Gazmine Mason leads opening round at 2022 USBC Queens

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ADDISON, Ill. - Gazmine Mason of Cranston, Rhode Island, averaged more than 243 to snag the overall lead after Round 1 of the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Queens.

Mason had a strong start to her week at Stardust Bowl and tossed games of 225, 239, 278, 216 and 259 for a 1,217 five-game total.

Ukraine’s Dasha Kovalova, the 2019 USBC Queens champion, was second with 1,195, and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York (1,185), Poland’s Daria Pajak (1,137) and Olivia Farwell of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania (1,135), round out the top five.

The Queens is the second event and first major championship on the 2022 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour schedule. The finals will be broadcast live Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network. All qualifying and match-play rounds leading up to the televised finals are streaming live at BowlTV.com.

For Mason, the old saying “patience is a virtue,” is exactly the attitude she used to claim the overall lead Thursday.

“I'm just staying patient,” said Mason, who cashed at the season-opening PWBA Rockford Open last week. “I think my patience has grown over the past couple years. Sometimes I want to strike right away, but I’m more aware of what’s going on. I’ll tell myself, ‘Hey, you don't have to start out the game with four or five (strikes) in a row. Be patient and let them come to you.’ So, I really think that patience and awareness has been key for me.”

Mason will bowl on the “burn” Friday afternoon and will rely on some of the information she learned Thursday to assist but also will let her eyes be her guide as she navigates a different challenge.

“I ended on a pair that was a little tighter and had been migrating left throughout the day,” Mason said. “I was around 15 or 16 at the arrows when I made the move right, so tomorrow I’ll see what the first shot does and maybe start around 15 and move left from there. We’ll see what happens. But, who knows? You never know until you throw a ball.”

Kovalova began the season with a ninth-place finish at the Rockford Open and has rolled over her success to the Queens this week after firing games of 235, 269, 247, 218 and 226 on the 42-foot lane condition. She spent the offseason working on her mental game and gaining a better understanding of lane play, along with her equipment. It’s paying off early.

“I think the good start shows I can do things right,” Kovalova said. “It gives me confidence to believe in myself and what I do on the lanes. And, it shows that all the work I did in the offseason was useful.”

Competition resumes Friday with the second round of qualifying at 10 a.m. Eastern. After 15 games, the field will be cut to the top 63 players and Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, who is guaranteed a spot in the double-elimination bracket as the defending champion.

Bond finished the first round with a 1,011 total and is tied for 62nd 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 on CBS Sports Network.

The 2022 Queens champion will take home the $60,000 first-place prize and tiara awarded to the winner.