LAS VEGAS - Two-time Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, successfully defended her World Bowling Tour Finals title Sunday by delivering a clutch strike in the final frame.
The 25-year-old right-hander's strike at The Orleans Bowling Center gave her a final score of 203, forcing two-time PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York, to mark in her 10th frame to secure the win.
Johnson's first shot found the pocket, but she left a devastating 7-10 split and was unable to convert, finishing with a final score of 200. McEwan earned $20,000 for the win, while Johnson netted $10,000.
The semifinal and final matches featured the "Current Frame" scoring system, where players earned 30 pins a frame for each strike and 10 pins, plus the total from their first shot of that frame, for a spare. Players earned their total pinfall for the frame for an open.
Bowlers only compete for 10 frames in the "Current Frame" system, so there are no additional shots in the 10th frame if a player strikes or spares. The maximum score is 300.
After starting the title match with two consecutive strikes, McEwan was unable to strike again until the 10th frame, converting four multiple-pin combinations to keep herself in contention. Johnson held a 28-pin lead heading into the ninth frame but was unable to mark in her final two frames.
"In the moment, I didn't think that strike would be enough," said McEwan, who won the 2016 H.H. Emir Cup in Doha, Qatar. "I hadn't struck on that lane in a while, so I just wanted to get to the pocket. It's hard to watch that happen on the bench to someone who's such a good friend and someone I look up to, but sometimes bowling works that way. I need to appreciate being on this side of it, because I know the other side can come just as easily."
Now, McEwan will look forward to continuing to prepare for the upcoming PWBA Tour season, which starts with the PWBA Sonoma County Open in Rohnert Park, California, on April 27-29.
"We'll definitely need some practice before then," said McEwan, who won the 2015 Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship. "My execution wasn't very good, but I walked away with the win, so I'll have to take that momentum into the season."
In the semifinal match, Johnson bested Colombia's Anggie Ramirez Perea, 268-220. Ramirez took home $5,000 for finishing in third place.
Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, captured the men's World Bowling Tour Finals title, defeating Sweden's Martin Larsen in the championship match, 243-213.
The 2016 United States Bowling Congress Masters champion struck on six of his first seven shots in the title tilt to build a 33-pin lead and secured the win on the bench after Larsen did not strike in the 10th frame.
The 20-year-old Simonsen found some redemption at The Orleans Bowling Center after falling short in his title defense at the USBC Masters. Simonsen finished the week tied for 17th place. Australia's Jason Belmonte won his record fourth Masters title earlier in the day Sunday.
"It's been a good three-week swing," said Simonsen, who finished second at the 2017 Barbasol Professional Bowlers Association Players Championship. "I made a TV show, all three cuts, so it's been a good run. You obviously want to win them all, but being able to finish this week with the win makes it all worth it."
In the men's semifinal, Simonsen delivered in a must-strike situation to edge Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, 263-253.
Players earned their spots in the finals based on accumulating points earned in 2016 World Bowling Tour events.