May 25, 2001:
It's Miller Time For Feldman In Omaha; Defending Champ Makes It Two In A Row
05/25/2001 - PWBA
OMAHA, Neb. - Michelle Feldman, Skaneateles, N.Y., dialed into her "A" game at Maplewood Lanes and went to the head of the class with it.
The defending champion of the $100,000 Miller High Life Open had little trouble nailing down her second consecutive title in Omaha, dismissing Australia's Cara Honeychurch, 257-224, in the final match. Feldman struck on eight of 11 attempts, catching a six-bagger from the fourth through ninth frames. It was an encore performance of the previous 48 hours, when she regained her footing following a mid-tournament identity crisis.
After leading the first day with a 222.83 average, Feldman stumbled and tumbled into eighth place. During the interim, she yielded the lead to two-time Omaha champion Marianne DiRupo, who rolled the Miller's lone 300 game, and Leanne Barrette, also known for bending the ball a bit. ""It was a matter of finding an area of consistency out there, where I could predict the ball reaction," Barrette said at the time. "Then I just kept moving left as the lanes broke down."
Feldman must have read Barrette's press clippings, because the next two days she compiled a 17-7-0 match play record and 217.83 average. "The lanes let me play in pretty much the same area as on Monday, so I went back to the ball I used then and scored the same way. I got to play my 'A' game."
In addition to Barrette and Honeychurch, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Kelly Kulick, two of the tour's hottest bowlers, qualified for the finals. Dorin-Ballard is determined to ditch her perennial PWBA Runner-up of the Year tag and has already won a championship this year, the WIBC Queens. Kulick, who resigned from TEAM USA to pursue a pro career, was making her second TV appearance in three events. Honeychurch, however, blistered Kulick and Barrette in the opening shootout, 245-210-187. Dorin-Ballard also proved no match for the Aussie, going down in flames in the semifinal, 234-186.
"Cara was definitely lined up going into our match, and I knew I had to come out strong," Feldman said. "But when I threw my practice balls and saw the ball reaction, I knew I had the shot I was looking for."
Feldman admitted she was nervous about repeating last year's faux pas, when she stuck on the approach during warm-up and fell, injuring the thumb on her bowling hand. "I checked my sliding shoe three or four times before every shot. It was definitely in the back of my mind."
As it turned out, the only thing she duplicated was the victory.
Honeychurch, who finished second the previous week at the St. Clair Classic, was gracious in defeat. "I'm happy with the way I bowled, but I must say that the most deserving bowler won tonight. Michelle led most of the week and deserved to take the title.
"However, I must also say that since Michelle invited me to dinner this evening, I'm going to order the most expensive thing I can find on the menu!"
Feldman took home a $15,000 check for her seventh career victory and the champion's trophy, a Waterford crystal bowl. Honeychurch was rewarded for her second consecutive runner-up finish with $7,500.
Championship-round results and their scores, earnings and playoff results in the Professional Women's Bowling Association's $100,000 MILLER HIGH LIFE OPEN:
1. Michelle Feldman, Skaneateles, NY, 257 -1 game- $15,000
2. Cara Honeychurch, Australia, 703 -3 games- $7,500
3. Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, N. Richland Hills, TX, 186 -1 game- $5,000
4. Kelly Kulick, Union City, NJ, 210 -1 game- $4,300
5. Leanne Barrette, Pleasanton, CA, 187 -1 game- $3,700
Playoff Results: Honeychurch def. Kulick and Barrette, 245-210-187; Honeychurch def. Dorin-Ballard, 234-186; Feldman def. Honeychurch, 257-224.
MESA Welcomes Women Pro Bowlers For 'Wheelchair Awareness Classic'
05/25/2001 - PWBA
ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Professional Women's Bowling Association returns to Mesa, Ariz., for the second consecutive year when Country Club Lanes hosts the "Wheelchair Awareness Classic" June 1-7.
Last year's event at Country Club, the "Bowl for Blindness Classic," was won by Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, N. Richland Hills, Tex., who defeated Michelle Feldman 217-189 in the championship match. The event not only gave Dorin-Ballard a first prize of $11,000 and the first of her three titles in 2000, but also called attention to the efforts of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, for which $20,000 was raised during Tournament Week.
Tournament organizers hope to create the same kind of public awareness this year for Wheelchair Bowlers Inc., the 501(c) 3 organization affiliated with the Wheelchair Awareness Classic, and the opportunities bowling offers to people who use wheelchairs.
"We think this is a great way to show how bowling can expand the horizons of people in wheels and help them get more out of life," said WBI spokesperson Tony Alagna.
Dorin-Ballard is expected to defend her title, along with PWBA stars Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., the 2000 Player of the Year; Cara Honeychurch, Melbourne, Australia, the 2000 Rookie of the Year; and Kim Terrell, Daly City, Calif., winner of the 2000 Robby Award for professionalism.
Tournament Week begins Friday, June 1, with a 7 p.m. Pro-Am squad, the proceeds of which will benefit WBI. Pro-Ams allow local amateurs the opportunity to rub elbows with and compete against the pros in a nine-pin, no-tap format (a bowler receives credit for a strike when he or she knocks down nine pins on the first ball). The pros' official practice session is set for 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning, June 2, followed by additional Pro-Am squads at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3
p.m. and 5 p.m. Requests for photos and autographs are welcomed at all Pro-Am squads.
PWBA competition begins Sunday, June 3, at 11 a.m., when the professionals roll their first nine games of qualifying. Nine more games follow Monday, June 4, beginning again at 11 a.m. The field is cut to the top 24 scorers following Monday's action, and the survivors return Tuesday morning, June 5, for the start of round-robin match play, beginning with a six-game block at 9 a.m.
Match play continues Tuesday at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, June 6, with 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. squads. The top five bowlers at the conclusion of 24 games of match play compete for the 2001 Wheelchair Awareness Classic title in the ESPN2 televised finals Thursday, June 7, which begin at 2 p.m. National broadcast of the finals is set for Monday, June 11, at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, with a repeat airing Sunday, June 17, at 3 a.m. ET.
The PWBA Wheelchair Awareness Classic is an official Women's International Bowling Congress/American Bowling Congress Sport Bowling event. The tournament will be conducted on lane conditions compliant with Sport Bowling, a new league and tournament program created by WIBC and ABC in which accuracy and technique are emphasized.
The Professional Women's Bowling Association, founded in 1981 as the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour, provides a professional tournament program for the most skilled women bowlers in the world. The PWBA's key corporate sponsors include the Women's International Bowling Congress and more than a dozen other bowling industry sponsors. The PWBA has a web site featuring schedules, news and results at www.pwba.com.