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Bowling News USA - June 29, 2011 Storm's Shannon O'Keefe Makes the Show at the Open...

After a total of 48 games, 24 games of qualifying, eight games in the Round of 32 and 16 games round robin match play the five finalists in the 2011 U.S. Women's Open, were determined on Wednesday at AMF Showplace Lanes in Euless, Texas.

Kelly Kulick, Leanne Hulsenberg, Liz Johnson, Shannon O'Keefe and Lynda Barnes will battle it out for the title and the $50,000 top prize Thursday evening 7 p.m. midfield of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J. is one win away from her second consecutive U.S. Open title as the defending champion earned the No. 1 seed for the arena finals. Kulick averaged 244.13 the last eight games (seven games round robin match play and one game position round) including a pair of 279s and a 278 to finish the 48 games preliminaries with 11945 total including 360 bonus pins.

Former PWBA star Leanne Hulsenberg  of Roseville, Calif. defeated Kulick in the position round, 245-206, to narrow the gap by 69 pins including 30 bonus pins for the win, but was still 276 pins behind the leader to finish in second place with 11669 and the field best 13-3 win-loss record. Hulsenberg, who rolled a 300 in match play yesterday, had eight games between 225 and 259 today.

Looking for her third U.S. Open title after 2007 and 1996 is Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., who took the No. 3 seed for the stepladder finals. Starting the day in second place Johnson fell behind Hulsenberg early but averaged almost 230 for the day to maintain third place with 11446 including 270 bonus pins.

In the opening match at the Cowboys Stadium, local bowlers Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington and Lynda Barnes of Double Oak will square off. O'Keefe, the 2007 World Champion in Singles, leaped two places in the last block to finish in fourth place with 11446 including 270 bonus. O'Keefe, who rolled the 14th 300 game of the Open Tuesday night in game seven, had a high game of 279 today.

Rounding out the top 5 was USBC Queens winner and World Cup champion Barnes, who beat out Shannon Pluhowsky of Kettering, Ohio and Rachel Perez for the last spot by 78 and 97 pins with 11282 including 240 bonus.

The top five advance to the stepladder final on Thursday, June 30, to be staged midfield of the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and host of Super Bowl XLV.

The show will be broadcast on ESPN2's "Best and the Brightest," Saturday, July 2 at 6 p.m. ET.

The 2011 U.S. Women's Open offers total prize fund of $225.000. The tournament winner will receive a $50,000 purse plus 2 round trip tickets on American Airlines anywhere in the 48 continental states, a $5,000 gift certificate to Tiffany & Co. and a custom High 5 Gear Jersey.

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