ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - Fresh off a victory at the Professional Women's Bowling Association Spokane Open, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, is ready to put her title on the line this week at the 2021 U.S. Women's Open.
The event kicks off Wednesday at Double Decker Lanes with the tournament's official practice sessions, and the season's second major will conclude in record fashion Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Eastern, live on CBS Sports Network.
The winner of the 2021 U.S. Women's Open will take home a record-setting top prize of $100,000 and the coveted green jacket. The event will feature an overall prize fund of $275,000.
McEwan won the 2019 U.S. Women's Open in North Las Vegas, Nevada, in a dramatic finish over Indonesia's Tannya Roumimper, 201-199, to claim her second major title.
Stepping up in the 10th frame at Texas Star Lanes, McEwan needed two strikes and eight pins to take home the title and was able to deliver a double and topple nine pins on her final shot.
The 29-year-old right-hander recently was able to reflect on that performance after securing her seventh career PWBA Tour title Saturday at the Spokane Open, where she needed a mark in her final frame to defeat United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Niagara Falls, New York, and rolled a strike on her first delivery on the way to a 203-192 win.
"The U.S. Women's Open is the biggest and most prestigious event we bowl, and it was such a huge honor and big success in my career to win in 2019," McEwan said after her win Saturday at Lilac Lanes & Casino. "After 2020, though, it honestly feels like it happened in a previous lifetime. I would go back and watch that video to look for some things in my physical game. I would watch that 10th frame, and it was kind of like, 'How did I do that?' I feel like today kind of reminded me how I did that. I think that's going to help me going into the U.S. Women's Open."
The 10-time Team USA member planned to take a short break to allow her body to recover after the win in Spokane, knowing she'll need to make her way through 56 games and four challenging lane conditions to make it back to CBS Sports Network.
The 2021 event will feature three eight-game qualifying rounds, starting Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern, to determine the 24 players advancing to a fourth eight-game block. Each of the four rounds will feature a different oil pattern.
After 32 games, the 24 athletes will begin round-robin match play, starting Sunday, with the fourth oil pattern being used for the remainder of the event.
Match play will consist of three eight-game rounds, with total pinfall and bonus pins for each victory determining the five players advancing to the stepladder finals.
All rounds leading up to the CBS Sports Network broadcast will be livestreamed at BowlTV.com.
With the recent addition of television, plus the first six-figure first-place prize in the history of professional women's bowling, competitors will have to manage a few different emotions as they look to etch their names in the tournament's long and storied record book.
McEwan is motivated by the chance to again bowl under the bright lights, but she's not letting the thought of collecting a record-breaking check affect her game plan or goals.
"Having the opportunity to possibly bowl on TV is going to give me a lot of encouragement and kind of be a driving force," said McEwan, who won the 2021 Professional Bowlers Association/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles with EJ Tackett earlier in August. "There's nothing like being able to bowl on a live show. If I'm thinking about the prize fund, though, then I'm a step behind. I never bowl for money. I bowl because I love bowling and want to be the best. I want to hold that trophy at the end. I'm going to do my best to not focus on the prize fund, and hopefully it just works itself out at the end."
McEwan's performance in Spokane also helped her into the tightly contested race for PWBA Player of the Year. The PWBA Player of the Year award is determined by the season-long points list.
Ukraine's Dasha Kovalova has reclaimed the top spot on the list heading into the U.S. Women's Open with 101,280 points, but she has three players within 5,000 points of her total and another three within 15,000 points.
England's Verity Crawley (98,200), Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois (96,830), and two-time reigning PWBA Player of the Year Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois (96,645), join Kovalova in the top four through 16 of the 20 events scheduled for the 2021 season.
Johnson, a six-time U.S. Women's Open champion, leads the next group of challengers with 90,110 and is followed by Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California (88,212.5), and McEwan (86,595).
Junior Team USA member Jillian Martin of Stow, Ohio, also will be competing at the 2021 U.S. Women's Open. The 17-year-old recently made history at the PWBA BowlTV Classic on Aug. 10, becoming the youngest bowler to win a PWBA Tour event after defeating Crawley in the title match, 221-188.