The Professional Women's Bowling Association will mark its official return this week when the best women bowlers in the world battle for the 2015 United States Bowling Congress Queens title.
The Queens, which will mark the first PWBA event in nearly a dozen years, will take place at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Nearly 200 bowlers from around the world are expected to compete.
The event will begin with the first round of qualifying May 14 and conclude with the live ESPN2 finals May 19 at 7 p.m. Eastern. All qualifying and match play rounds will be broadcast live on Xtra Frame.
Colombia's Maria Jose Rodriguez enters the event as the defending champion after defeating Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 190-189, to win the title last year in Reno, Nevada.
"I have been preparing harder this year than I did last year because there is so much more to bowl in 2015 with the new PWBA Tour," Rodriguez said. "I had to make a major change in my preparation, spending time at the gym, with psychologists and lots of practice in order to last the whole season."
Should Rodriguez come away with another victory, she would become just the fifth woman to successfully defend a Queens title, joining Katsuko Sugimoto (1981-82), Donna Adamek (1979-80), Dorothy Fothergill (1972-73) and Millie Ignizio (1970-71).
Only eight bowlers have won multiple titles since the Queens began in 1961, with USBC Hall of Famers Wendy Macpherson and Ignizio as the only three-time winners. The other two-time champions are Lynda Barnes (1998, 2008), Kulick (2007, 2010) and Aleta Sill (1983, 1985).
As the defending champion, Rodriguez automatically will have a spot in the three-game double-elimination bracket portion of the event. However, she will bowl qualifying to try and improve her seeding in the bracket. If she finishes outside of the top 63 in qualifying, she will earn the No. 64 spot in the bracket.
All players will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the 63 bowlers who will join Rodriguez in match play. The player who survives the bracket to win the event will take home $20,000 of the estimated $125,000 prize fund.
For more information on the event, visit BOWL.com/Queens or PWBA.com. To watch qualifying and match play, visit XtraFrame.TV.
United States Bowling Congress: The United States Bowling Congress serves as the national governing body for the sport. USBC is a membership organization that provides standardized rules, regulations and benefits to make bowling fair and fun for everyone.
The interactive home of USBC is BOWL.com. Go to twitter.com/USBC for the fastest USBC headlines.