Relying on her experience and trusting her instincts, Stefanie Nation of Miami dominated the opening round Friday at the 2008 U.S. Women's Open, a United States Bowling Congress event.
Nation also leads the field of 50 players who elected to pay a separate entry fee and use their U.S. Women's Open qualifying scores in the PBA Women's Tour Trials. The top 12 players after 32 games advance to the PBA Women's Series, which will feature seven events conducted alongside Denny's PBA Tour stops this season.
Nation totaled 1,821 for eight games, an average of 227.63, on the Viper lane condition to lead a field of 186 of the best women bowlers in the world at Brunswick Zone XL. Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of North Richland Hills, Texas, is second at 1,760.
"Last year on this pattern, I remembered I chased the shot right, so I wanted to make sure I paid attention to my ball reaction and make the same adjustments off of that," Nation said. "I noticed a lot of people playing in, but I've never had a good look doing that on this pattern."
Nation, a Team USA member since 2005, had games of 227, 166, 260, 200, 258, 238, 235 and 237 and took the lead after the opening day of the U.S. Women's Open for the second consecutive year.
"This is definitely my best pattern back home and it has always been my highest scoring pattern," Nation said. "But I came in with an open mind and didn't want to think about what I've done in the past on this pattern."
Leading Dorin-Ballard by just 10 pins heading into the last game to determine the daily squad leader, Nation easily pulled ahead with her 237 game as Dorin-Ballard closed with 186.
Dorin-Ballard made a push to the top of the leaderboard with 270 in Game 6, which was followed by 244 in Game 7. Those two games pushed her past Shannon Pluhowsky of Phoenix, who led the day's opening squad with 1,730.
"I was a little apprehensive coming into this week because the middle finger on my left hand has been giving me some trouble," Pluhowsky said. "I took two weeks off leading up to this tournament to give it some time to heal. It bothered me a little bit bowling today but it wasn't as bad as it has been."
Junior Team USA member Ricki Williams of Wichita, Kan., and Brenda Mack of Indianapolis are tied for fourth with 1,727. Malaysia's Shalin Zulkifli is sixth at 1,726.
Competition continues Saturday with the second of four eight-game qualifying rounds. After 32 games, the field will be cut to the top 16 for Tuesday and Wednesday's televised Round of 16 and quarterfinals. The final four players will then compete in the championship round Wednesday night. All five telecasts will be taped for broadcast on ESPN for five consecutive Sundays beginning Sept. 7.
For more information on the U.S. Women's Open, including stories, photos and complete results, visit bowl.com.
United States Bowling Congress
The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to more than 2.6 million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.