KULICK DOMINATES 2012 WOMEN’S US OPEN
Jul 02, 2012
Last year, Kelly Kulick was sitting in the number one position in Bowling’s Women’s US Open, at Dallas’ Cowboys Stadium. It wasn’t meant to be, as she lost in the final match. This year, she was determined that wouldn’t happen again.
In the 2012 event, Kulick mowed through the field to the finals with a singular determination to win. The shot at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, NV was tough throughout the week, but most players felt it was fair. There were several high games, including one 300 and a 299, but nowhere near the double-digit 300 games shot last year.
Kulick led the pack by over 400 pins (including bonus). To do so, she depended on her go-to balls, the Ebonite Gamebreaker and Pursuit. She feels that having both balls in her arsenal made the difference in the event for her.
“I worked hard to prepare for the event, and it paid off,” said Kulick. “Throughout the event, I just tried to concentrate on the pins, and focus on my game.”
The finals, however, brought a completely different challenge. The battle was held on specially-constructed lanes on Virginia Street, under the Reno ‘Biggest Little City in the West’ arch. While the temperature was mild, 20 mph wind gusts blew Nevada desert sand over the lane, making for the driest tournament conditions known to man.
“The finals were tougher than any tournament I’ve ever bowled,” said Kulick. “You never know what challenges you’re going to face when you’re bowling outdoors, so there was really no way to prepare. Regardless of the conditions, I knew I had to be physically strong and get every shot right. There was no way I was going to lose to the environment after leading the event all week.”
The dry lane conditions meant that every bowler was forced to throw polyester balls, and Kulick’s Maxim did the trick.
“We had prepared some light-hooking equipment, but there was no need,” said Jason Couch, Ebonite Tour Rep. “It was just a matter of Kelly staying confident and strong. I knew she could do it, and she did.”
The finals for the event will air on ESPN2 on Tuesday, July 3 at 8pm EST. Viewers will not only watch the best women in bowling perform; they will also experience a lesson in lane play by the PBA’s Chris Barnes. The explanations are necessary to explain what non-bowlers will see as low scores. Kulick won the event with a final game of 170, against Florida’s Missy Parkin’s 160. Interestingly, each of the top five players finished in the exact place they qualified.
Regardless, the show will certainly be entertaining. The finals began with a veteran posting the American flag after climbing a rock wall up a building, a flyover by two C-130 planes, and fireworks. With room for only 600 seats in the bleachers, spectators filled a street-side parking garage, and hundreds more viewed via live projection screens on a festival ground full of tents and the Eldorado Hotel’s ballroom.
“I wanted this so bad,” said Kulick. “But after listening to Jason Couch repeatedly tell me all night to Bowl to Win, I wanted to win it more for him than for me.”
After Kulick’s win, she ran to hug her mother in the stands. When asked if her mother is a good luck charm, Kulick said it wasn’t always so.
“There was a while there my mom thought she was my jinx, so she didn’t want to come to watch me,” explained Kulick. “Thankfully, that’s over now.”
The 2012 win made for Kulick’s third US Open title, but will likely not be her last. She followed up her US Open win with a performance in Reno’s Pam Buckner Open, and will continue to prepare for other competition in the fall.
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