SPOKANE, Wash. - Liz Johnson of Niagara Falls, New York, averaged more than 236 during her final nine games Friday at Lilac Lanes & Casino to roll to the top of the leaderboard after two rounds at the Professional Women's Bowling Association Spokane Open.
The 25-time PWBA Tour titlist bounced back after a slow start to roll 783 in her final three games during Friday's opening six-game round for a 1,363 total and nearly matched the effort in Round 2 (1,348) to finish with a 2,711 total, a 225.92 average.
Ukraine's Dasha Kovalova is second with a 2,666 total, and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, is third with 2,632.
Team Singapore's New Hui Fen and Daphne Tan round out the top five with 2,536 and 2,514, respectively.
The 66-player field was cut to the top 32 players after Friday's second round, with Taylor Bailey of Joliet, Illinois, hanging on for the final spot with a 2,327 total, a 193.92 average. Bailey, a rookie on tour this season, is coming off a regional victory earlier in August at the PWBA Dallas/Fort Worth Regional.
Johnson, a United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer, rolled games of 270, 259 and 254 to close her first-round block on this week's 45-foot oil pattern to take over the top spot in the final game, and she maintained the lead throughout the second round.
She's looking to make her third championship-round appearance and record her second win of the season. Johnson claimed victory at the PWBA Lincoln Open in May, which included a 300 game in the semifinals.
Kovalova is in search of her third title of the season, and fifth of her career, after collecting wins at the PWBA Twin Cities Open and PWBA Louisville Open.
McEwan is looking for her second title of the 2021 season after winning the Professional Bowlers Association/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles event in August with EJ Tackett. She now owns six PWBA Tour titles.
New and Tan are part of a six-player contingent from Singapore making their first appearance on the PWBA Tour in nearly two years. New, the 2016 PWBA Rookie of the Year, and Tan will be joined in the next round by 2016 USBC Queens champion Bernice Lim (2,493) and two-time winner Shayna Ng (2,353).
Saturday's third round will consist of an additional six games starting at 1 p.m. Eastern, with the top 12 returning to the lanes for one more six-game round to complete qualifying. The top four players, based on total pinfall for 24 games, will advance to the stepladder finals.
The stepladder will be Saturday at 9 p.m. Eastern and broadcast live on BowlTV.com. The champion will earn $10,000.