ARLINGTON, Texas – The Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour makes its 11th visit to Kentucky when the PWBA Louisville Open takes place this week at Fern Valley Strike and Spare.
The action kicks off Thursday, June 7 with official practice and Bowl With The Pros events. Competition starts June 8 and continues until the stepladder finals June 9 at 5 p.m. (Eastern). All preliminary rounds and the finals will be streamed live on Xtra Frame, the online bowling channel of the Professional Bowlers Association.
Kentucky has seen eight champions crowned, including Michelle Feldman’s victory in the 2002 Louisville Open, the last time the Derby City hosted a PWBA event. Feldman, won three of her 12 career titles in Louisville.
Bryanna Coté of Red Rock, Arizona, also is among the Kentucky champions, capturing her first career title at the 2016 PWBA Lexington Open, and she looks to continue her solid performances in 2018 at this week’s PWBA Louisville Open.
She qualified as the top seed for both the PWBA Fountain Valley Open and the United States Bowling Congress Queens, the first major of the season, though the right-hander fell in the title match of each event. She was 28th last week at the stop in East Hartford, Connecticut.
For Coté, 32, the 2018 PWBA season has been a 180-degree turn from last year, one she called her worst season on tour.
“I knew I had to make some changes,” said Coté, a four-time Team USA member. “I worked extremely hard in the offseason, physically and mentally, to prepare myself for the 2018 season. With that said, 2018 did not start off in the direction I thought it would.
“After missing being a part of Team USA 2018, a fire sparked in me. Although I have been on the team in previous years and worked harder than ever, my dream was put on pause. That was unacceptable to me and made me work even harder.”
Coté said she worked to increase her revolution rate and improve her physical stability and mental toughness. She also changed her brand of equipment about six weeks prior to the start of the PWBA Tour season.
“The change has allowed me to see different ball motions on the lane,” Coté said. “It’s been a basket full of items that have driven me to be successful this year and my goal for the PWBA season is to finish it in Richmond (at the PWBA Tour Championship).”
While memories of winning in Kentucky still are as fresh as The Garland of Roses given to the Kentucky Derby winner, Coté has looked forward to competing in front of two very special friends she met at the 2016 USBC Women’s Championships.
“Back in 2016, when I subbed at the Women’s Championships, I met two awesome women that have been following my career ever since,” Coté said. “The two ladies, Lucy and Kathy, watched me the entire time in Lexington and were there to witness me make the show. With not having any of my immediate family present for that day, these two ladies provided me with an extended family support system that helped me get through such an emotional day.
“I am excited to bowl in front of them again this year but also nervous. I would love to make another show with them present, but I know no matter the outcome, they will be proud and always stand by my side.”
Coté will try to keep the week simple, despite having the feeling she is the defending champion. Her game plan has worked all season and she sees no reason to deviate from success.
“Part of me will definitely feel like I’m the defending champion, since we have not been back to Kentucky since my win,” Coté said. “But in the end, it’s a new event and I’ll need to have a new mindset. Being the sixth tour stop of the season, my game plan will be the same in order to be successful – be patient, make good shots and make your spares. And of course, only worry about the things you can control. If my mind wanders elsewhere, it will not be a good week.”
Also in this week’s field is Marissa Thomas of Louisville, a non-member who qualified as the fifth seed for the 2017 USBC Queens televised finals. She fell to Cherie Tan of Singapore, 289-210, in the opening match to finish fifth. Thomas attended Bellarmine University, where she was named a 2017 National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) All-American.