United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, already knows how to win, but she recently committed herself to learning how to win differently.
The accomplished right-hander has been working hard at adding dimensions to her game that will allow her to remain competitive as the sport of bowling continues to change, and her efforts proved to be successful Tuesday as she rolled through her first two matches at the 2013 USBC Queens, presented by Storm Products.
Dorin-Ballard, a Roto Grip staffer, is one of 16 players still undefeated at the prestigious event, and her match-play journey began with a rematch of last year's championship game, where Storm staffer Diandra Asbaty of Chicago denied her a second Queens title.
This time, Dorin-Ballard prevailed with a 662-551 victory, sending the defending champion straight to the elimination bracket, a challenge she also accepted last year when she defeated 2011 champion Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, Calif., to secure her spot on the TV show.
"I didn't even realize the scenario until Diandra said something," said Dorin-Ballard, who also defeated international star Clara Guerrero, 675-549, at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center on Tuesday. "At this event, you try your best during qualifying, and who you face in the bracket is just luck of the draw. The field keeps getting stronger, so no matter who you get, it's going to be a challenge."
The list of undefeated players includes Dorin-Ballard's next opponent, top-qualifier Shayna Ng of Singapore, four additional international standouts, five Queens champions, four of whom are USBC Hall of Famers, and three current Team USA members, so the road ahead won't be an easy one.
But, along with adding the physical tools required to combat the new lane oils, bowling balls and incredible talent of up-and-coming players, Dorin-Ballard has re-invented her outlook on the game, too.
"I want to make the most of these opportunities while I still can, and that has meant a lot of physical changes and practice, but I've also been training myself to relax more," said Dorin-Ballard, who won the Queens in 2001. "When I leave here tonight, I'm going to leave the bowling here. In the past, I'd spend the night thinking about ball layouts, changing surfaces and a game plan for tomorrow. Now, I am going to spend time with friends catching up on what's going on in our lives, not on the lanes."
Asbaty is one of 16 bowlers alive in the elimination bracket after wins against Singapore's Jasmine Yeong-Nathan (649-587) and Deanna Carrillo of Montebello, Calif., 749-579.
Match play will continue Wednesday at noon EDT live on BOWL.com's BowlTV. The final five players will advance to the televised stepladder finals, which will be taped Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern and air on ESPN2 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
The 2013 Queens champion will take home the $20,000 top prize, and a perfect game in the championship match will earn the player an additional $10,000 from Storm Bowling Products.
The Queens is open to any female USBC member, and with this year's event coming just after the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Championships, the field included 202 players representing 15 countries.