ARLINGTON, Texas – The best performers on the 2018 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour will invade Richmond Raceway for the season-ending PWBA Tour Championship.
The pinnacle event of the PWBA Tour season will take place Sept. 16-19 inside the Old Dominion Building at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. The PWBA Tour Championship brings together every title winner in 2018, with the remainder of the field filled through the season points list.
Players will compete in a single-elimination, best-of-five match-play bracket to determine two of the competitors for the live finals, which will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Shannon O’Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, the 2018 PWBA Player of the Year, and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, already have earned their spots on the TV show, as they receive byes into the semifinals as the No. 1 and 2 seed, respectively.
BowlTV, the official YouTube channel of the United States Bowling Congress, will have live stream coverage of all rounds leading up to the live finals on CBS Sports Network.
O’Keefe, who won last year’s PWBA Tour Championship, won two of the first four events in 2018, the PWBA Sonoma County Open and her second major title at the United States Bowling Congress Queens.
The 39-year-old right-hander also finished second at the PWBA Greater Harrisburg Open, fourth at the PWBA East Hartford Open and the BowlerX.com PWBA Twin Cities Open, and fifth at the U.S. Women’s Open to capture her first player of the year honor.
In last season’s PWBA Tour Championship semifinals, O’Keefe was part of a thrilling match with former three-time PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Palatine, Illinois.
Tied at 222 after 10 frames, the match needed three sudden-death one-ball roll-offs before O’Keefe claimed victory. She used that momentum to then defeat Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 222-203, in the finals to claim her first major title.
"I think there is a major difference in believing something is possible versus knowing it’s possible,” said O’Keefe, who along with McEwan and Liz Johnson are the only players to win a title in each season since 2015. “I always dreamed of winning my first major and believed it was possible. However, after accomplishing it, I now know I can achieve all things I set out to do.”
McEwan, who won the inaugural PWBA Tour Championship during the first year of the relaunched PWBA Tour in 2015, won the PWBA Fountain Valley Open to earn her spot in this year’s PWBA Tour Championship.
She also finished second at the PWBA East Hartford Open, third at the PWBA Louisville Open and the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship, and fourth at the U.S. Women’s Open.
McEwan had an outside chance of challenging for PWBA Player of the Year at the Tour Championship, if she could’ve finished no worse than second at the Players Championship in August.
Stefanie Johnson, who captured her first career major at the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship, catapulted herself into the No. 3 seed with the win at the final regular-season event and earned a first-round bye.
Stefanie has qualified for the finals of every major this season, finishing fourth at the USBC Queens and second at the U.S. Women’s Open.
She’ll face the winner of Monday’s first-round match between No. 10 Erin McCarthy (PWBA Louisville Open champion) and No. 11 Diana Zavjalova (Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open champion).
Liz Johnson, owner of 10 career major championships, captured two titles this season to earn the No. 4 seed.
She partnered with 11-time Professional Bowlers Association champion EJ Tackett to win the PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles and earned the title at the Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open. It’s the first time Liz Johnson is not the No.1 seed at the PWBA Tour Championship.
She’ll take on the winner of the first-round match between No. 9 Josie Barnes (PWBA East Hartford Open champion) and No. 12 Kelly Kulick.
Jordan Richard, the 2018 PWBA Rookie of the Year from Tecumseh, Michigan, will make her Tour Championship debut after an electrifying first year of competition that included a victory at the PWBA Greater Harrisburg Open.
She appeared in the TV finals of all four events in August and produced a third-place finish, two fourth-place finishes and a fifth-place finish during the stretch. She will face No. 15 Shannon Pluhowsky in the first round.
The rest of Monday’s first-round matchups, with how they qualified in parenthesis: No. 5 Liz Kuhlkin (U.S. Women’s Open winner) vs. No. 16 Lindsay Boomershine (points); No. 7 Bryanna Coté (points) vs. No. 14 Missy Parkin (points); No. 8 Rocio Restrepo (BowlerX.com PWBA Twin Cities Open winner) vs. No. 13 Maria Jose Rodriguez (points).
The PWBA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards are determined by competition points.
The lanes are being specially installed inside the Old Dominion Building by QubicaAMF, the official supplier of bowling equipment for the 2018 PWBA Tour Championship.
To view the official PWBA Tour Championship bracket, click here. To purchase PWBA Tour Championship tickets, click here.