Strenuous campaign thwarts Tan

Jazreel Tan in action during the US Women's Open in New Jersey, where she finished third, losing the semi-final to defending champion Liz Johnson.
Jazreel Tan in action during the US Women's Open in New Jersey, where she finished third, losing the semi-final to defending champion Liz Johnson.PHOTO COURTESY OF US WOMEN'S OPEN

After one of the most exhausting weeks of bowling for national kegler Jazreel Tan, her attempt to win a maiden US Open title came up agonisingly short.

The 25-year-old Singaporean, a triple gold medallist at the SEA Games in June, was eliminated in the penultimate round of the stepladder finals to finish third overall.

She had qualified as the fourth seed - and the only amateur among the top-five finalists - for Sunday's match-play round with a score of 12,090 pinfalls after 56 gruelling games at the Brunswick Zone Carolier in New Jersey.

She took out top American professional and three-time US Open champion Kelly Kulick 195-190 in the opening clash.

Despite trailing by 28 pins at the halfway point of her next match against Team USA member Danielle McEwan, Tan regrouped to score a 172-165 win to advance to the semi-final against defending champion Liz Johnson.

Playing in her 59th game - the most by any player - Tan could not muster another fightback after falling behind and lost 177-199 to Johnson, who went on to edge compatriot Shannon O'Keefe 190-189 in a tense final to claim the US$50,000 (S$71,000) winner's cheque.

"The lanes were brutal," said a disappointed Tan, a four-time first-team All-American and two-time collegiate player of the year at Wichita State from 2009 -13.

She and the other four finalists had averaged more than 205 pinfalls before the elimination round but none of them could crack 200 in the stepladder stage.

This was the 41-year-old Johnson's fourth green jacket and she became the first player to successfully defend the title since Dorothy Fothergill in 1969.

Said the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer: "This has been an amazing year, to say the least... I didn't make the best shots I could have or should have, but I got it done."

Tan, who was Singapore's most successful athlete at last year's Asian Games in Incheon with four medals, had been seeking her second victory on the newly-formed Professional Women's Bowling Association circuit following her win at the Lubbock Sports Open in Texas in July.

She earned US$14,500 for finishing third while compatriots Shayna Ng, Daphne Tan and New Hui Fen finished 17th, 19th and 23rd respectively in the final event of the 2015 PWBA Tour schedule before next week's PWBA Tour Championship.

Tan and her team-mates will skip that and focus on regional tournaments before their next major assignment, the World Bowling Championship, held in Abu Dhabi from Dec 5-14.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Strenuous campaign thwarts Tan'. Print Edition | Subscribe