PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio - Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Florida, captured her first Professional Women's Bowling Association Regional title Sunday at the PWBA Greater Cleveland Regional.
The 26-year-old right-hander defeated Valerie Bercier of Spring Lake, Michigan, at Yorktown Lanes, 237-221, to record the win and earn her spot at the Go Bowling! PWBA Regional Showdown in August.
The qualifying round and stepladder finals of the PWBA Greater Cleveland Regional were broadcast live at BowlTV.com.
The championship match came down to the final frame as Bolton, finishing the match first, delivered three strikes to force Bercier to strike on her first shot of the 10th frame for a chance to claim the $1,500 top prize.
Bercier, who had struck on her previous four shots, got her ball to the pocket on the first shot but left a 7-10 split to let Bolton claim the win.
"Stepping up in the 10th, I was thinking to just breathe," said Bolton, a five-time Junior Team USA member. "I tend to get really quick, so I was just trying to take my time and breathe before every shot. This win means everything. It actually was my goal. I wanted to bowl well in the main event, but since I didn't make the top 24 last year, I knew this was the year to try and win a regional and get to the Showdown."
Bolton competed at the Nationwide PWBA Greater Cleveland Open earlier in the week at Yorktown Lanes, finishing in 59th place. She wanted to apply what she learned during Friday's qualifying rounds on Sunday and do her best to fill frames.
"I really tried to take what I learned Friday and bring it in today," Bolton said. "I struggled with spares a little bit on Friday, so I was really focused on staying clean all day and staying ahead of the moves."
Bolton earned the top seed for the stepladder finals after leading Sunday's eight-game qualifying round with a 1,951 total, which included a 300 game.
The Greater Cleveland Regional featured a total of 56 players, with the top four qualifiers advancing to the stepladder finals.
Bercier, who finished in seventh place at the PWBA Greater Cleveland Open, advanced to the title match by defeating Giselle Poss of Nashville, Tennessee, 268-243.
Poss had the opportunity to shut out Bercier stepping up in the 10th frame but left a 4-6 split which she was unable to convert. Bercier needed a mark to advance and delivered a strike on her first shot to secure the victory.
Poss won the opening match of the stepladder finals by besting Kara Mangiola of Rochester, New York, 243-234.
The 2019 PWBA Regional schedule includes five stops during the 2019 PWBA Tour season. The next event will be held May 12 in conjunction with the PWBA Lincoln Open at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The winners of the first four scheduled regional events will compete in the Go Bowling! PWBA Regional Showdown, a special made-for-TV event to be taped Aug. 17 in conjunction with the PWBA Orlando Open. The event will air Aug. 24 on CBS Sports Network and the winner will receive $6,000.