After her historic win in the PBA Tournament of Champions two weeks ago, Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., will return to competition in the Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge in Wheat Ridge, Colo. Feb 16-21.
Kulick became the first woman to win a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour event by defeating Chris Barnes, 265-195, in the title match of the Tournament of Champions, one of the PBA Tour’s four major championships.
“It’s been a dream of mine to win a PBA Tour event but I couldn’t have imagined it would have come in the Tournament of Champions,” said the 32-year-old right-hander after her victory.
Kulick was the second woman to bowl for a PBA Tour title, but the first - Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y. – lost her bid against Tommy Jones in the 2005 Banquet Open. Both women will be on hand for the Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles, and both will come to town with high expectations.
Kulick, who has been dealing with a national media whirlwind since her Tournament of Champions win, is eager to step out of the spotlight and get back to business.
“It’s been pretty hectic but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Kulick said. “But I can’t wait until I get back on the lanes again where I do what I do best.”
She will be after her third PBA Women’s Series title of the 2009-10 season. During the PBA World Series of Bowling in Detroit last August, Kulick won a pair of PBA Women’s Series presented by BOWL.COM titles – the PBA women’s Shark Championship and the inaugural PBA Women’s World Championship, which gave her the first berth ever for a woman in the PBA Tournament of Champions. She converted that opportunity into a historic victory against a field of 62 male PBA champions.
Johnson will arrive in Colorado as defending Mixed Doubles champion. She and Norm Duke won the 2009 Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles in Reno, Nev., but if she wins again, it’ll be with a different partner. Duke, who has been nursing an injured ankle, has withdrawn from the Mixed Doubles.
Despite their recent successes, there is no guarantee Kulick or Johnson will even make the match play finals field in Wheat Ridge. A field of the 32 of the best women bowlers in the world will be on hand for the final PBA Women’s Series presented by BOWL.COM event of the season, and those 32 will compete for 16 spots in the match play finals where they will be paired with the top 16 qualifiers from the field of 64 men.
The unique mixed doubles format requires PBA Tour male players and PBA Women’s Series players to compete in separate 14-game qualifying rounds. Based on their qualifying ranking, the top 16 men and top 16 women will be paired together to compete in match play. After 16 head-to-head doubles matches, the top five teams will advance to the stepladder finals. The finals format will use the Baker Format where each player will bowl five alternate frames to combine for one score.
The Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles finals will be televised live by ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain) on Sunday, Feb. 21.
BAYER DON AND PAULA CARTER MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Brunswick Zone-Wheat Ridge, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
MONDAY, FEB. 15
3 p.m. - Special Senior Pro-Am squad
TUESDAY, FEB. 16
8 a.m. - PBA Tour and Women's Series Qualifying Round (7 games)
4:30 p.m. – Practice session
7 p.m. - Pro-Am squad
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 17
10 a.m. – Exempt Tour Round of 64 Round (7 games)
5 p.m. – PBA Women’s Series Round of 32 (7 games)
THURSDAY, FEB. 18
10 a.m. – PBA Women’s Series Round of 32 (7 games)
5 p.m. – Exempt Tour Round of 64 (7 games)
Fields cut to the top 16 (Exempt and top 16 Women’s Series players; men and women will be paired based upon their respective standings after 14 games; each player will carry over half of his/her qualifying pins into match play)
FRIDAY, FEB. 19
11 a.m. - Match Play Round 1 (8 games)
6 p.m. - Match Play Round 2 (8 games)
Top five teams advance to Sunday’s ESPN finals
SATURDAY, FEB. 20
Pro-Am Events and PBA Fan Day
10 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m. – Pro-Am squads
SUNDAY, FEB. 21
11 a.m. (Mountain; 1 p.m. Eastern) - Live ESPN stepladder finals (Baker Format doubles)