By Jason Thomas
EAGAN, Minn. – Two months ago, Shannon O’Keefe was in tears after cutting short a practice session because of severe pain in her left hip. Concerned that she would not be able to properly prepare for the grind of another season, she kept pushing through the pain and claimed her 15th career title Sunday at the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Twin Cities Open.
The 43-year-old right-hander from Belleville, Illinois, defeated Missy Parkin of San Clemente, California, 213-192, in the title match at Cedarvale Lanes live on CBS Sports Network.
“I can’t even fathom having 15 titles,” O’Keefe said. “It’s been over a year since my last one but given everything I’ve been going through with my injury, I feel so blessed to be able to win again.”
O’Keefe took home the $ 20,000 first-place prize and earned her second victory at Cedarvale Lanes after winning at the venue in 2019.
In the title match, O’Keefe threw a key turkey, starting in the third frame, to jump out to an early lead. Parkin, who also was the runner-up in Eagan in 2021, kept the match close and put pressure on O’Keefe with a key 4-9 conversion in the eighth frame. But a 4-6 split in the 10th frame allowed O’Keefe to coast to the win with just a few pins in the final frame.
“Yesterday and today felt like the best I’ve thrown the ball in years,” O’Keefe said. “I felt like I had the two lanes on the championship pair playing a lot more similar than everyone else. I just needed to be a little softer on the left lane and that was the key.”
O’Keefe had a long road through a stellar field of finalists to even make it to the title match. She defeated defending champion Dasha Kovalova of Ukraine in the opening match of the afternoon, 227-159, before dispatching reigning PWBA Player of the Year Bryanna Coté of Tucson, Arizona, in the second match, 228-163.
In the semifinal, O’Keefe took on long-time Team USA teammate Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, who was making her second consecutive finals appearance after finishing fourth at last week’s United States Bowling Congress Queens. McEwan hit the pocket on all but two shots and rolled a clean 204 game, but O’Keefe caught fire, throwing a late five-bagger to easily take the win with a 247 game.
With the victory, O’Keefe joins Kim Adler, Cindy Coburn-Carroll, Anne Marie Duggan and Lorrie Nichols with 15 career PWBA wins. All four bowlers are members of the PWBA Hall of Fame.
“After attending the PWBA Hall of Fame ceremony at the Queens last week, those legends of the sport are fresh in my mind, and it is just unbelievable to be mentioned in the same breath with them,” said O’Keefe. “I would love to eventually get to 20 titles, but it is so hard to win out here that I am just so grateful for every one, because you never know when it might be your last.”
The 2022 event started with 78 competitors. After 12 games of qualifying on the first day, the top 26 players advanced to the final day of competition before the final five were determined after 24 total games.
The PWBA Tour season continues June 2-5 at the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open in Seminole, Florida.
Twin Cities Regional
Sunday also saw the running of the PWBA Twin Cities Regional, which was won by Kerry Smith of New Holland, Pennsylvania. Smith defeated Felicia Wong of Canada in the title match, 233-213.
Smith advanced to the title match after defeating Kayla Bandy of Wichita, Kansas, 189-187. In the opening match, Bandy defeated of Alexis Neuer of Milton, Pennsylvania, 244-213.
The 30-player regional field bowled eight games of qualifying, with the top four players advancing to the stepladder finals. The finals were streamed live at BowlTV.com.
For more information on the PWBA, visit PWBA.com.
2022 PWBA Twin Cities Open
At Cedarvale Lanes
1, Shannon O’Keefe, Belleville, Ill., 915 (four games), $ 20,000.
2, Missy Parkin, San Clemente, Calif., 192 (one game), $ 10,000.
3, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 204 (one game), $ 7,700.
4, Bryanna Coté, Tucson, Ariz., 163 (one game), $ 6,600.
5, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 159 (one game), $ 5,600.
Match No. 1 – O’Keefe def. Kovalova, 227-159.
Match No. 2 – O’Keefe def. Coté, 228-163.
Semifinal – O’Keefe def. McEwan, 247-204.
Championship – O’Keefe def. Parkin, 213-192.
TWIN CITIES REGIONAL RESULTS
1, Kerry Smith, New Holland, Pa., 422 (two games), $ 1,200.
2, Felicia Wong, Canada, 213 (one game) $ 700.
3, Kayla Bandy, Wichita, Kan., 431 (two games), $ 500.
4, Alexis Neuer, Milton, Pa., 213 (one game) $ 400.
Match No. 1 – Bandy def. Neuer, 244-213.
Semifinal – Smith def. Bandy, 189-187.
Championship – Smith def. Wong, 233-213.