RENO, Nev. - Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, capped a dominating performance this week at the National Bowling Stadium by winning her first major championship Tuesday at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Queens.
The 25-year-old right-hander went undefeated through the double-elimination bracket and recorded her second win of the 2021 Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour season by defeating 2011 USBC Queens champion Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, in the title match, 238-154.
Bond claimed the coveted tiara and the $20,000 first-place prize. Parkin earned $10,000 for her runner-up finish.
The finals of the 2021 Queens were broadcast on BowlTV.com.
"This feels great," said Bond, who won her first career national tour title in January at the PWBA Hall of Fame Classic. "It's a very validating feeling to see that I'm on the right path, making good choices and learning. That's been the goal since my rookie season, and this win is very special."
Bond, who had to be defeated twice as the top seed for the stepladder finals in the true double-elimination format, quickly took the lead in the title match, with Parkin opening in two of her first four frames.
Bond stayed clean through the first six frames and then tossed six consecutive strikes to seal the victory.
Bond noted how quickly the 42-foot oil pattern was transitioning during her warm-up shots as she waited for the opportunity to start the title match, and she was able to see the path she wanted to take.
"Every time I was able to take a couple of practice shots, I would mark down where I finished," said Bond, a five-time Team USA member. "When I returned to pair, I would start there and see how much it changed. I think we did a good job of tracking the transition and moves, so it didn't take me too long to figure out where I needed to be after a few small tweaks. Staying in the pocket was the name of the game."
The three-time PWBA Regional champion also was able to rely on things she learned Monday in the final match in the winners bracket against Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York. Bond rolled 257 in the final game of that match after making a jump to the left. She recorded the win and earned the top seed, 663-620.
"In the match against Liz, I had to change my game plan, and it gave me confidence to know I could make the jump into that zone," Bond said. "I had tried to see what was out farther right, which had been my path to success for most of the bracket, and it looked like by the time it was going to be my turn in the title match, it wasn't going to look too great. A lot of it was reading my ball motion and trusting what I saw. I made some quick decisions and trusted it, and fortunately, it worked."
Parkin won two matches to advance to the final, but she also knew she would have to make some moves to stay ahead of the transition in the title match.
Parkin defeated England's Verity Crawley, 236-220, before striking out in the ninth and 10th frames of her semifinal match to defeat Kuhlkin, 223-211.
Kuhlkin had the chance to double in the final frame to advance to the championship match, but she left a 2 pin on her first delivery.
"They were transitioning very quickly, like they had all week," said Parkin, who made her third championship-round appearance of the season and collected her second runner-up finish of 2021. "Even before the final match, I had grabbed another bag because I was anticipating what was going to happen. Unfortunately, I made the wrong move to start and didn't figure them out quick enough."
The 39-year-old right-hander took away a lot of positives from her time at the NBS, knowing she made some strides in her execution during the week.
"I'm extremely proud of my execution," said Parkin, a 12-time Team USA member. "Starting the week, I didn't really have a great look. I ended up drilling a few bowling balls, which made a big difference, and I feel, especially yesterday, I physically executed really well during the matches. I'm very proud with how I bowled this week."
Tuesday's stepladder finals started with Crawley defeating Latvia's Diana Zavjalova, 197-172.
Zavjalova was looking to become the third player to win three Queens titles after capturing the tiara in 2013 and 2017. USBC and PWBA Hall of Famers Mildred Ignizio (1967, 1970, 1971) and Wendy Macpherson (1988, 2000, 2003) are the only players to win the event three times.
The 2021 event started with 110 competitors. After 15 games of qualifying over three days, the top 63 players and Ukraine's Dasha Kovalova, who was guaranteed a spot in the bracket as the defending champion, advanced to match play.
Kovalova won two matches at the NBS before she was eliminated Monday by Josie Barnes of Hermitage, Tennessee, 629-609. Kovalova finished tied for 25th place.
The PWBA Tour season will resume May 27-29 at the PWBA BVL Open in Farmingdale, New York.