Jordan Richard leads opening round at 2021 USBC Queens

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RENO, Nev.
- Two-time Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour champion Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio, averaged 246 on Thursday to take the opening-round lead at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Queens.

After starting her five-game block at the National Bowling Stadium with 207, Richard recorded games of 229, 235, 290 and 269 to finish with a 1,230 total.

Last week's PWBA Greater Cleveland Open champion Stephanie Zavala of Downey, California, is second with 1,188, and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York (1,183), Caitlyn Johnson of Beaumont, Texas (1,151), and Shannon Sellens of Long Beach, New York (1,148), round out the top five.

The USBC Queens is the first major championship on the 2021 PWBA Tour schedule, and BowlTV.com is providing wire-to-wire coverage of the event.

A ball change at the end of the first game helped Richard find the right look Thursday at the NBS.

"When I watched earlier this morning, I saw a bunch of the players getting farther left than I wanted to get, so I started to the right," said Richard, the 2018 PWBA Rookie of the Year. "I switched balls in the 10th frame of the first game and crept a little left and was able to use that ball for the rest of the day. I only moved three boards the whole time. I stayed with my game plan, stayed on top of it and made some really good shots."

The 25-year-old right-hander is in great position heading into the final two rounds of qualifying to advance to the tournament's double-elimination bracket, and she's going to try and collect as much information as she can in hopes of an extended run at the 2021 event.

"It feels really good to start strong," said Richard, a Team USA member. "You can't win it in a day, but you can lose it. I want to continue to stay focused, make good shots and get as much information as I can for the upcoming days."

051321_ShannonSellensSellens, who led all competitors on the first squad Thursday, has been one of the most consistent performers at majors over the last couple of seasons, which includes a fifth-place finish at the 2019 U.S. Women's Open and a run at the 2018 Queens, also held at the NBS. She won four matches to finish tied for 13th place.

She finished qualifying in second place at the 2019 Queens in Wichita, Kansas, and won a pair of matches to finish tied for 25th place.

Her tournament schedule has picked up the past few months in preparation for the Queens, and she always finds a way to get into the right mindset for the biggest events of the year.

"We were shut down for six months in New York, and I didn't throw a ball for another month after things began to open up," Sellens said. "I got back into the swing of things at the beginning of the year and started to bowl a few events, which put me back in the right mindset. There's something about these tournaments. I'm able to bear down and make shots."

Sellens was able to work on some issues with her timing during Wednesday's practice session to put up scores of 257, 221, 246, 208 and 216 on this week's 42-foot oil pattern.

"I felt really good today, considering I was a little fast and my timing was off yesterday," Sellens said. "For me, it was about keeping my angles in front of me and keeping the pocket in play, which plays into what I do really well."

Competition resumes Friday with the second round of qualifying at noon Eastern. After 15 games, the field will be cut to the top 63 players and Dasha Kovalova of Ukraine, who is guaranteed a spot in the double-elimination bracket as the defending champion.

Kovalova finished the first round with a 1,099 total and is tied for 17th place.

Match play will begin Sunday, with all matches prior to the stepladder finals featuring a three-game total-pinfall format. Bracket play resumes Monday, with the top five athletes advancing to Tuesday's stepladder finals at 8 p.m. Eastern on BowlTV.

With the finals being broadcast on BowlTV, the top seed will have to be defeated twice in the true double-elimination format.

The champion at the 2021 Queens will take home the $20,000 first-place prize and tiara awarded to the winner.