Sports

Bowler Cherie Tan is first Asian to win PWBA Players' C'ship

S'porean beats two-time PWBA Player of the Year O'Keefe for back-to-back wins

Last week, she became the first Singaporean to win the Masters event in the World Bowling Women's Championships in Las Vegas.

Yesterday, Cherie Tan made it back-to-back victories by clinching the QubicaAMF Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) Players Championship in North Carolina.

The 31-year-old is the first Asian to emerge victorious at the tournament, one of the four Majors on the PWBA Tour.

Tan, who entered the stepladder finals as the top seed with 8,744 pinfalls, came up against two-time PWBA Player of the Year Shannen O'Keefe, 40, in the title match.

The American, who was the fifth seed (8,170 pinfalls), had become the first player in nearly 20 years to claim four titles on the PWBA Tour after winning the Orlando Open last month.

Tan was not overawed, however. She maintained her focus and delivered nine strikes to defeat O'Keefe 245-204 and claim the US$20,000 (S$25,600) first prize.

Having to beat O'Keefe would sound like a daunting task, but Tan kept her composure simply by occupying her mind with productive thoughts, like what she needed to do on the alley.

"I wasn't focusing on my opponent," she said. "I was just focusing on my own game, one shot at a time."

Admitting that her Masters win had boosted her confidence, Tan did more than enough to see off O'Keefe.

"The competition here is so great and so tough. To be able to win a Major really shows that Singapore bowling is going in the right direction," she added.

"This win means a lot to me as it shows that my hard work has finally paid off. I'm thankful for all the support that Sport Singapore and the SBF (Singapore Bowling Federation) have given to me over the years."

Next up is the season-ending PWBA Tour Championship from Sunday to Sept 18 in Virginia, where fellow Singaporean Shayna Ng will also be taking part in the year's final Major.

While Tan played down her chances of a third consecutive title, citing the different lane conditions, you can expect that she will be keeping to the same mantra that helped her clinch back-to-back victories.

Focus on her own game, one shot at a time.

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