LAS VEGAS - Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, continued her dream season Saturday by winning the 2018 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup to cap a successful week for the stars of the Professional Women's Bowling Association.
Three of the four spots in the knockout-style championship round belonged to PWBA Tour players, and O'Keefe, the 2018 PWBA Player of the Year, claimed the win by defeating 2017 Pepsi PWBA Lincoln Open champion Sin Li Jane of Malaysia, 238-236.
Also earning a spot in the semifinals was 2018 PWBA Tour Championship winner Maria Jose Rodriguez of Colombia, while Indonesia's Nadia Nuramalina was the top seed after 40 games of qualifying and round-robin match play.
In all, six of the eight PWBA members in the 68-player women's field advanced to match play, and all eight players made it past the Round of 24.
The other PWBA finishers were Singapore's Daphne Tan (fifth place); Latvia's Diana Zavjalova (seventh); Venezuela's Karen Marcano (eighth); Mexico's Tannya Lopez (13th); and Brazil's Stephanie Martins (20th).
Saturday's title match at the Sam's Town Bowling Center came down to the final shot. O'Keefe finished the game first, rolling a strike before converting a 7 pin to force Sin to fill 20 pins to win the title.
Sin's first shot went high, leaving a 6-10 combination which she was able to convert. Needing a strike for the title and nine to force a tie, Sin's final shot also crept high and left the 4-6-10 split.
"I wanted to walk away from the semifinals and finals happy with my performance, and that's exactly what I did," said O'Keefe, an eight-time PWBA Tour champion. "I did what I could do and could only control what I could control. I stayed in the moment, stayed focused and executed, and that's all I can ask of myself.
"I knew the right lane was going away a little bit, and I was making little adjustments throughout the match. I had bowled three matches on that pair, and the right lane always hooked earlier. As soon as she was up in the 10th and went high, I knew it might be in the back of her head, but I did not expect her to split and get seven. I'm very grateful I put myself in position to be able to take advantage of her bad break."
O'Keefe's whirlwind year started with a win at the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials, which automatically placed her as the representative for the United States at the 2018 World Cup.
The 39-year-old right-hander rolled through the 2018 PWBA Tour season, recording wins at the PWBA Sonoma County Open and USBC Queens on her way to earning her first player-of-the-year award.
O'Keefe's dedication to perfecting her craft certainly is no secret, but she also believes positive reinforcement has helped define her performance in 2018.
"I started this year with a completely different mindset," O'Keefe said. "I would write in my journal and end every single day with a goal statement. Before Team Trials, I would write that I was going to win Team Trials and make Team USA. After that, my goal statement each day was winning 2018 PWBA Player of the Year. Leading into this event, I finished each day by writing 'I am the 2018 QubicaAMF World Cup champion.' To be able to believe that it was possible enough for me to write it with conviction every single day and see it come to fruition throughout the entire year shows the power in belief and power in words. I'm so blessed."
To advance to Saturday's championship round at the World Cup, O'Keefe bested Nuramalina, 247-202, while Sin defeated Rodriguez, 207-166.
Qualifying at the 2018 World Cup consisted of three eight-game blocks over three days, with total pinfall determining the 24 players advancing to the fourth round. After 32 games, total pinfall determined the eight players advancing to round-robin match play.
After match play concluded, 40-game pinfall totals, including bonus pins for each match won, determined the four players advancing to the championship round.
All rounds of the 2018 World Cup were broadcast live on BowlTV.