Shayna: First PWBA title means a lot to me
Singapore bowler emerges from 112-strong field to win maiden title on US circuit
Shayna Ng has won at the highest level - the all-events at the 2015 World Women's Championships, the 2012 AMF World Cup and the team gold at the 2014 Asian Games.
And more than a decade into her bowling career, the Singaporean scored another first with her maiden Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) title, the Las Vegas Open, yesterday morning (Singapore time).
"It means a lot to me, I have been on tour for a couple of years now and I've made a couple of (TV finals), but I've never won anything yet," the 28-year-old told the PWBA website, referring to the televised step-ladder finals.
Ng finished third at the 2016 US Women's Open and the 2013 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Queens.
The Las Vegas Open featured a 112-strong field that included American Kelly Kulick, a three-time winner of the US Women's Open and two-time winner of the USBC Queens, as well as compatriot Shannon O'Keefe, who won six PWBA titles including the Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship last year. The three tournaments are considered Majors on the PWBA circuit.
Ng topped the field after the two qualifying rounds with 3,640 pinfalls at the South Point Bowling Centre, but fell to third after the Round of 32 with 5,403 from 24 games, behind Latvia's Diana Zavjalova (5,502) and American Liz Johnson (5,424). But Ng overtook Johnson for second place after the Round of 12 to enter the step-ladder finals as the second seed.
"It would have been ideal to be the top seed because if I were the top seed, I would have just needed to win one match (to win the title)... but I was glad it turned out well," Ng told the Straits Times in a phone interview.
Leanne Hulsenberg beat her fellow USBC Hall of Fame inductee Johnson 213-202 in the first round of the step-ladder finals, but lost 167-193 to Ng in the second round of the finals.
Ng told ST: "Both Leanne and Liz are super experienced players, they both are Hall of Famers and either would have been hard to beat. But, in bowling, your main opponent is really just yourself. It is really about overcoming the pressure and just staying in the moment to focus at one shot at a time.
"I think the match against Leanne helped me loosen up a bit more, and allowed me to understand the lanes, the same ones that were used in the final match."
Ng used that advantage to beat Zavjalova 231-211 in the last round of the final to win her second title in two weeks. She had defeated teammate Bernice Lim to clinch the Thailand International Open title in Bangkok on April 14.
"I guess I've just been bowling pretty decently and I'm just trying to maintain my current form," said Ng, who collected US$10,000 (S$13,240) for her PWBA win.
"It's pretty surreal to win two titles back to back, but I'll take it and enjoy the moment while it lasts."
With her victory yesterday, Ng joined her teammates Jazreel Tan (2015 Lubbock Sports Open), Cherie Tan (2016 Sacramento Open), Lim (2016 USBC Queens) and New Hui Fen (2016 Tour Championship) in the winners' circle of the PWBA Tour.
Singaporeans Daphne Tan (10th), Joey Yeo (12th), Lim (18th), Geraldine Ng (29th), Cherie (31st), New (36th), Jazreel (38th) and Tracy See (55th) also competed in the Las Vegas Open.
They will next take part in the PWBA Sonoma County Open in California from Thursday to Saturday before returning to Singapore.