GREEN BAY, Wis. – When Daria Pajak considered leaving her home in Poland to pursue a college education and bowling career in the United States, she needed an extra push. Her father was the person to do it.
Now, Pajak can call herself a Professional Women’s Bowling Association champion after defeating Verity Crawley, her friend and Webber International teammate, 224-203, to win the 2017 PWBA Greater Detroit Open.
After a spare in the first frame, Pajak rattled off three consecutive strikes before leaving a 3-4-6-7 split in the fifth. The 24-year-old right-hander converted the split and rode the momentum to her first career PWBA title.
It was a title that may never have happened had it not been for her father, and Pajak dedicated the victory to her dad.
“My dad is a great man and has been my idol,” Pajak said. “He’s an athlete. He used to be a bodybuilder, and he has that athlete’s mind, where he knows what it takes to win. He’s always been pushing me outside of my comfort zone.
“Coming to the (United) States was something I always wanted, but if he didn’t push me here, I don’t think I would’ve ever made the decision. Father’s Day back home was a few days ago (the show was taped June 25), and he said the TV show was his present. He doesn’t need anything else.”
Pajak advanced to the title match by defeating 2012 United States Bowling Queens champion Diandra Asbaty of Chicago, 190-186. Asbaty was making her first televised appearance since winning the major title.
The match was close throughout, with Asbaty needing a double in the final frame to advance, but she was unable to strike on her first attempt.
“I was really proud of my spare game, which is my biggest enemy,” said Pajak, who was without an open frame during the final two games on television. “Going into the game with Diandra, I had lost my look, and I couldn’t carry, which shows on the shots where I left a washout and then went high. I was proud of myself and knew I could make all of the spares, so going into the championship game, my confidence was very high.”
In the opening match, Pajak rolled seven consecutive strikes after an early open to defeat Juliana Franco of Colombia, 233-194. Franco was making her second championship-round appearance of the season.
The win earned Pajak $10,000 and a spot in the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship, a 16-player invitation-only event that will include the winners and top point-earners from the 2017 PWBA Tour season.
All qualifying and match-play rounds of the PWBA Greater Detroit Open were held at Super Bowl in Canton, Michigan, on June 16-17.
The stepladder was held June 25 at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in conjunction with the live championship round of the 2017 Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship, the second major of the 2017 PWBA Tour season, and the finals of the PWBA Wichita Open and Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open.