SOUTH GLENS FALLS — The emotional roller coaster ride that Rotterdam native Liz Kuhlkin experienced over the last week is finally over — a bit prematurely.
Her performance in the US Women’s Open wasn’t what she was hoping for, as she failed to make the cashers’ cut or match play. But at least she finished on a positive note Saturday morning and can take a short break from the PWBA Tour knowing that her game didn’t suddenly leave her.
Kuhlkin, the 2018 US Women’s champion, began the week with plenty of momentum. After all, she had just captured her third PWBA Tour triumph in the Long Island Classic. But she struggled during the first round of qualifying on Thursday with an eight-game block of just 1,418 (177 average), and she left Kingpin’s Alley Family Center devastated after finishing 79th in the field of 91 bowlers.
The former Schalmont High School and University of Nebraska standout improved slightly on Friday with a second-round block of 1,540, but she was still way back in the standings with very little chance of gaining a berth in the top 30 cashers’ round.
When she began Saturday’s third round with games of 156, 187 and 124, she turned to her many Capital Region fans in attendance and applauded for her performance. She even recommended that they go elsewhere for their weekend entertainment.
But when one of her ball reps suggested that she move her line of attack well outside, near the fifth board, instead of between the third and fourth arrows on the lane, Kuhlkin’s numbers jumped immediately. She rolled games of 235, 244, 224, 193 and then finished off her tournament with a nifty 258. The 1,621 block left her well short of the cut, but it restored her confidence and her smile.
“The first couple of games of the tournament, I was definitely nervous. At that point, I was not throwing great shots. I wasn’t lined up, and I wasn’t getting a consistent ball reaction,” she said. “You have to be relaxed and pay attention. You must be throwing the ball good to make the right ball moves and lane moves.
Honestly, it [the way she finished] meant everything for me today. I just wanted to end on a good note. I knew it would be a tall task to go 150-over [the 200 mark considered scratch], I will say that if I made that move to the right much earlier, I would have at least a chance of making the cut.
“When I first started out today, every time I didn’t strike, I left a split. It was easy to shoot a 120, which was what I did. Then my ball rep suggested moving to the right, so I moved my feet 15 boards to the right to see what happens. If I had done that earlier, I would have made a run at making the cut.”
Kuhlkin admitted that she was very nervous bowling in front of family and friends so close to home.
“It’s difficult for me. I’ve bowled under a ton of pressure situations my entire career — in college on Team USA and on the PWBA Tour. But it’s a different type of pressure being showcased so close to home,” she explained.
The good news is that Kuhlkin regained her form after her major move on the lanes.
“It took me 20 games, but finally the fans saw the Liz that they all know,” she said. “The last thing I wanted to do was to go into the break questioning if something was wrong with my game. This schedule has been tough. I haven’t had time to enjoy my win last week. The next day, we got up and bowled another tournament, and I bowled like crap. I came home to unwind, but then I missed the cut at the US Open. At least they can’t take away the fact that I won my title last week.”
Kuhlkin said she would most likely come back to Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center to support the center and her colleagues at least once the rest of the tournament. She also posed for a few pictures with Jason Belmonte, one of the PBA Tour’s all-time greats, who stopped by to watch the women pros compete a couple of times this week. Kuhlkin said she’s known Belmonte for quite a while, and that they correspond from time to time when either one of them win a tournament.
Suzie Morine of Castleton-on-Hudson, the only other Capital Region representative in the field, also missed the cut. She finished with 4,489 total pins and a 187.04 average. Her 1,514 third-round block included her final three games of 226, 235 and 224.
Despite relatively low scores during the first two rounds, the scoring was way up in the third round.
Lefty Cherie Tan of Singapore continued her consistent play and remained the overall leader with 5,180 pins for a 215.83 average.
Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio, fired a huge eight-game block of 1,860, including her final four games of 279, 246, 269 and 223. She’s in second place.
“From that  game on, I only had to move one board the entire time,” said the former PWBA Rookie of the Year and a two-time champion. “I stayed on top of it [the transition] and used my ball speed to my advantage. It’s been hard; very grueling I would say. I just stayed on the back of the ball instead of coming around it, and I used my speed.”
Rounding out the top five are Lindsay Boomershine of Brigham City, Utah (5,098), Shayna Ng of Singapore (5,070) and non-member Shannon Sellens of Long Beach (5,063). Twenty-five bowlers averaged 200 or better.
The top 30 bowl eight more games of qualifying Sunday morning, and then the top 24 come back to begin match play Sunday night. Match play continues Monday, with the top five advancing to the stepladder finals Tuesday night. The winner earns $60,000, and the runner-up receives $30,000.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected],
1, Cherie Tan, Singapore, 5,180. 2, Jordan Richard, Maumee, Ohio, 5,110. 3, Lindsay Boomershine, Brigham City, Utah, 5,098. 4, Shayna Ng, Singapore, 5,070. 5, Shannon Sellens (n), Long Beach, NY, 5,063. 6, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 5,020.
7, Erin McCarthy, Elkhorn, Neb., 5.011. 8, New Hui Fen, Singapore, 5,008. 9, Shannon O’Keefe, Shiloh, Ill., 4,999. 10, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, NY, 4,992. 11, Rocio Restrepo, Uniontown, Ohio, 4,982. 12, Birgit Noreiks, Germany, 4,981.
13, Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, NY, 4,980. 14, Daphne Tan, Singapore, 4,931. 15, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 4,930. 16, Verity Crawley, England, 4,925. 17, Missy Parkin, San Clemente, Calif., 4,904. 18, Bryanna Cote, Tucson, Ariz., 4,903.
19, Kerry Smith, Lititz, Pa., 4,902. 20, Kayla Bandy, Wichita, Kan., 4,877. 21, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 4,834. 22, Chelsey Klingler, Grand Rapids, Mich., 4,826. 23, Sydney Brummett, Fort Wayne, Ind., 4,824. 24, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, SC, 4,809.
25, Olivia Farwell, Elizabethtown, Pa., 4,803. 26, Hope Gramly (n), Aubrey, Texas, 4,799. 27, Jenny Wegner, Sweden, 4,798. 28, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 4,797. 29, Jen Higgins, Lewis Center, Ohio, 4,795. 30, Josie Barnes, Hermitage, Tenn., 4,774.
DID NOT ADVANCE
31, Victoria Johansson, Sweden, 4,757. 32, Shalin Zulkifli, Malaysia, 4,751. 33, Maria José Rodriguez, Colombia, 4,750. 34, Taylor Bulthuis, New Port Richey, Fla., 4,746. 35(tie), Anna Andersson (n), Sweden, and Stephanie Schwartz, Racine, Wis., 4,738.
37, Daria Pajak, Poland, 4,730. 38, Estefania Cobo, Puerto Rico, 4,729. 39, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 4,728. 40, Josephine Hermansson (n), Sweden, 4,725. 41, Gazmine Mason, Cranston, RI, 4,718. 42, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 4,716.
43, Maria Bulanova, Russia, 4,708. 44, Anneli Blomqvist, Sweden, 4,707. 45, Justyne Vukovich, New Stanton, Pa., 4,706. 46, Sofia Rodriguez Granda (n), Guatemala, 4,703. 47, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 4,701. 48, Elysia Current, Middletown, Del., 4,692.
49, Felicia Wong, Canada, 4,691. 50, Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., 4,679. 51, Kara Mangiola, Spencerport, NY, 4,678. 52, Katie Robb (n), Swedesboro, NJ, 4,664. 53, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 4,661. 54, Nicollette Gaudette, Keller, Texas, 4,645.
55, Sarah Gill, Fitchburg, Mass., 4,642. 56, Ana Morales, Guatemala, 4,641. 57, Taylor Bailey, Jonesboro, Ark., 4,638. 58, Kayla Crawford, Silvis, Ill., 4,620. 59, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 4,612. 60, Alexis Neuer, Milton, Pa., 4,580.
61, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, NY, 4,579. 62, Stephanie Zavala, Downey, Calif., 4,564. 63, Melanie McDaniel, Joliet, Ill., 4,557. 64, Summer Jasmin, Beckley, W.Va., 4,542. 65, Marissa Allison, Sylvania, Ohio, 4,537. 66, Courtney Ermisch, Big Bend, Wis., 4,533.
67 (tie), Mallory Clark, Auburn, Maine, and Sarah Klassen, Canada, 4,503. 69, Suzanne Morine (n), Castleton on Hudson, NY, 4,489, 70, Marcia Kloempken (n), Pleasant View, Utah, 4,488. 71, Lauren Pate, Ballwin, Mo., 4,484. 72, Jessica Earnest, Hermitage, Tenn., 4,479.
73 (tie), Melissa Kammerer, Staten Island, NY, and Haley Richard, Tipton, Mich., 4,473. 75, Cajsa Wegner, Sweden, 4,449. 76, Kaylene Bishop, Medical Lake, Wash., 4,423. 77, Brooke Roberts (n), Port Orange, Fla., 4,412. 78, Stephanie Martins, Brazil, 4,399.
79, Wendy Bartaire-Jimenez, France, 4,382. 80, Maryssa Carey (n), Hobart, Ind., 4,378. 81, Brianna Andrew, Grand Rapids, Mich., 4,352. 82, Brooke Allen, Potosi, Wis., 4,324. 83, Danielle Knittle, State College, Pa., 4,287. 84, Jennifer Hocurscak, Orange, Conn., 4,272.
85, Jenna Rapach (n), Hazleton, Pa., 4,220. 86, Laura Plazas (n), Bogota, 4,197. 87, Tina LaCroix, Southampton, Mass., 4,148. 88, Lisa Timm, Auburn, Ill., 4,063. 89, Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 2,862 (WD). 90, Alexandra Talerico, Rome, NY, 2,423 (WD).
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