Kuhlkin Wins 2018 U.S. Women's Open
Orlando, Fla. - Former Husker Liz Kuhlkin won her first major title, as she won four matches in the stepladder finals to win the 2018 U.S. Women's Open on Saturday at Boardwalk Bowl.
In the final, Kuhlkin defeated top-seeded Stefanie Johnson by a score of 218-196 to capture the title.
The tournament began Monday and ran through Saturday evening, beginning with a series of qualifying rounds to determine the top 36 competitors. Those 36 players then moved on to play 8 games of qualifying to cut to the top 24 players. The top 24 players then moved on to play 8 games of head-to-head match-play to discover the top 5 players who advanced to the stepladder finals.
Kuhlkin sat 64th after the opening round, but moved up to 30th at the first elimination to move on in the tournament. Needing to make it into the top 24 for the next round of eliminations, Kuhlkin bowled over 200 in seven of her eight remaining qualifying games, moving her to 20th in the standings. Kuhlkin solidified her spot in the stepladder finals by ending the qualifying rounds with an average of 217.05.
Kuhlkin went into the stepladder finals on Saturday sitting in fifth place, needing to defeat all four of the other top five players for the championship title. Kulhlkin took the first match against Shannon O’Keefe 235-214, sending her to play Danielle McEwan in the second round. After defeating McEwan 246-172, Kuhlkin solidified her spot in the championship by beating another former Husker, Erin McCarthy, 213-186.
Kuhlkin ended the tournament with an average of 217.78. She was a three-time All-American competing for Nebraska from 2012-15, and she was the 2015 NTCA Bowler of the Year.
Shannon Pluhowsky, who competed for NU from 2001-05, placed 19th overall with an average of 210.25.