SINGAPORE - National bowler New Hui Fen's first title on the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour is also a Major.
The 24-year-old Singaporean pipped teammate Cherie Tan 258-235 to win the season-ending PWBA Tour Championships in Midlothian, Virginia, early Monday (Sept 5) morning. She pockets US$20,000 (S$27,200) for the win on the United States-based Tour while Tan takes home US$10,000.
Both bowlers scored upsets in their respective semi-finals to make the final an all-Singaporean affair. Both the semi-finals and the final were televised live in the US.
Tan, seeded 16th, beat top seeded American Liz Johnson 199-195 in her semi-final. New, the 11th seed, beat Colombia's second seed Rocio Restrepo 213-189 in the other semi-final.
Johnson, who is the reigning PWBA Player of the Year, and Restrepo were given automatic slots in the semi-finals as the top two players on the PWBA points standings, while the Singaporeans had to win three matches over two days to earn a place in the final four.
Going into the semi-finals, New had already secured the Rookie of the Year award - the first non-American to win the award since Australia's Cara Honeychurch in 2000.
She earned the most points among debutantes over the season, despite competing in just six of the 14 tournaments this year. Before the Tour Championship, she competed in five other tournaments, posting top-five finishes in four of them.
New, who started the final with five consecutive strikes, told PBWA.com: "I think this win will impact many other players like how Joseph Schooling has impacted all of Singapore with his win in swimming at the Olympics.
"What he said was really true, 'even people from the smallest countries can do great things'. So, I believe our neighbouring countries will look at us and say 'wow, if they can do it, so can we'."
Team Singapore's keglers have fared well on the Tour this year, with two out of the four Majors going to the Republic. Bernice Lim won the USBC Queens event in May, while Tan also lifted the Sacramento Open crown.