of Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California (2,434), two pins in front of Amanda Vermilyea of Apple Valley, Minnesota (2,433), and three pins ahead of defending PWBA Lincoln Open champion Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio (2,432).

Kulick made her season debut last week at the PWBA Twin Cities Open in Eagan, Minnesota, and earned the final spot in the four-player stepladder finals. She won her first match, before falling in the semifinal to eventual champion Dasha Kovalova of Ukraine.

Kovalova, who claimed her third career PWBA Tour title last week, will have the opportunity to win two events in a row after finishing Friday in 12th place with 2,570.

Mason will lead a strong contingent of former Cornhuskers into Saturday's third round of qualifying, which starts at 11 a.m. Eastern. She rolled the first perfect game of the 2021 Lincoln Open during the third game of the second block on the way to posting the highest six-game score of the day (1,438).

In addition to Mason, Kuhlkin and Bond, eight other athletes who competed for Nebraska's women's bowling team advanced to the next round.

Saturday's third round will consistent of an additional six games, with the top 12 returning to the lanes for one more six-game round to complete qualifying. The top four players, based on total pinfall for 24 games, will advance to the stepladder finals.

The stepladder will be Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern and broadcast live on BowlTV.com. The champion will earn $10,000.