Kelly Kulick Makes Sports History - 1st Woman To Win A PBA Tour Title - I'm So Proud To Be A Woman Bowler!
I was so proud to not only be a woman but to be a woman bowler last Sunday as I watched 32-year old Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey become the first woman to win a Profession Bowlers Association Tour Title by capturing the 45th PBA Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas.
I cried with tears of joy at the accomplishment that Kelly achieved and at the impact of what her performance will do for woman and the sport of bowling.
In a sport dominated by men, Kelly's win was truly a historic one. The PBA Tour is not for the faint of heart with its grueling qualifying and match play format to make the finals each week. You not only have to be physically fit to compete in the sport of bowling but have a great mental game as well when each and every shot and pin counts.
Kelly was seeded in the #2 spot in the ESPN telecast in the 4-player finals. Her performance against top seed and 2006 Tournament of Champions winner Chris Barnes in the title match was almost flawless in her 265-195 victory.
Starting out with four consecutive strikes, Kelly opened in the fifth frame with a 7-10 split. She finished Barnes off with five more strikes and a nine-count on her final ball to close out the match and take home the $40,000 first prize and a two-year PBA exemption.
To put in perspective the magnitude of this historic win here is a quote from former tennis star and Women's Sports Foundation founder Billie Jean King:
"Kelly Kulick's win today at the PBA Tour's Tournament of Champions is not only historic, it serves as a motivational and inspirational event for girls and women competing at all levels all around the world," King said. "Kelly had a great week, defeating several of the top-ranked men's bowlers in the world, and hopefully she can truly enjoy the moment and appreciate how it is not only a big deal in bowling, but a major moment in her life and potentially the lives of others."
Kelly is a former 3-time collegiate champion from Moorehead State University, a former two time Collegiate Bowler of the Year and a two-time member of Team USA.
On the women's professional bowling front Kelly won the 2007 USBC Queens Tournament, was the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) Rookie of the Year in 2001 and won the Women's U. S. Open in 2003. She was the first women to achieve a PBA Tour exemption earning that coveted spot through the PBA Tour Trials during the 2006-2007 season. In 2006 she also won a PBA regional title.
On a day when most people were glued to their televisions watching football games, Kelly Kulick made her mark in sports history in the game of bowling. Her feat did not go unnoticed by NFL star Terrell Owens who tweeted about it to his followers shortly after her win.
Kelly's fan page on Facebook has been inundated with congratulatory messages and thousands of new fans.
To be a witness to what I feel is the best performance I've ever seen in professional bowling given the tremendous pressure that Kelly was under makes her accomplishment that much more spectacular.