FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. – Mother’s Day is a day each year where children honor their mothers for being great, and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, gave her mother an early present Saturday by winning the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Fountain Valley Open.
McEwan, the No. 3 seed, ran the stepladder and defeated Bryanna Coté of Red Rock, Arizona, in the title match, 215-182, to win her fourth career PWBA Tour title. In the process, she joined last week’s PWBA Sonoma County Open champion Shannon O’Keefe of O’Fallon, Illinois, as the only players to win a title in each season since the relaunch of the PWBA Tour in 2015.
The stepladder finals were streamed live on Xtra Frame, the Professional Bowlers Association’s online bowling channel.
In the championship match, McEwan began with three consecutive strikes, which echoed a tone she’d set in her previous matches by getting off to strong starts. Coté struggled to find a look early in the match, but she still managed to give herself a chance to win with strikes in the eighth and ninth frames. McEwan countered with a strike in the ninth, and she sealed the victory with a spare to start the 10th frame to collect the $10,000 top prize.
“This means the world to me, especially on this tour,” McEwan said. “This year, in particular, the talent is unbelievable. The girls have come back and have gotten so much better from the first year to the second year and all the way through. Every week out here is grueling, the shots are hard and it’s really taken everything I have to make it through each round. So, to come out on top, this one’s a great feeling.”
McEwan didn’t record an open frame during her three wins. It’s a fact she didn’t even notice because she was intently focused on keeping her process the same throughout the stepladder finals. Her mental game has played an important role in her continued development as a player, and it’s something she’s focused on improving since last season.
“My main keys have been being positive and being patient,” McEwan said. “My downward spirals come from when I start to panic and I’m not patient, and it affects my physical game. I saw a lot of that last year. So, this year is about being patient, being positive and trying to keep everything as even-keel as possible.”
In McEwan’s three previous wins, her mother, Susan Varano, had been present for each victory. With the stepladder finals being held in the host center during the 2018 season, Varano was not in attendance for this championship-round appearance.
This presented a different feeling and vibe for McEwan, who was used to looking up and seeing her mother watching on as a spectator. But, perhaps more than anything, it provided McEwan a different perspective and understanding of just how important her mother is and has been.
“My family is very important to me,” McEwan said. “But, with Mother’s Day in particular, this is my first win where my mom hasn’t been here. It’s one of those things you kind of take for granted almost. I don’t mean to, but she’s just always been here. And, today while bowling, it caught me a couple times and I said, ‘wow, she’s not here. This is really weird.’ I know she was at home glued to the computer and sitting next to my grandmother probably all screaming and crying. It’s all good. Happy Mother’s Day, mom.”
McEwan advanced to the title match after defeating No. 2 seed Rocio Restrepo of Louisville, Ohio, 247-209. Restrepo was looking for her fourth career PWBA Tour title.
In the opening match, McEwan defeated local favorite Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, 220-202.
Competition this week at the PWBA Fountain Valley Open at Fountain Bowl included two eight-game qualifying blocks on Friday to determine the 32 players for Saturday's Round of 32. An additional eight-game block Saturday morning narrowed the field to 12 players, who bowled six additional games to determine the stepladder finalists.
The 2018 PWBA Tour season continues next week with the first major of the season at the United States Bowling Congress Queens at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.
Qualifying and match-play rounds of PWBA Tour events are broadcast on Xtra Frame, which also will be the livestream home for the stepladder finals of seven standard events.
Go to PWBA.com for more information about the PWBA Tour.