Paula Vidad defends title in 2014 Bowling's Senior Women's U.S. Open


    BPAA Tournaments

    Tish Johnson wins Triple Crown Shoot-Out

    2014SeniorWUSOPaulaVidad.jpgPaula Vidad (pictured left) of Sun City, California, successfully defended her title at Bowling's Senior Women's U.S. Open with a 234-210 win Thursday against United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Tish Johnson of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    Vidad, a 54-year-old right-hander, started the title tilt at The Cherry Bowl with three consecutive strikes and struck on the first shot of her final frame to lock up the green jacket and $3,000 top prize.

    "Earlier in the day, and even during practice, I was leaving a lot of weak 10s, so I knew I had to do something," said Vidad, who also won the USBC Senior Queens in 2011. "I decided to increase my speed, which helped get the ball down the lane a little better and conserve some energy. It was important to come out strong and put some pressure on her."

    Johnson was able to strike early but couldn't carry late in the finale. Since joining the senior ranks, the left-hander has posted second- and third-place efforts at the Senior Women's U.S. Open and a pair of runner-up finishes at the USBC Senior Queens. Her senior breakthrough was a win at the National Golden Ladies Classic in 2013.

    On her way to the final, Johnson capitalized on a couple of breaks and made a key ball change in a 220-166 win over Lucy Sandelin of Tampa, Florida, denying the USBC Hall of Famer a third consecutive shot at the Senior Women's U.S. Open crown.

    In the opening match, Sandelin started with six consecutive strikes and cruised to a 254-167 victory over fellow USBC Hall of Famer Linda Kelly of Dayton, Ohio.

    This week's event featured a grueling format on a challenging 39-foot lane condition. All 28 Senior Women's U.S. Open competitors bowled 18 qualifying games over three days before the field was cut to the top eight for round-robin match play Thursday morning.

    Vidad initially struggled when the lanes were freshly oiled this week, but she used the long format as an opportunity to try some different things. She also benefited from watching some of the best women in the world, who were competing simultaneously in the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America Women's All-Star Tournament.

    After seeing one of the BPAA All-Star participants find success using the outside part of the lane, Vidad made the move, too. The final piece of the puzzle came during match play, when she pulled out a ball she hadn't thrown all week and catapulted to the top seed in the stepladder with a 6-2 record.

    "I started the week very slowly and was not comfortable at all," Vidad said. "As the tournament went on, everything started to feel better and better. I guess I have a way of rising to the occasion. When it's a tough shot like this, you really have to pull out all the tricks as you try to figure it out. I was fortunate to be able to do that."

    The first Senior Women's U.S. Open was held in 2012, and USBC Hall of Famer Robin Romeo of Newhall, California, won the inaugural event to become the first bowler in history to win both the U.S. Women's Open as well as the senior edition of the tournament.

    This week's Senior Women's U.S. Open also marked the third and final stop of the Senior Women's Triple Crown Series presented by The Orleans. The Triple Crown Series is a special competition for bowlers who compete in the USBC Senior Queens, National Golden Ladies Classic and Senior Women's U.S. Open.

    2014TripleCrownShootoutTishJohnson.jpgThe Triple Crown Shoot-Out, held at The Cherry Bowl on Thursday, featured the top 10 players in the Triple Crown standings, which combined qualifying totals from all three events.

    The Shoot-Out final was a Johnson-Sandelin rematch, and Johnson (pictured right) was able to end the week on a high note with a 220-212 win over the defending Triple Crown champion. Johnson, who was the runner-up at all three Triple Crown events this year, took home $1,000 for the win. Sandelin earned $750.

    "A major is still the one you want to win, but this was a nice way to show that I had a good overall performance this year," said Johnson, who now will head to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to represent the United States in the Senior Division of the Tournament of the Americas.


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    2014 Bowling's Senior Women's U.S. Open - Stepladder Finals

    The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Ill., United States (July 19-25, 2014)

    Championship Round:
    1. Paula Vidad, Sun City, Calif., $3,000
    2. Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., $2,000
    3. Lucy Sandelin, Tampa, Fla., $1,500
    4. Linda Kelly, Dayton, Ohio, $1,000

    Playoff Results:
    Match 1: Sandelin def. Kelly, 254-167
    Match 2: Johnson def. Sandelin, 220-166
    Championship: Vidad def. Johnson, 234-210

    Other match-play cashers (did not advance to stepladder):
    5, Sharon Powers, Lakewood, Colo., 5,053, $850
    6, Mandy Wilson, Dayton, Ohio, 4,876, $700
    7, Jan Schmidt, Hales Corners, Wis., 4,870, $600
    8, Lil Johnson, Lawton, Okla., 4,815, $500