Paula Vidad wins 2011 USBC Senior Queens

Paula Vidad of Sun City, Calif., claimed the 2011 USBC Senior Queens title in record fashion as she defeated defending champion Char Hammel of Las Vegas at the Oncenter Convention Center on Wednesday.

Vidad put together games of 225, 221 and 269 for a 715 series, the highest championship-match score in Senior Queens history, while Hammel finished with 211, 225 and 202 for a 638 set. Hammel previously held the record with 705, which she shot on the way to the crown in El Paso, Texas, last year.

Only 10 pins separated Vidad and Hammel after the second game of their three-game title bout, but Vidad started the finale with a spare and five strikes to pull away. Hammel spared in frames four through six and never recovered.

"This is the most prestigious event there is for us, and I'm so excited right now," said Vidad, a 51-year-old right-hander, who qualified fifth and then averaged 215.8 on the way to a 6-0 match-play record. "I've always wanted to win a USBC title in my career, and this is amazing. You can win at the city and state level, but to do it on a national level is what you dream of doing."

Because the Senior Queens uses a true double-elimination format, Hammel needed to defeat Vidad twice to become the first bowler in the event's 11-year history to claim back-to-back titles. Last year, she beat defending champion Janine Primrose of Gardnerville, Nev., to win the event.

"For not having what I felt was the best look, I had a very good week," said Hammel, who qualified 26th and then averaged 211 on the way to a 5-2 match-play record. "There's definitely a fair amount of pressure as the defending champion and knowing that you have to beat someone twice to win again. I knew going in how great Paula was throwing the ball and how comfortable she was, and I knew it would take a lot to get by her. But it was a great week overall, and I'm extremely happy."

The victory earned Vidad a check for $3,500, a tiara, pendant and trophy, while Hammel earned $1,800 for second place. This year's Senior Queens featured 76 of the world's best female bowlers age 50 and older.