By Emil Williams Jr.

ROCKFORD, Ill. – When the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour returned to The Cherry Bowl this week, the expectation for a special performance came along with it.

Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas, had no problem providing the highlights while etching her name into the history book Sunday when she defeated Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, 228-203, to run the stepladder and win the PWBA Rockford Open.

The 38-year-old right-hander notched her fourth career PWBA Tour victory and claimed the $20,000 top prize. The stepladder was broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

In the title match, Johnson began with an early double, but she threw a split in the third frame to give Kuhlkin her first lead, after she began the match with a strike and three consecutive spares.

Johnson reclaimed the lead after tossing five consecutive strikes, starting in the fourth frame. Kuhlkin kept things close by remaining clean, adding a double in the sixth and seventh frames. Kuhlkin rolled a key strike in the ninth, which put some pressure on Johnson prior to her ninth frame.

After a spare in the ninth, Johnson needed two strikes in the 10th to win the title, and she delivered when it mattered most on the 39-foot oil pattern. In the final game of Saturday’s Round of 12, Johnson needed marks in the ninth and 10th frames to secure her spot in the finals and delivered then, too.

“During the entire stepladder, my thought process never changed,” said Johnson, who won her first title since 2018. “I knew I just had to commit to making a good shot and let the universe work how it works. My opponents bowled well, and I just needed to bowl better than them, and that’s really the only thing I had control over. I made a couple bad shots and talked to the reps, and we just tried to stay ahead of the transition anyway. I think ultimately that’s kind of what got me into the winner’s circle.”

Johnson, like many others, was directly impacted by the PWBA’s absence following the 2003 season. She was a collegiate standout at Central Florida, but unfortunately was unable to showcase her talent at the professional level.

Although the wait was longer than expected, Johnson finally got the chance to compete as a professional at The Cherry Bowl after an appearance as a collegiate player in 2006, helping Central Florida to a runner-up finish at the Intercollegiate Team Championships. The ties to the center run deep as her collegiate coach, United States Bowling Congress and PWBA Hall of Famer Pat Costello, won the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open at The Cherry Bowl, too.

USBC and PWBA Hall of Famer John Sommer, who ran the tour from 1981-2003, presented the trophy to Johnson in an emotional moment.

“I have chills when you asked me that because if it wasn’t for him, you know I may not even be here talking to you,” said Johnson, who had one open frame in 40 opportunities Sunday. “I understand the history. I know where the tour has been, and I’m just forever grateful to be able to come here and win in the home where my collegiate coach won the U.S. Women’s Open. That’s pretty cool.”

Johnson entered the week with a different appreciation of the tour and the opportunity to compete. She knew she had history with the center, which allowed her to be herself. But, it was her late father, Frank, who may have played the biggest role of all this week.

“I had a moment of channeling my dad,” Johnson said. “I saw something on Facebook that just triggered me, and I just really felt like he was with me all week. It’s been four years since I’ve been in the winner’s circle, and I really attest that to him. Our friendship anniversary popped up on Friday morning. I think of him all the time, but that really triggered me.”

In the semifinal match, Johnson defeated Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, 226-200. Johnson used three consecutive strikes in the middle of the game to propel her to victory over the second-year player. Clemmer was looking for her first PWBA Tour title and now has three third-place finishes in two seasons.

Johnson advanced to the semifinal after dispatching Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 223-177. Kulick opened the match strong but ran into trouble on the left lane, which resulted in consecutive open frames. That was more than enough for Johnson, who remained clean throughout the game to win going away.

The opening match saw Johnson defeat her best friend, Shannon O’Keefe of Belleville, Illinois, 243-220. Johnson came out the gates rolling with strikes in three of the first four frames, while O’Keefe rattled off five consecutive spares. O’Keefe followed with four consecutive strikes of her own and had a chance to put some pressure on Johnson, but she was unable to strike in the 10th frame.

The 80-player field in Rockford bowled 12 games Friday, before the first cut to the top 27 athletes. Advancers bowled an additional six-game block Saturday morning, with the top 12 competing in a final six-game round to determine the five bowlers for the stepladder, based on 24-game pinfall totals.

The 2022 PWBA Tour season now will head to Stardust Bowl in Addison, Illinois, for the USBC Queens, the first major championship of the year.

The USBC Queens will take place May 18-24, with the winner taking home $60,000 and the tiara.

The stepladder finals of the USBC Queens will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on May 24 at 7 p.m. Eastern. All rounds leading up to the finals will be broadcast on BowlTV.

Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, will enter the event as the defending champion after claiming her first major title in 2021 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.

Rockford Regional
Sunday also saw the running of the PWBA Rockford Regional, which was won by top seed Jodi Woessner of Oregon, Ohio. Woessner defeated Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Florida, in the title match, 200-177.

Woessner, who won the USBC Senior Queens in March, continued her great start to the year. She never misses an opportunity to compete and is seeing her training pay off.

“It really is starting to solidify my year,” Woessner said. “I won the Senior Queens, and then I came here and bowled well Friday, but I didn’t score well. I came in today with a lot of confidence and turned it into a win. So, it’s great going into next week and going into the rest of the year. I feel like it really validates the work that I put in. I’m 52 years old and can still strike a little bit, so that makes me feel good, too.”

Bolton advanced to the title match after defeating Kayla Crawford of Silvis, Illinois, 209-174. In the opening match, Bolton took care of Estefania Cobo of Fort Worth, Texas, 199-182.

The 40-player regional field bowled eight games of qualifying, with the top four players advancing to the stepladder finals. The finals were streamed live at

For more information on the PWBA, visit

2022 PWBA Rockford Open
At The Cherry Bowl
Rockford, Ill.

Sunday’s results


1, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 920 (four games), $20,000.

2, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 203 (one game), $10,000.
3, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 200 (one game), $7,700.

4, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 177 (one game), $6,600.

5, Shannon O’Keefe, Belleville, Ill., 220 (one game), $5,600.



Match No. 1 – Johnson def. O’Keefe, 243-220.

Match No. 2 – Johnson def. Kulick, 223-177.
Semifinal – Johnson def. Clemmer, 226-200.

Championship – Johnson def. Kuhlkin, 228-203.


1, Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, 200 (one game), $1,350.

2, Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 585, (three games) $850.

3, Kayla Crawford, Silvis, Ill., 174 (one game), $650.

4, Estefania Cobo, Fort Worth, Texas, 182 (one game) $500.


Match No. 1 – Bolton def. Cobo, 199-182.

Semifinal – Bolton def. Crawford, 209-174.

Championship – Woessner def. Bolton, 200-177.


By Emil Williams Jr.

ROCKFORD, Ill. – Opportunity doesn’t knock very often on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour, but when it does, you have to open the door.

Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, saw her opportunity to move into the lead during the Round of 12 and seized her moment to overtake Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, to capture the top seed at the PWBA Rockford Open.

The finals will be broadcast live on Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network, with the champion taking home the $20,000 first-place prize.

Joining Kuhlkin and Clemmer in the stepladder will be No. 3 Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, No. 4 Shannon O’Keefe of Belleville, Illinois, and No. 5 Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas.

Entering the final game of Round 4, Kuhlkin trailed Clemmer by four pins, which made the situation simple for both players to acquire the top seed. Kuhlkin, who was paired with Clemmer for the final round, put together a game of 234, while Clemmer could only get to 210, giving Kuhlkin the top spot.

Kuhlkin finished with a 5,354 total for 24 games, a 223.08 average. Clemmer had 5,334.

Clemmer led for three consecutive rounds and was dominant before struggling in the final round and eventually ceding the lead to Kuhlkin, who was in second place after Rounds 2 and 3. The run to the top spot began in the final game of Round 3 for Kuhlkin, who rolled a 267 game to close the gap to 78 pins prior to the final six-game block.

“It’s kind of like chipping away,” said Kuhlkin, who will be looking for her third career PWBA Tour title. “I bridged the gap a lot, so when I did that it was kind of within reach at that point. So, I knew going into the second block I just needed to do my thing, hit the pocket, make spares, get to a good pair and score big, and I was able to get some hits and get it done.”

Kuhlkin’s last win came at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, and while she’s had some success in recent seasons, she feels she has somewhat underachieved and looks to change that mantra on Sunday.

“This is going to sound harsh, but I feel the past couple years I’ve been sort of mediocre, and I’ve kind of underachieved,” said Kuhlkin, who also won the 2015 PWBA Topeka Open. “I always felt like I’ve been an elite player on tour, and I have the passion and will to win. But at the end of the day, you have to do it, and this is how you do it.

“You put yourself in position to win, you make the TV shows, you make it as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, but at the end of the day, it’s about finishing up the job, too. So, I’m 75% there and I need to show up tomorrow, but it means a lot to me to start off the season this way. It shows that I could do it. I knew I could, but now, I’m showing it for real.”

Despite losing the top seed, Clemmer was not disappointed and instead hung her hat on the positives she learned during the final round that will set her up for success in future events.

“No, I’m always learning,” said Clemmer, who had two third-place finishes in 2021. “I think today I learned more than I have the whole week. You know, when it comes to equipment and lane play, and what I can really do with my hand, I learned that more today than anything. So, I’m not disappointed at all. I’m always working and always learning. You always have to take something positive from it.”

Kulick, who began the final round in eighth place, found herself in fourth with one game to go. She improved her seeding after rolling 245 in Game 24 to earn the third seed. Kulick’s jump was thanks to tossing the highest six-game block (1,374) of the round. She will look to win her eighth career PWBA Tour title and second in as many seasons.

O’Keefe struggled late in Round 4 and was 12 pins back in seventh position with one game to go. As champions often do, O’Keefe found the right equipment, dug deep and began the last game with seven consecutive strikes, ultimately finishing with a 245 game to make up the difference and earn a spot in the finals.

O’Keefe won the opening event of the 2021 season, the Bowlers Journal Classic, and will look to repeat that feat Sunday. If she wins, it will be her 15th career PWBA Tour title.

Johnson also found some difficulties down the stretch in Round 4, but she did just enough to stay ahead of England’s Verity Crawley for the final spot. Needing a mark in the 10th frame to clinch the fifth seed, Johnson found a way to strike to remain in the top five after entering the final game in third place. Johnson is in search of her fourth PWBA title and first since 2018.

The 80-player field bowled 12 games Friday, before the first cut to the top 27 athletes. Advancers bowled an additional six-game block Saturday morning, with the top 12 competing in a final six-game round to determine the five bowlers for the stepladder, based on 24-game pinfall totals.

For more information on the PWBA, visit

2022 PWBA Rockford Open
At The Cherry Bowl
Rockford, Ill.

Saturday’s results


1, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 5,354. 2, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 5,334. 3, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 5,231. 4, Shannon O’Keefe, Belleville, Ill., 5,206. 5, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 5,200.


6, Verity Crawley, England, 5,181, $5,200. 7, Birgit Noreiks, Germany, 5,163, $4,750. 8, Brandi Kordelewski, Belleville, Ill., 5,135, $4,300. 9, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 5,095, $4,100. 10, Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 5,003, $4,000. 11, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 4,996, $3,900. 12, Chelsea Klingler, Grand Rapids, Mich., 4,989, $3,800.


1, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 4,113. 2, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 4,035. 3, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 4,012. 4, Brandi Kordelewski, Belleville, Ill., 3,966. 5, Shannon O’Keefe, Belleville, Ill., 3,942. 6, Verity Crawley, England, 3,904.

7, Birgit Noreiks, Germany, 3,869. 8, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,857. 9, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 3,845. 10, Chelsea Klingler, Grand Rapids, Mich., 3,840. 11, Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 3,828. 12, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 3,827.



13, Maria José Rodriguez, Colombia, 3,810, $3,700. 14, Stephanie Zavala, Downey, Calif., 3,797, $3,600. 15, Jordan Richard, Maumee, Ohio, 3,788, $3,500. 16, Rocio Restrepo, Uniontown, Ohio, 3,783, $3,400. 17, Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, 3,778, $3,250. 18, Stephanie Schwartz, Racine, Wis., 3,764, $3,000.

19(tie), Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, and Erin McCarthy, Elkhorn, Neb., 3,760, $2,725. 21, Rebecca Hagerman (n), Loves Park, Ill., 3,750, $2,400. 22, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 3,734, $2,200. 23, Haley Richard, Tipton, Mich., 3,733, $1,850. 24, Gazmine Mason, Cranston, R.I., 3,725, $1,650.

25, Josie Barnes, Hermitage, Tenn., 3,724, $1,550. 26, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,690, $1,500. 27, Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 3,667, $1,400.


By Emil Williams Jr.

ROCKFORD, Ill. – Through two full rounds of competition at the 2022 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Rockford Open on Friday, Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, was dominant to claim the lead at The Cherry Bowl.

The second-year professional rolled the tour’s first 300 game of the season during Friday’s opening six-game block and finished Round 1 with a 1,489 total. While her pace slightly slowed in Round 2, she added 1,336 in the final six games for a 2,825 total, a 235.42 average.

Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, is second with a 2,714 total, and Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio, is third with 2,705.

Germany’s Birgit Noreiks and Brandi Kordelewski of Belleville, Illinois, round out the top five with 2,675 and 2,673, respectively.

The 80-player field was cut to the top 27 players after Friday’s second round, with Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, and Liz Johnson of Niagara Falls, New York, tying for the final two spots with a 2,510 total, an average of 209.17.

Saturday’s third round will consist of an additional six games starting at 11 a.m. Eastern, with the top 12 returning to the lanes for one more six-game round to complete qualifying. The top five players, based on total pinfall for 24 games, will advance to the stepladder finals.

The stepladder will be Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern and broadcast live on CBS Sports Network. The champion will earn $20,000.

For more information on the PWBA, visit

About the PWBA
The Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) originally was formed in 1960. The PWBA Tour has events throughout the country, offering high-level competition and top prize money for women bowlers. The PWBA is supported by the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) and the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).

2022 PWBA Rockford Open
At The Cherry Bowl
Rockford, Ill.

Friday’s results

(12 games)

1, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 2,825. 2, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 2,714. 3, Jordan Richard, Maumee, Ohio, 2,705. 4, Birgit Noreiks, Germany, 2,675. 5, Brandi Kordelewski, Belleville, Ill., 2,673. 6, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 2,669.

7, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 2,655. 8, Stephanie Zavala, Downey, Calif., 2,617. 9, Verity Crawley, England, 2,609. 10, Maria José Rodriguez, Colombia, 2,603. 11, Shannon O’Keefe, Belleville, Ill., 2,594. 12(tie), Rebecca Hagerman, Loves Park, Ill., and Chelsea Klingler, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2,578.
14, Gazmine Mason, Cranston, R.I., 2,575. 15, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 2,574. 16, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 2,573. 17, Haley Richard, Tipton, Mich., 2,557. 18, Josie Barnes, Hermitage, Tenn., 2,555.

19, Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, 2,553. 20, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 2,546. 21, Rocio Restrepo, Uniontown, Ohio, 2,543. 22, Stephanie Schwartz, Racine, Wis., 2,541. 23(tie), Sandra Gongora, Mexico, and Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 2,535.

25, Erin McCarthy, Elkhorn, Neb., 2,529. 26(tie), Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, and Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 2,510.


28, Kerry Smith, New Holland, Pa., 2,506. 29, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 2,504. 30, Sydney Brummett, Fort Wayne, Ind., 2,503. 31, Maria Bulanova, Russia, 2,502. 32, Giselle Poss, Montgomery, Ill., 2,492. 33, Terysa Wojnar, New Lenox, Ill., 2,485. 34, Jen Higgins, Lewis Center, Ohio, 2,476. 35, Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., 2,471. 36, Maranda Pattison (a), Redwood Valley, Calif., 2,470.

37, Estefania Cobo, Fort Worth, Texas, 2,467. 38, Jennifer Russo, Monmouth Junction, N.J., 2,465. 39, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 2,446. 40, Brianna Andrew, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2,438. 41, Bryanna Coté, Tucson, Ariz., 2,434. 42, Courtney Ermisch, Big Bend, Wis., 2,400.

43(tie), Jodi Woessner, Oregon, Ohio, and Daria Pajak, Poland, 2,397. 45, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 2,395. 46, Jennifer Hocurscak, Orange, Conn., 2,393. 47, Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 2,391. 48, Kayla Pashina, Minnetonka, Minn., 2,387.

49, Shannon Grimm (n), Fenton, Mo., 2,383. 50, Wendy Bartaire-Jimenez, France, 2,381. 51, Taylor Bulthuis, New Port Richey, Fla., 2,375. 52, Kayla Bandy, Wichita, Kan., 2,372. 53, Jill Creamer, Redding, Calif., 2,370. 54, Mallory Clark, Auburn, Maine, 2,369.

55, Missy Parkin, San Clemente, Calif., 2,368. 56(tie), Jessica Earnest (n), Nashville, Tenn., and Kara Mangiola, Spencerport, N.Y., 2,355. 58, Alexis Neuer, Milton, Pa., 2,353. 59, Jenna Williams (n), Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2,350. 60, Taylor Bailey, Joliet, Ill., 2,345.

61, Justyne Vukovich, New Stanton, Pa., 2,343. 62, Jenny Wonders (n), Roscoe, Ill., 2,330. 63, Summer Jasmin, Beckley, W.Va., 2,329. 64, Kaylene Bishop, Medical Lake, Wash., 2,327. 65(tie), Felicia Wong, Canada, and Kayla Crawford, Silvis, Ill., 2,321.

67, Jasmine Snell (n), Papillion, Neb., 2,317. 68, Lisa Timm, Auburn, Ill., 2,293. 69, Marissa Allison (n), Sylvania, Ohio, 2,275. 70, Christine Gill, Troy, Ill., 2,259. 71, Denise Kurek, Jacksonville, N.C., 2,250. 72, Abby Ragsdale, Aurora, Ill., 2,239.

73, Nicole Kleutgen, Stevens Point, Wis., 2,233. 74, Ritzel Velarde, Everett, Wash., 2,223. 75, Hayley Dann, Dayton, Ohio, 2,185. 76, Melanie McDaniel, Joliet, Ill., 2,164. 77, Wendy Mann, South Elgin, Ill., 2,149. 78, Nichole DePaul, Baytown, Texas, 2,143.

79, Tabitha Schlupe, Akron, Ohio, 2,115. 80, Brooke Allen, Potosi, Wis., 2,082.