Woman first to win PBA title
Kulick became the first woman to win a PBA Tour title on Sunday, beating Chris Barnes in the final of the 45th Tournament of Champions.
Kulick outscored Barnes, 265-195, to take home the $40,000 first prize and a two-year PBA Tour exemption. The 32-year-old right-hander earned a berth in the Tournament of Champions by winning the PBA Women’s World Championship last September.
“It’s been a dream of mine to win a PBA Tour event, but I couldn’t have imagined it would have come in the Tournament of Champions,” Kulick said in a release. “It may have looked easy, but my legs were like jelly. It got to a point where I couldn’t feel them. Believe me I was nervous and I was just letting adrenaline take over.”
The previous best finish for a woman in a PBA Tour event was second by Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., in the 2005 Banquet Open.
Kulick, of Union, N.J., also was the first woman to earn a PBA Tour exemption, finishing sixth in the tour trials in 2006. Her best finish during the 2006-07 season was 22nd, accomplished twice.
“I believe this can only mean bigger and better things for the sport,” said Kulick, who started Sunday’s match with four consecutive strikes. “If in any way this can be a boost for women sports and bowling, I’m willing to do my part.
“I feel like I’m on a magic carpet ride right now and I want to keep riding it higher and higher.”
Barnes was trying for his second Tournament of Champions win. He also won in 2006.
“When it comes down to one game, a combination of factors have to come together and they just didn’t for me,” he said, “but Kelly bowled great and she met every challenge.”