Pluhowsky wins 2021 PWBA circuit championship for second major title

RENO, Nev. – Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, won her second major title, and the first since 2006, in a dominant performance Sunday in 2021 Professional association of women’s bowling Touring Championship.

The 39-year-old southpaw defeated Bryanna Coté of Tucson, Ariz., 244-178 to win the last major of the 2021 PWBA Tour season. Pluhowsky won $ 50,000 for the win and Côté took in $ 25,000 for second place.

The Tour Championship stepladder finals were broadcast live from National Bowling Stadium on CBS Sports Network.

Pluhowsky’s latest victory came at the Queens United States Bowling Congress 2006, which also took place at the 78-lane venue.

“I finally did it,” said Pluhowsky, the 21-time US team member. “I finally got over that bump. I get asked this question a lot, and I can erase it now. Fifteen years is a long time, but it’s worth the wait.”

In the title game, Pluhowsky took the lead early after connecting for four straight strikes from second frame. On the left side, she split the first two times she played on the left lane and couldn’t convert either. She struggled to find a consistent look on that lane to get back into the game, and Pluhowsky filled in frames to walk away.

Pluhowsky, the No.2 seed, looked comfortable under the bright lights during his two wins on Sunday. She started her semi-final match against Latvian Diana Zavjalova with 10 consecutive goals, before a 6 she ended her offer for a perfect match. This would have been the sixth game 300 in the championship round of a PWBA Tour event.

Pluhowsky had an average of 266.5 on Sunday, beating Zavjalova, 289-199.

“They were a little different, which usually happens on TV,” Pluhowsky said. “My ball reps told me to throw my A game. I was able to throw it a little harder, so I could stay a little closer, and it worked. I caught a few lucky shots, and you need it to win. I had some bad luck on TV, but today was different. “

Pluhowsky has been a top contender on the PWBA Tour since his relaunch in 2015, making 15 league round appearances before Sunday’s Tour Championship appearance.

However, she had failed to turn those opportunities into victories, but a new approach helped her take advantage of every moment.

At the US Women’s Open in August, she qualified for the stepladder and scored 279 in her opener, before losing her ball reaction on the way to third place.

“I had to work really hard,” Pluhowsky said. “I’m just trying to have fun. It’s not life or death anymore. I took it way too seriously and tried too hard for too long. The last few times I just tried. to have fun. I lost my ball reaction at the US Women’s Open and didn’t do the best in Game 2, but here I looked good and tried to do this that I had to do. ”

Sunday’s victory was also special for Pluhowsky as she got to share it with his wife, Carrie, and father, Nick.

“Things are improving and really good,” Pluhowsky said. “We got married in July, and that means a lot that she can travel with me. My dad flew to the show, and he was worried about casting a spell on me. My mom was too nervous to come, so she stayed I wish the kids were there, but I’m glad he came and she was here. It’s awesome. “

Côté was the seed for Sunday’s stepladder after averaging over 233 games on Friday and Saturday, but struggled to find the left lane on the championship pair.

She noted some difficulties on this track earlier in the week in the PWBA Reno Classic Final, where she was also the first seed and finished second behind Stephanie Zavala of Downey, Calif.

“I feel like I had the right lane pretty well, but I’m still trying to figure out what was going on in the left lane,” Coté said. “I struggled with the Reno Classic too. I did a few moves, but you only get five shots on each lane, and it’s all a guessing game when you get lost in that position. Shannon was playing well. bowling, and I had to try to find ways to hit.

Côté was still able to recover material on Sunday. Her second place secured her a spot at the top of the points list throughout the season, and it earned her the PWBA Player of the Year award for the first time in her career.

The 35-year-old right-hander won her second career PWBA Tour title in January at the PWBA ITRC Classic, and added three finalists in her six championship appearances during the season.

She entered the events at Reno this week eighth in points, but quickly entered the conversation for the playoff award with her second place finish on Tuesday.

“I had told my husband about it, and when we got to Reno we never even thought that the player of the year was on the table,” Coté said. “I knew the points were very tight, especially with two regular events and a major to play, and things could change quite easily. You can’t count the ones ahead of you, though, because they’re there for a reason. what I could do was go bowling and try to play well. When I realized that I was getting closer and putting myself in position to be the player of the year, I just stayed the course and tried to stay focused. If that was meant to be, it was fate. “

Zavjalova, a two-time major winner and four-time PWBA Tour champion, secured her place in the semi-finals with a 190-164 victory over Zavala, the 2021 PWBA Rookie of the Year.

Zavjalova took advantage of a single pin missed by Zavala in the eighth quarter and threw strikes on five of her last six shots to qualify.

Zavala, a three-time winner in her rookie season, started the stepladder with a 203-200 victory over Shannon O’Keefe of Shiloh, Ill., Two-time PWBA player of the year.

Zavala had to fill 17 pins in his final frame to take out O’Keefe and hit on his first delivery. A count of nine on his second shot ensured the victory.

O’Keefe entered the show with the chance to win the PWBA Player of the Year award for a third straight season, but she had to register at least a fourth place finish to force Coté to win the Tour Championship to earn enough competition points.

The Tour Championship was the third event in the PWBA Fall Classic Series, which also included the Reno Classic and the PWBA Pepsi Classic.

After Zavala won the Reno Classic on Tuesday, Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois claimed her third victory of the year at the Pepsi Classic on Thursday.

The Tour Championship featured the top 24 athletes from the first two events of the Fall Classic Series. The combined Reno Classic and Pepsi Classic qualifying totals (24 games) determined players to qualify for the end of season event.

Pinfall fell early in the Championship Tour, which featured three eight-game round robin blocks on Friday and Saturday. The total pinfall, including bonus pins for each victory, determined Sunday’s five finalists.

The 2021 PWBA Tour season featured 20 events, starting in January at the PWBA Kickoff Classic Series in Arlington, TX.

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