Barnes leads opening round at 2023 USBC Queens

LAS VEGAS – On a day when less than 25 percent of the field averaged 200, Josie Barnes of Hermitage, Tennessee, averaged nearly 230 to capture the overall lead after Round 1 of qualifying at the 2023 United States Bowling Congress Queens.

Barnes had a strong start to her week at Sam’s Town Bowling Center, breaking 200 during all five games of Thursday’s opening round (278, 200, 246, 201 and 222) for an 1,147 five-game total (a 229.4 average).

Heather Erdei of Omaha, Nebraska, was second with 1,127 while Iliana Lomeli of Mexico was third at 1,123. Carlene Beyer of Ogdensburg, Wisconsin (1,121) and Abby Ragsdale of Aurora, Illinois (1,112), secured the final spots in the Day 1 top five.

The Queens is the third event and first major championship on the 2023 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

For Barnes, a four-time PWBA Tour champion, getting to the top of the leaderboard on Day 1 involved executing a very simple plan.

“I just tried to keep the ball in front of me and not give the head pin away,” Barnes said. “I watched A Squad in the morning, and the lanes didn’t look fun at all. My goal coming in was just to try to make tomorrow and the following day as easy as possible, and I’m walking away feeling good about that.”

Now, the 34-year-old right-hander hopes to continue those good feelings and take another step toward capturing her second career major title – she won the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open – when she gets back on the lanes Friday morning for Round 2.

However, Barnes has more than enough Queens experience to know that the object of the first three days is simply to keep yourself in position to make the cut to match play.

“The goal of this tournament is to make that bracket,” Barnes said. “The way that I bowled today should make it a little easier to do that, which gives me a lot of confidence.”

Barnes should be confident at the Queens as she advanced to the TV finals and finished fifth during her debut appearance in 2012, and she’s gone on to record multiple top-10 finishes in the years that have followed.

For Barnes, there’s just something about Queens match play that brings out her best.

“I like getting into that head-to-head match-play format because it’s just you and one other person; you can figure out the equation that’s on the lane,” Barnes said. “I always look forward to this event.”

Barnes and the rest of the bowlers on B Squad will be back on the lanes when 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 Birgit Noreiks of Germany, who is guaranteed a spot in the double-elimination bracket as the defending champion.

Noreiks finished the first round with a 968 total and is tied for 74th 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 2023 Queens champion will take home the $60,000 first-place prize and tiara awarded to the winner.

For more information on the USBC Queens, visit