LOUISVILLE, Ky. - United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Palatine, Illinois, continued her strong run at the 2019 Pepsi Professional Women's Bowling Association Louisville Open and now leads the field by nearly 150 pins after two rounds.
Johnson rolled an eight-game block of 1,828 on Thursday evening to nearly match her 1,826 effort earlier in the day at Executive Strike and Spare to push her overall score for 16 games to 3,654, a 228.38 average.
Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, is second with 3,505, one pin ahead of Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas. Ukraine's Dasha Kovalova is fourth with 3,492, and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, is fifth with 3,474.
The top 12 players through 16 games advanced to Saturday's Round of 12, which will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. After six additional games, the top five bowlers based on 22-game pinfall totals will advance to Saturday's live televised final, which will air at 5 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.
England's Verity Crawley claimed the final spot in the next round, finishing Thursday in 12th place with a 3,326 total, a 207.88 average. Defending PWBA Louisville Open champion Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska, finished in 32nd place.
Johnson, a 24-time PWBA Tour titlist and three-time PWBA Player of the Year (2015-2017), is looking to put herself in position to claim her first title of 2019 season after admitting to some struggles throughout the season.
Last week, she missed the Round of 12 at the PWBA East Hartford Open in East Hartford, Connecticut, finishing in 22nd place. She's been focusing on getting into a better finish position and has relied on her ball speed this week to create the right look to the pocket.
"It's been kind of a struggle for me the last few weeks out here," said Johnson, who finished in third place at the 2019 PWBA Lincoln Open in May. "My physical game hasn't been as sharp as it usually is, and I've had a little more trouble with my knee and even my ball reaction. But, I've been spending the last few weeks really working on my leverage and staying down, and it's helped me make better shots."
A total of 32 players earned spots in the elite field at the 2019 Pepsi PWBA Louisville Open. The top 24 players on the 2019 PWBA points list (through the PWBA East Hartford Open) secured automatic spots in the field, while a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) held Thursday at Executive Strike and Spare determined the bowlers filling the rest of the field.
Singapore's Cherie Tan was the lone player in the top 24 to not compete this week, which allowed nine bowlers to advance from the PTQ.
BowlTV.com is providing livestream coverage of all rounds leading up to the stepladder finals.