ORLANDO, Fla. - After a disappointing performance at last week's Pepsi Professional Women's Bowling Association Louisville Open, Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska, quickly showed she was ready to bounce back and cruised to the top spot Thursday at the pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) at the BowlerX.com PWBA Orlando Open.
McCarthy fired games of 259, 244 and 243 to start her eight-game block at Boardwalk Bowl on her way to a 1,826 total, a 228.25 average, to earn her spot into the elite field.
A total of nine players advanced from the 53-player field, including Taylor Bulthuis of Coral Springs, Florida, who finished second with 1,728. Bulthuis was the only player to qualify from the PTQ in each of the three elite-field events this season.
The top 24 players on the 2019 PWBA points list (through the Pepsi PWBA Louisville 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 the lone player in the top 24 not to compete this week, allowing one additional player to advance from the PTQ.
Other players advancing include Jen Higgins of Westerville, Ohio; Ashly Galante of Palm Harbor, Florida; Canada's Caroline Lagrange; Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio; Katelyn Simpson of Emmett, Idaho; Jodi Woessner of Oregon, Ohio; and Lauren Pate of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.
Pate earned the final spot with a 1,634 total, a 204.25 average.
McCarthy struggled throughout last week's event at Executive Strike and Spare, admitting her execution and spare shooting were not up to par.
She came into this week's event with a new outlook, and it showed with her strong start.
"Last week was my worst tournament in several years," said McCarthy, the 2018 PWBA Louisville Open champion. "I can't even tell you how many bad shots, errors and stupid mistakes I made. You're going to have those tournaments, though, and there's not much you can do about it. It's just not your day. But, that's all on me. It's important to build off that and learn from it. You can't drag it with you to the next event. So, I came into this week with a fresh mindset and just wanted to make good shots."
McCarthy added games of 191, 237, 216, 209 and 227 to finish her block, and she hopes past success at Boardwalk Bowl coupled with her performance Thursday will lead to a strong week.
McCarthy made the televised broadcast at last year's U.S. Women's Open at Boardwalk Bowl, finishing in third place, and was tied for seventh at the 2017 PWBA Orlando Open, also held at the 80-lane venue.
"From the start of practice, I saw a shape that I like to see," McCarthy said. "I actually only used one ball for almost the entire day and just made moves and spares - those were the most important keys. I physically threw the ball well, and I'm going to try to take that momentum into tomorrow. I tend to like this house in general, so I hope that plays to my advantage as well."
The BowlerX.com PWBA Orlando 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 at 10 a.m. Eastern, and total pinfall for 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 4 p.m. Eastern.
BowlTV.com is providing livestream coverage of all rounds leading up to the stepladder finals.