ADDISON, Ill. - Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio, may have been disappointed by the show she and Lindsay Boomershine of Perry, Utah, put on in the championship match of the 2016 Professional Women's Bowling Association St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open, but the sound of "two-time PWBA champion" over the public address system definitely had a mood-changing ring to it.
Restrepo, who won the PWBA Greater Detroit Open earlier in the year for her first title, claimed her second at the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open with a 165-134 win over Boomershine at Stardust Bowl. It was the lowest scoring title match in PWBA history with a 299 total pinfall.
The record previously belonged to Anne Marie Duggan and Cheryl Daniels, who posted a 306 total with games of 166 and 140, respectively, in March 1993. The lowest single-game pinfall in a championship game belongs to Toni Gillard, who shot 133 in a 1985 loss.
"I obviously feel happy that I won, but I definitely wanted to throw it better," said Restrepo, a longtime member of the Colombian national bowling team. "Sometimes, the lights and how the lanes are broken down in practice can change things quite a bit. I just made sure to stick to my strategy, and I stayed focused on doing what I needed to do to stay ahead."
Restrepo joins three-time winner Shannon O'Keefe of O'Fallon, Illinois, and reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York (two wins), as the only competitors with multiple titles in 2016.
Along with the $10,000 top prize, the win gave Restrepo enough competition points to land her in second place on the 2016 PWBA points list, earning her an automatic spot in the semifinals of the upcoming Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship, which will be held in Midlothian, Virginia, from Sept. 1-4.
Not only will the PWBA Tour Championship wrap up the 2016 season, it also will determine the player of the year, which is based on total points for the season.
Heading into the final event, only two competitors have a chance at the honor - Restrepo and Johnson. If Restrepo wins the tournament, she gets the player-of-the-year nod and redemption for a bitter end to the 2015 season. Anything less than a win from Restrepo, and Johnson repeats.
"It feels good that I'm actually seeded onto the Tour Championship show this year, especially after the heartbreaking loss to Kelly one match before TV last year," Restrepo said. "I left there not knowing when I would get a chance like that again, and that I'd have to wait a whole year for that event. This year, I've been more consistent and didn't miss any events, which actually cost me a better seeding last year. Now, it feels good to know all I have to do is focus on two matches and 24 good shots like I did today, even though it didn't show in the scores."
Restrepo earned her spot in the final of the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open with a 214-211 semifinal win against Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey. The 28-year-old right-hander led by 25 pins after four frames and was able to hang on, despite a chopped spare in the eighth-frame.
Despite two splits in the opening TV match of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open, Kulick managed to edge 2015 PWBA Rookie of the Year Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, 198-192, when Johnson failed to double in her final frame.
Since the return of the PWBA in 2015, Kulick has made an unmatched 10 championship-round appearances but has been unable to find the winner's circle.
Kulick, Johnson and Restrepo all now are headed to the PWBA Tour Championship, but Boomershine again finds herself just short of the points-list cutline. Boomershine needed to win the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open to earn her spot in the season-ending event. Click here to see the bracket for the 2016 Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship.
"Ever since I graduated, I've had the chance compete in events like the Queens and U.S. Open, but I felt like that wasn't enough because it only happened once a year," Restrepo said. "I really wanted a chance to see and show how versatile I could be, and the Tour has allowed me to do that. I know I still have a lot of work to do, but these wins really have boosted my confidence for other events. I finally did it, and now, I want to keep getting titles and moving forward with my career."
All qualifying and match play rounds of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open were held at Seminole Lanes in Seminole, Florida, on July 15-16 and contested on a challenging 40-foot oil pattern.
The stepladder finals were held Aug. 7 at Stardust Bowl in conjunction with the 2016 U.S. Women's Open.