EAGAN, Minn. - Through 12 games of qualifying at the 2021 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Twin Cities Open, Erin McCarthy of Elkhorn, Nebraska, has put on a dominating performance to lead the field heading into the final day at Cedarvale Lanes.
McCarthy, who is coming off a successful run at the season-opening PWBA Kickoff Classic Series in January, averaged more than 233 over two six-game blocks to finish with a 2,801 total. She holds a 98-pin lead over England’s Verity Crawley, who sits in second with a 2,703 total.
Ukraine’s Dasha Kovalova is third with 2,649, and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, and Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, round out the top five with 2,647 and 2,644, respectively.
Two-time reigning PWBA Player of the Year Shannon O’Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, is the defending champion at the event and is tied for sixth place with 2,628.
The 65-player field was cut to the top 32 athletes after Friday’s second round, and Taylor Bulthuis of Coral Springs, Florida, earned the final spot with a 2,438 total, a 203.17 average.
“Just as I did in January, I didn’t have much time to prepare due to my job as a registered nurse, so I’m very happy with the results,” said McCarthy, who won the 2018 PWBA Louisville Open. “I think the lack of expectations has made me a lot more relaxed, which has led to some really good bowling these first few events.”
Crawley, who is making her season debut after dealing with a multitude of visa issues that prevented her from bowling the Kickoff Classic Series, roared into second place after starting her second block with games of 290 and 279.
“I had no expectations coming into the week,” said Crawley, who finished as the runner-up to O’Keefe at the 2019 PWBA Twin Cities Open. “I am just grateful to be back bowling a PWBA event and am trying to enjoy being out on the lanes once again.”
The 32 advancers will bowl an additional six-game round starting Saturday at 11 a.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 finals will be Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern and be broadcast live on BowlTV.com. The champion will earn $10,000.
The PWBA Tour is resuming after a near three-month hiatus, following the Kickoff Classic Series. The 2021 season will feature 20 events, and the Twin Cities Open marks the beginning of a 14-event run that goes through the end of August.