Hui Fen's New-found success
Hui Fen finally finds consistency after her forays into the US
For the longest time, bowler New Hui Fen has struggled with consistency.
The 2009 Asian Youth Games singles gold medallist would do well in one competition, but fare miserably the next, not knowing why she was good or poor.
"I was like 'don't know, never mind, next tournament'," said the 24-year-old in a recent interview with The New Paper.
"Maybe I was just lucky, that the lanes suited me or something."
But a string of poor results in the United States last year shocked the business management undergraduate at Kaplan Singapore.
Among the five Singapore bowlers - the others were Jazreel Tan, Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan and Daphne Tan - who competed in the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) Lubbock and Wichita Opens, New was the only one to miss the cut in both.
She recounted: "I missed the cuts by just 17 or 18 pinfalls... it was really a wake-up call for me to work on my versatility."
She has a variety of skills, such as footwork and ball release, but could never find a consistent combination.
But, this year, she has benefited immensely from lengthy consultations with representatives of Storm Bowling, an SBF sponsor, during and in between competitions in the US.
She said: "They don't really think about your physical game, because in competition, it's more important to have balls that match up to the conditions.
"They know the value of each bowling ball at the back of their minds and know what to do with each situation."
New would message the consultants on Facebook whenever she had any queries, and even quizzed seasoned American pros such as Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson during tournaments when she noticed something interesting about their play.
She was rewarded with a stellar season in the States.
She earned the most number of points among the debutantes on the PWBA circuit, despite competing in only six of 14 tournaments, and was named the Rookie of the Year.
To top it off, she clinched the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship title, a Major, after beating teammate Cherie Tan 258-235 in the final.
In doing so, she became the fourth Singaporean to win a PWBA title in the last two years.
Jazreel Tan won the Lubbock Sports Open last year, while this year, Bernice Lim won the USBC Queens title and Cherie Tan captured the Sacramento Open.
SBF executive and technical director Mervyn Foo said the bowlers benefited from the Storm experts, as well as expertise from the Singapore Sports Institute.
He said: "That created a huge awareness for the players on how well their own decision-making process were."
Foo also lauded New for her break-out season: "Her determination and maturity in the game (allowed her to do so well this year). She was always looking for answers on how to overcome the lanes after every event, be it good or bad results."
New is hoping that her form will give her a shot at being selected for the World Singles Championships in Doha, Qatar in December.
"I am more confident of my bowling now... I feel I have more skills now and I have more experience," she said.
"It'd be great to go (to Qatar) because I've never bowled there before."