Liz Johnson turned in one of the highest-scoring qualifying blocks so far in the U.S. Women's Open and ended up in fifth place, just 21 pins behind the leader, Wednesday in the major event on the Professional Women's Bowling Tour in Plano, Texas. The former Cheektowaga resident who now lists Deerfield, Ill., as her home, base turned in an eight-game round of 1,861 pins (232.625 average) after her 1,775 round on Tuesday which was the 17th best on the day. Johnson had two games of 254. Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Neb., whom Johnson defeated in winning the Open in 2015, had the high round for Wednesday, 1,887 and is in fourth place. Shannon O'Keefe of O'Fallon, Ill. is the tournament after a 1,833 on Wednesday for a total of 3,657 pins, Johnson has 3,636.
Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, bowling with the last group on Tuesday, was the first-day leader with 1,870. However, her 1,722 on Wednesday dropped her to ninth place.
Kristina Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda had a much better day Wednesday with 1,747 pins after her 1,496 on Tuesday and is tied for 73rd place with a 3,243 total.
Two more eight-game qualifying round remain before match play begins in the most grueling tournament on the women's bowling schedule.