Jordan Richard grabs lead as match play begins at 2022 U.S. Women's Open

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SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - With one round of match play complete, Jordan Richard of Maumee, Ohio, moved into the lead Sunday at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open.

Richard went 6-2 in the opening round of match play to take the reins with an 8,716 total at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center.

Just 79 pins back is 2019 U.S. Women’s Open champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, who went 7-1 to finish with an 8,637 total. Lindsay Boomershine of Brigham City, Utah (8,635), Singapore’s Cherie Tan (8,584) and Erin McCarthy of Elkhorn, Nebraska (8,502), round out the top five.

The top 24 players after an additional eight-game qualifying block Sunday morning advanced to round-robin match play, with seeding based on their 32-game pinfall totals. Two additional rounds of match play will take place on Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern and 5 p.m. Eastern.

Thirty bonus pins are awarded for each win in match play, and the 56-game pinfall totals, including bonus pins, will determine the five players for the championship stepladder.

The winner will take home the iconic U.S. Women's Open trophy, coveted green jacket and $60,000 top prize.

All rounds of qualifying and match play are being broadcast live at BowlTV.com through Monday night, and the event will conclude live Tuesday on CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Sunday brought about a new challenge on the lanes, which came in the form of a 38-foot oil pattern with 18.7 milliliters of oil. It’s the lowest volume used for an oil pattern on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour since its return in 2015.

It was safe to say the lanes were difficult, but Richard was able to steer herself into the lead despite having to navigate a pattern that felt like rigorous terrain. She threw just one ball during Sunday’s match play round and “gradually migrated left” as the lanes called for it.

But, make no mistake, the lanes were hard, and the pattern certainly took its toll mentally on Richard. It might top Richard’s list of most difficult lane conditions she’s bowled on to date.

“This is hard, extremely hard,” said Richard, who owns two career PWBA Tour titles. “It's mentally exhausting. I bowled well. I put some really good shots together, but I feel I have to really focus and really have to try to get the ball right off my hand. This is probably ranked No. 1. It's hard. On shorter patterns, sometimes I don't bowl well, but if I can get to the right and play on top of everybody and just use my ball speed, it works. But on this, it's so speed sensitive, and the pattern magnifies every mistake. It's hard. It's very hard.”

Richard’s performance Sunday is a microcosm of her week. In the rounds leading up to match play, she was fifth, tied for 12th, second and third.

A major part of her success throughout the week has been her focus on a cue in her physical game that, if executed correctly, might just be the difference in not only getting to the finals, but winning her first major title. If so, she’ll have to give the assist to her collegiate coach at Arkansas State, Justin Kostick.

“I bowl better the more I focus on staying down and keeping my trail leg on the ground,” Richard said. “Justin always said that to me. I recently rewatched my show (2022 St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open) and Justin actually texted me, too. My follow-through is getting in front of my face, which means I'm not staying down and pulling up out of the swing. So if I focus on staying down, I throw it better. I know if I stay down, I can project the ball to the right. The minute I pop up, the ball is going left off my hand, and it’s going to do nothing but bad things on this pattern.”

McEwan, a seven-time PWBA Tour champion, is inching closer to another championship-round appearance at the U.S. Women’s Open. In addition to her victory in 2019, she also has finished third (2013) and recorded two fourth-place finishes (2015, 2018). She now has made match play at the U.S. Women’s Open in eight consecutive seasons.

That experience means she’s familiar with the grind and understands what it takes to win, but she will also try to keep things simple.

“I’m pretty content with the day,” McEwan said. “It was a new pattern that we didn’t know how it was going to play or how it was going to transition. I got a good read on it this morning, made some adjustments this afternoon and improved my score.”

And, regarding how she feels physically?

“I'm very tired right now, but I feel physically good,” McEwan said. “I'm throwing it well. I'm seeing the lanes pretty well. I’m just going to take it one game at a time and try to continue to win matches.”