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Bowling News USA - June 30, 2011 Leanne Hulsenberg Over Kelly Kulick for U.S Open Crown

The 2011 Bowling's U.S. Women's Open came to a spectacular end Thursday evening, June 30, when the top 5 women battled it out for the title and the $50,000 top prize midfield of the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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

The 2011 U.S. Women's Open drew a record field of 286 players from 17 countries and offered total prize fund of $225.000. The tournament produced a total of 14 300 games.

Host Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA) was hoping the event would draw the largest crowd in bowling history. As the number wasn't disclosed yet, the record still stands at 7,212, set at the men's U.S. Open in 1995 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

In the opening match between two "local bowlers", two-time USBC Queens winner and World Cup champion Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, seeded fifth, defeated Storm staffer Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington, Texas, the 268-166.

Barnes took the early lead with a double in frames two and three, while O'Keefe did not strike before she got a double in the sixth and seventh. Starting in the fifth frame, Barnes reeled off a seven-bagger to put the match away well before the final frame.

Barnes carried the momentum into the second match against two-time U.S. Open champion Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., starting out commandingly with seven consecutive strikes to take a 60-plus lead.

Johnson went off the sheet from frame eight but Barnes cruised to victory alternating spares and strikes in the last four frames, 259-225.

Waiting for Barnes was 26-time PWBA champion Leanne Hulsenberg of Roseville, Calif., seeded third. Both players started with two strikes but when Hulsenberg left two 10 pins - and failed to convert the second one - and a 7-pin, Barnes added another three strikes to lead by 42 pins in the middle of the game.

USBC Hall of Famer Hulsenberg went off the sheet for 247 from frame to force Barnes, who got three 10-pins in the sixth, eighth and ninth frame, to strike out for a one-pin win. Barnes got the first two strikes but her fill ball went high and left the 6 and 10 pin standing which handed the win to Hulsenberg, 247-246.

Defending champion Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who dominated the 48-game preliminaries averaging 241.35 for 48 games at AMF Showplace Lanes, started the title match with two spares before she suffered the "big four" (2-6-7-10) which resulted in an open frame.

Hulsenberg, who won the last of her 26 career titles back in 2002, struck on the right lane and converted singles-pin spares on the left lane to lead by 20 pins. Kulick spared in the fourth frame and got her first strike in the fifth but her hopes to defend the U.S. Open title came to an abrupt end when left another "big four" in frame six.

Hulsenberg struck on the left lane in frame seven and added another strike on the right lane for a three-bagger to extend the lead to more than 50 pins with only three frames to go. Kulick, the only women ever to be exempt on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, doubles in the eighth and ninth and went spare-strike in the tenth for 183, her lowest game of the entire tournament.

Hulsenberg closed things out with two spares and a strike to claim her first U.S. Open title and the 27th professional title of her career worth $50,000 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.

Kulick received $25,000 for second place, Barnes received $15,000 for third place, Johnson earned $12,500 for fourth place and O'Keefe garnered $10,000 for fifth place.


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