ORLANDO, Fla. - Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, fired 267 in her final game Friday to take the lead and create some distance between herself and the rest of the field at the BowlerX.com Professional Women's Bowling Association Orlando Open.
The 2019 U.S. Women's Open champion went from second place in the standings at Boardwalk Bowl to holding a 111-pin lead over the field with the big game, finishing the day with a 16-game total of 3,571, a 223.19 average over two rounds.
Colombia's Rocio Restrepo is second with 3,460, and Katelyn Simpson of Emmett, Idaho, is third with 3,451. Giselle Poss of Nashville, Tennessee, is fourth with 3,433, and Colombia's Maria José Rodriguez, who is looking to make her third consecutive championship-round appearance, is fifth with 3,431.
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 4 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.
Ukraine's Dasha Kovalova moved from 26th place to 12th in the final round to earn the last spot into the Round of 12, averaging more than 220 in her final block to finish with a 3,367 total, a 210.44 average. Kovalova rolled 300 in the title match last week to win the Pepsi PWBA Louisville Open for her second title of the 2019 season.
While most players in the top 12 struggled during their second block Friday, McEwan was able to maintain her pace, rolling eight-game scores of 1,771 and 1,800 to get to the lead.
"I honestly didn't like the pattern that much, especially this morning," said McEwan, a five-time PWBA Tour champion. "I wasn't seeing it very well and was having trouble carrying again, which has been the trend for me the last few weeks. I was getting frustrated, and then just kind of tried to change what I was trying to do. I started to see it, and I just ran with it from there.
"Going into that last game, I knew I had a good look. I wanted to knock down as many pins as I could to get myself in good shape for tomorrow."
McEwan also was in a strong spot heading into Saturday's Round of 12 last week at Executive Strike and Spare, but she dropped from second place to ninth during the final six games to miss the stepladder finals.
She's going to keep her focus on what she's seeing at Boardwalk Bowl on Saturday in hopes of making her fourth championship-round appearance of the season.
"Saturday's have been very challenging for some reason," McEwan said. "The lanes have been a little different for me, and not in a way that's favored me. So, I'm going to keep an open mindset tomorrow and adjust to what's out there."
A total of 32 players earned spots in the elite field at the 2019 BowlerX.com PWBA Orlando Open. The top 24 players on the 2019 PWBA points list (through the Pepsi PWBA Louisville Open) secured automatic spots in the field, while a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) held Thursday at Boardwalk Bowl determined the bowlers filling the rest of the field.
Singapore's Cherie Tan was the lone player in the top 24 not to 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.