SARASOTA, Fla. - Patience often is a key to victory, and that was the case for Taylor Bulthuis of New Port Richey, Florida, who captured her first career Professional Women’s Bowling Association regional title Saturday afternoon.
The 26-year-old right-hander defeated Amanda Flood, 243-180, in the first PWBA regional of the 2020 season. The event was held at Sarasota Lanes in Sarasota, Florida.
The event’s eight-game qualifying round and stepladder finals were broadcast live at BowlTV.com.
Bulthuis, the No. 2 seed for the stepladder, opened the title tilt with six consecutive strikes to set the pace, but her run at perfection was stopped by a 10 pin in the seventh frame.
Flood started the match with a double but missed a 3-6-9-10 in the third frame and a 4-6-7-9-10 split (Greek Church) in the fourth frame, and she never was able to recover.
After a tough start to 2020, which included a subpar performance in Las Vegas at the United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials and falling ill at the end of the tournament, Bulthuis was able to rebound.
“It is such a relief,” said Bulthuis, who will continue her quest for her first PWBA national title when the 2020 season kicks off in April. “I feel this season is going to be really good. After bowling in every PTQ last year, and advancing through them all, I don’t want to be in that position again this year. I want to be in a position where I don’t have to stress, worry or fly out not knowing how I’m going to finish.
“So, this win for me is definitely a confidence booster especially after my horrible time at Team Trials in Las Vegas. It’s special, too. It’s my first PWBA win, whether it was a regional or not. I’m proud of myself.”
Bulthuis advanced to the title match by defeating No. 4 Alyssa Ferraro of Deltona, Florida, 215-201. The match came down to the final frame, with Bulthuis needing a strike and any spare to fill 20 pins to shut out Ferraro.
Bulthuis got the strike she needed but left a 4-6-7 split on her second shot. She got two on the fill shot, which allowed Ferraro a chance to throw three strikes to tie. Ferraro left a 10 pin on her opening shot to end the match.
“Today, patience was my word,” Bulthuis said. “I told myself that all day long. I said in the match against Alyssa that spares were going to win, which is normal for me. That’s how I felt during the PTQs last year. Spares got me through them all. If I stayed clean and made the best shots I could, regardless of the 10th not being the best against her, it worked out in my favor.”
In the opening match, Ferraro defeated PWBA regional champion Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Florida, 259-161. Bolton captured the 2019 Greater Cleveland Regional to kick off the 2019 PWBA season.
The Sarasota Regional featured 23 players, with the top four qualifiers advancing to the stepladder finals based on their eight-game qualifying totals.
The 2020 PWBA regional schedule includes 10 events, with six following a national stop on the 2020 PWBA Tour schedule.
The next regional event will be the PWBA East Providence Regional at East Providence Lanes in Rumford, Rhode Island, on Feb. 22