SEMINOLE, FL—After three professional tournaments in which she hadn’t come close to making the cut, former Vanderbilt All-American Giselle Poss knew it was time to do something different.
So she set different goals, tweaked her mindset and presto – she emerged from the Professional Women’s Bowling Association’s St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open as the No. 2 seed and is one of four pros headed for the televised finals in August.
The Montgomery, Ill., product finished behind veteran Shannon O’Keefe and ahead of third-seeded and former two-time NCAA Bowler of the Year Danielle McEwan and Columbia’s Clara Guerrero, a former tour champion. The foursome advances to Plano, Tex., next month to compete on CBS Sports Network for the tournament championship as part of the PWBA’s plan to showcase their tournaments on national television.
“In my previous pro events I went in the mindset that I was going to win,” Poss admitted, “and that is not the way you win a professional tournament. So this week I set three goals; I wanted to make the cashers round, I wanted to make match play and I wanted to get on television.”
Check, check and check.
Poss bowled well from the git-go this week, learning from mistakes she made in her first three tournaments.
“I took it one shot at a time, that’s the secret but it can be very difficult to do,” Poss explains. “The bad games can come so quickly you don’t have time to reflect. So I tried to stay in the moment and never let myself think that I had it all figured out. I had been down that road before.”
Poss said she tried to acknowledge when her nerves flared up and focused on her breathing – a relaxation technique she learned as a Vanderbilt Commodore. It paid dividends.
In the last game of the position round, she needed to double and then knock down 8 or more pins for the win…and she struck out to the “W”. Poss was unbeaten in match play, fashioning games of 254-225-214-223-226-247. She was particularly pleased that her big scores came on an oil pattern that was not necessarily suited to her preference.
Advancing as the second seed in a field that contained the biggest names in the sport raised G’s confidence level but it also left her a bit dumb-struck to realize she had beaten so many super-stars, including her former college assistant coach – Josie Earnest Barnes, who had also reached match play but didn’t advance.
“Josie came up to me with tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug and said she was proud of me,” Poss said. “And Shannon O’Keefe also gave me a congratulatory hug when it was over. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
The championship will be televised on the CBS Sports Network Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. CDT. The PWBA tapes four of its championships at the same site as the US Open, which explains for the delay in settling the championship.
For complete statistical information, go to pwba.com.