STANDINGS | BRACKET
WICHITA, Kan. - At the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Queens, Shannon Sellens of Long Beach, New York, rolled 221 in her final qualifying game to force a three-way tie and roll-off for the final spot into the tournament's double-elimination bracket.
Her final game of qualifying Saturday at the 2019 event was one pin higher, but it's a much different story for the 36-year-old right-hander as she has stayed near the top of the standings this week at Northrock Lanes.
Sellens finished qualifying with a 3,374 total for 15 games and is second overall. USBC Hall of Famer and two-time Queens champion Liz Johnson of Palatine, Illinois, led the 192-player field with a 3,447 total, a 229.8 average.
Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, qualified third with 3,343, and defending champion Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, is fourth with 3,342. Giselle Poss of Nashville, Tennessee, dropped to fifth place with 3,318 after entering Saturday's competition as the overall leader.
Qualifying and match play at the 2019 Queens, the first major of the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour season, is being livestreamed at BowlTV.com, and the finals will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on May 21 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Sellens was able to claim one of the two spots available in the roll-off last year at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, to earn her spot in match play, and she was able to win four matches on the way to finishing tied for 13th place.
She didn't have to worry about sneaking into the bracket in 2019 and was able to get comfortable on the 39-foot oil pattern in play this week.
"I definitely liked the fact I could stay right," said Sellens, who finished in 11th place at last year's U.S. Women's Open. "I didn't really have to get in the mix and get left of the track. I was able to ball down, stay right and be pretty straight through the heads."
She's looking forward to returning to bracket play, which starts with the left side of the bracket Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern. Sellens is on the right side of the bracket, so her first-round match against the Dominican Republic's Aumi Guerra will start at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
"I love match play and always have," Sellens said. "This is the one tournament where you really don't want to miss the cut. You can have a bad match and still win or have a great match and lose, but I definitely love the excitement of head-to-head competition."
Johnson has averaged more than 238 for her 10 games on the fresh variation of this week's lane condition, and she feels that her physical game has been getting stronger through each week this season on the PWBA Tour.
"I feel very confident," said Johnson, a three-time PWBA Player of the Year. "Of the four weeks this season, this is the strongest I've felt. So physically and mentally, I feel I can hopefully put it together as well as anybody. I think it's going to be high scoring in match play, but I feel very confident in myself and my game right now."
Johnson will face Brandi Branka of Belleville, Illinois, on Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern, who earned the final seed in match play with a 3,049 total, a 203.27 average.
The match-play bracket will feature three-game matches with total pinfall determining who advances. The five players who make their way through the bracket will advance to the stepladder finals and have the chance to take home the top prize of $20,000.
All players in this year's field bowled 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the 63 competitors joining O'Keefe in match play. O'Keefe, the 2018 PWBA Player of the Year, was guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket but was able to improve her seeding through qualifying.