By Daniel Farish and Aaron Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Ashly Galante of Palm Harbor, Florida, has stayed sharp leading into her trip to the 2019 Pepsi Professional Women's Bowling Association Louisville Open, and it showed Thursday at the pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) as she earned her spot into the elite field.
Galante led the 56-player field with an eight-game total of 1,703 at Executive Strike and Spare, and she fired 248 in the final game to take the top spot. A total of nine players advanced into the main field, including Katelyn Simpson of Emmett, Idaho, and Summer Jasmin of Beckley, West Virginia, who tied for second place with 1,679.
The top 24 players on the 2019 PWBA points list (through the PWBA East Hartford Open) already earned a spot into the main field at this week's event, which kicks off Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern with the opening round of qualifying.
Singapore's Cherie Tan was in the top 24 points but did not compete this week, allowing one additional player to advance from the PTQ.
Other players advancing include Megan Szczepanski of Lockport, Illinois; Kimi Rampone of Lewisville, Texas; Canada's Caroline Lagrange; Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska; Christine Gill of Lebanon, Illinois; and Taylor Bulthuis of Coral Springs, Florida.
Bulthuis jumped into the number the final game by rolling 236 to finish in ninth place with a 1,599 total, a 199.88 average.
McCarthy, the defending PWBA Louisville Open champion, also moved into the cut in the final game after finishing her block with games of 236, 241 and 227 to post a 1,608 score.
Galante skipped last week's event in East Hartford, Connecticut, but that didn't mean she was taking it easy.
"I've still been practicing back home and started doing double sessions with my personal trainer," Galante said. "I bowled a (Professional Bowlers Association) regional last weekend while the women were in Connecticut to help stay sharp. That event forced me to move left really quick, so it really helped me stay on top of my moves today."
Galante started her block with games of 184, 223, 166, 210, 278, 203 and 191 before her strong finish to average 212.88 on Thursday. As she prepares for the main event, she hopes to maintain the positive aspects she's brought to Executive Strike and Spare in both her physical and mental games.
"It was tough today," Galante said. "The lanes were challenging, and there was never a moment where you felt like it was given to you. I was fortunate to trip a couple of 4 pins here and there, but I really had to make shots. Going into this week, I just want to be the bowler I've been these last few weeks. I've been really solid at the line, my spare shooting has been good and mentally, I've been in a very calm state of mind. If all of that turns into a win, great. But no matter what, that's who I'm going to be."
The Pepsi PWBA Louisville Open will feature a pair of eight-game qualifying rounds Friday to cut the field from 32 players to 12. The Round of 12 will feature six additional games starting Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern, and total pinfall after 22 games will determine the top five players advancing to the stepladder finals.
The stepladder finals will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern.
BowlTV.com is providing livestream coverage of all rounds leading up to the stepladder finals.