McEwan Wins The Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship; Liz Johnson Claims Player of the Year Award
Sunday, 9.13.2015
Danielle McEwan won her first career title at The Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship (Photo Courtesy USBC)
ARLINGTON, Texas - Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, recorded her first professional victory by claiming The Smithfield Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour Championship promoted by on Sunday.

In the championship match, broadcast live on CBS Sports Network, McEwan defeated Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, 233-205, at the International Training and Research Center.

McEwan overcame two 7-10 splits in the first six frames of the title match before settling in and delivering the final five strikes to force Johnson to double in the 10th to secure her second title of the season and PWBA Player of the Year honors.

"After the first one, I thought it was just a bad break and that it would be fine," McEwan said. "The second one really bothered me. I threw away the wood on the spare, which was not smart. After that I calmed down and made sure that pin didn't hurt me at the end of the match."

Johnson's first shot in the 10th went through the head pin, leaving a 7-10 split, to give the 24-year-old right-hander the title and $20,000 top prize.

"Everyone saw how emotional I got, and I'm usually not like that," McEwan said. "It's been a long year, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity. It's good to see how everything I've worked for has paid off. This win means everything."

McEwan made her way into the final by defeating Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York, in the semifinals, 278-224. Stefanie Johnson earned her spot in the championship match by besting PWBA spokesperson Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, 231-224.

The event also finalized the PWBA Player of the Year race with Liz Johnson topping Stefanie Johnson for the honor. Stefanie Johnson claimed PWBA Rookie of the Year.

Liz Johnson, a USBC Hall of Famer, captured three titles, including the United States Bowling Congress Queens and Bowlmor AMF U.S. Women's Open, during the 2015 season and led all competitors in points, earnings and wins to take home the award for the first time in her storied career.

"It has been an incredible 2015 season," Liz Johnson said. "I didn't think at the beginning of the year that something like this would have happened. It's just been an amazing year, and I really worked hard for everything I got. Hopefully there's more to come."

Stefanie Johnson captured her first title at the PWBA Wichita Open in July, and led the tour in cashes and match-play appearances.

"It's a dream come true," Stefanie Johnson said. "Just to have this opportunity to bowl with the best of the best and continue to put myself in position to win was amazing, and to win Rookie of the Year has been the icing on the cake."

PWBA members qualified for the Tour Championship by either winning a title during the 2015 season or earning enough competition points. All 2015 PWBA Tour champions (who were members at the time of their victory) received an automatic invitation to the Tour Championship, and the remainder of the 16-player field was filled out through the PWBA points list.

International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas

(Losers eliminated, earn $5,000)
Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., def. Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 278-224
Stefanie Johnson, Grand Prairie, Texas, def. Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 231-224

(Winner earns $20,000; Loser earns $10,000)
McEwan def. S. Johnson, 233-205
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