In this handout photo provided by the Bowling Proprietors Association of America, Leanne Hulsenberg bowls in the finals match of the Bowling's U.S. Women's Open 2011, Thursday June 30, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Hulsenberg went on to win the tournament. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen, Bowling Proprietors Association of America)
Hall of Famer Leanne Hulsenberg won the U.S. Women's Open bowling title Thursday night at Cowboys Stadium, beating 2003 and 2010 winner Kelly Kulick 218-183 in the championship match.
The championship round was contested on lanes constructed on the 50-yard-line of the football stadium.
Hulsenberg, from Roseville, Calif., earned $50,000 for her 27th professional victory and first since the Three Rivers Open in Pittsburgh in September 2002.
"I'm actually sitting here thinking I can't believe this just happened to me," Hulsenberg said, "This win means so many different things to me. For my family, it's a very special day because I met my husband after I stopped bowling full time. On a bowling level, it's special because I've been with Ebonite for 20 years and they had so much to do with this tournament."
Kulick, from Union, N.J., received $25,000. The 183 game was the lowest Kulick had in 49 tournament games. She entered the match averaging 241.35.
"Unfortunately, my feel just wasn't there tonight," said Kulick, the only female competitor to win on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. "The humidity level was very high, and I never got a comfortable fit with the ball. There never was a happy medium. It wasn't that I was lost on the lanes. I went in and did the best I could."
In the semifinal, Hulsenberg edged Lynda Barnes of Double Oak 247-246. Barnes beat Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington 268-166 in the opening match, and topped Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 259-225 in the second.