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RENO, Nev. - United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Robin Romeo of Newhall, Calif., added another green jacket to her collection as she won the 2012 Bowling's Senior U.S. Women's Open at the National Bowling Stadium on Tuesday.
The 1989 U.S. Women's Open champion defeated fellow Hall of Famer Lucy Sandelin of Tampa, Fla., 225-188 to claim the championship trophy, green jacket and $5,000 top prize. With her win in the inaugural running of the event, she becomes the first female bowler in history to own both a U.S. Women's Open and Senior U.S. Women's Open title.
"It's awesome," Romeo said. "(BPAA Executive Director) Steve Johnson just told me I made history because I won the U.S. Women's Open in 1989 so now I'm the first to win both. I didn't even remember that I did get the green jacket. I love it."
Romeo was able to jump out to an early lead in the title match as Sandelin opened in two of the first five frames. Despite the early lead, Romeo knew she had to keep pressing until the final frame was in the books.
"Lucy doesn't miss spares, so for her to start the match with an open was surprising," Romeo said. "When bowling for a championship, or even any match, I try not to pay attention to what my opponent is doing and just bowl my own game. I knew Lucy eventually would start striking and knew I couldn't let up."
More than 20 years after claiming her first U.S. Women's Open title, Romeo cherishes the opportunity to grasp another major championship.
"You never think you're going to win again," said an emotional Romeo after the title match. "But the feeling never gets old. You work so hard and compete your whole life. As you get older things change but the fire is still burning inside. I love competing. I've been bowling better and had a lot of confidence and knew if I just bowled my game and kept my head in a good place things would work out right."
USBC Hall of Famer's Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Wash., and Dana Miller-Mackie of Albuquerque, N.M., squared off in the opening match of the stepladder finals, with Naccarato prevailing 225-177. Romeo went on to defeat Naccarato 244-218 to advance to the championship match against Sandelin.
More than 60 of the top female bowlers age 50 and over made their way to Reno for the inaugural event.
For more information on the Senior U.S. Women's Open, visit BowlingsUSWomensOpen.com.
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