Top 36 set at U.S. Women's Open after thrilling Day 3 of qualifying

Round 3 Qualifying Results

– There was no shortage of drama heading into the final few games of Round 3 of qualifying at the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open at Royal Pin Woodland in Indianapolis as competitors were fighting to bowl at least one more day for the fourth round of qualifying on Sunday morning.

Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova maintained her lead and heads into the final eight-game qualifying block with an overall total of 5,536, claiming the U.S. Women’s Open 24-game qualifying block record since the relaunch of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association in 2015 and breaking Liz Johnson’s previous record of 5,522 in 2017.

England’s Verity Crawley is second at 5,363, with Jordan Richard of Tipton, Michigan (5,329), Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey (5,267) and Ukraine’s Dasha Kovalova (5,228) rounding out spots three through five, respectively.

The rest of the top 10 is as follows: Singapore’s New Hui Fen (5,227); Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina (5,214); Singapore’s Cherie Tan (5,212); Brittany Smith of Van Meter, Iowa (5,196) and Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio (5,184).

Mary Orf of St. Louis, Missouri, was the final competitor in with a 24-game qualifying total of 4,960, and her Round 3 total of 1,767 was just enough to continue fighting for the coveted green jacket, iconic trophy and $60,000 top prize.

The final game of the night belonged to Alyssa Ballard out of Keller, Texas, daughter of United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famers Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Del Ballard. Alyssa needed a big game to seal her spot into the final 36 and clinched it with a 236 in Game 24, including a huge split conversion, to advance.

“It doesn’t really feel real,” said Alyssa, who advanced out of the pre-tournament qualifier on Tuesday to make it into the main field. “Once I made it through the PTQ, I knew it was going to be a grueling week. I thought as long as I can stay even, catch a good pair and have a few good games, I would’ve been okay with that, and it went way better than I expected. I’m really excited.”

Alyssa credits her mental game for being able to be in this position, shrugging off the subpar games and refocusing to the next game.

“I kept myself in it after those games, moved past those bad pairs and keep myself in a zone of thinking I’m not in a hole, I still have 20 more games to go. There was always time to make it up at some point.”

Alyssa has plenty of knowledge to intake from her Hall of Fame parents as she continues to grow as a bowler. Carolyn competed in the U.S. Women’s Open for many years with five top-five finishes and Del won the Open on the Professional Bowling Association Tour twice in 1987 and 1993.

“My mom always gives me a pep talk before every tournament, to make spares and stay in the pocket, it’s a grind of a week so to keep that mentality no matter what is key.”

Alyssa and the rest of the top 36 competitors will have to have similar mindsets if they want to have a shot at the jacket, trophy and $60,000, as another eight games await them Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern before the final cut to 24 for the start of round-robin match play later at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Match play will continue at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday before the top five advance to the live TV stepladder finals Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network, where those five competitors will have bowled at least 56 games to get to that points.

All rounds leading up to the stepladder finals will be streamed live on BowlTV.