HERMOSILLO, Mexico - After four days and 24 games of qualifying, the field at the 2017 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup has been narrowed to the top 24 women and top 24 men.
Defending champion Jenny Wegner of Sweden maintained her place atop the women's standings for the fourth consecutive day, a position she claimed during the second game of qualifying with the event's only 300. She averaged 227.21 on the way to a 24-game total of 5,453.WegnerJenny2017WorldCupForWeb250x140
Germany's Vanessa Timter qualified second with a 5,283 total and was followed by Rocio Restrepo of Colombia (5,258), Team USA's Erin McCarthy (5,161) and Malaysia's Siti Rahman (5,149).
"I honestly haven't put much thought into the scores, and I've just been really focused on making good shots," said Wegner, who never was higher than fourth in the standings on her way to the World Cup title in Shanghai in 2016. "I do feel more confident this year, but I'm not worried about the standings. I plan to keep doing what I've been doing, and that's taking it one shot at a time."
Malaysia's Ahmad Muaz set the pace through 24 games on the men's side, turning in the highest six-game block of the event Thursday, a 1,487 effort, to shoot from 11th place to the top spot with a 5,334 total. He averaged nearly 248 in the final round and 222.25 overall.
Team USA's Jakob Butturff held the lead briefly Thursday and qualified second overall with a 5,298 total. He started strong the final round but found the last three games to be a grind as he tried to keep up with Muaz.
"I've already figured out that the games late in the block are going to be a grind, so I need to get out to a strong start and then make sure to make good shots and make my spares during the later games," Butturff said. "I saw what he was doing today, and that's a phenomenal performance no matter what situation you're in. He put his foot down and put up an amazing block. Now, I have to work on my own strategy so I can go out and bowl an even better one."
Oscar Rodriguez of Colombia finished the day third with a 5,252 total and was followed by Mats Maggi of Belgium (5,249) and Nicola Pongolini of Italy (5,232).
It took an average of 191.83 to advance on the women's side, with Hong Kong's Han Chan earning the final spot in the next round with a 4,604 total. For the men, Mahmood Al Attar of the United Arab Emirates was the final player to advance, posting a 24-game total of 4,882, a 203.42 average.
The remaining contenders will return to the lanes at Bol 300 on Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern for eight additional games, after which, 32-game pinfall totals will determine the eight bowlers in each division for round-robin match play Friday afternoon.
The top four men and top four women after 40 games this week, including bonus pins from wins in match play, will advance to Saturday's knockout-style semifinals, where the No. 1 seed will face the No. 4 qualifier and No. 2 and No. 3 will do battle. The winners of each match will earn a spot in the championship game.
This year marks the record third time the World Cup has visited Hermosillo (1994, 2008) and sixth time Mexico has played host.
Two Mexicans have won the World Cup. Irma Urrea won in Hamburg, Germany, in 1972, the first time women competed, and Alfonso Rodriguez, took the title in Seoul, South Korea, in 1985.
Both representatives from Mexico advanced to the next round this week at Bol 300. Arturo Estrada (5,176) and Maribel Orozco (5,099) each sit in seventh place in their respective divisions after 24 games.
The World Cup first was contested in 1965, and the tournament now is considered one of the sport's most prestigious singles titles. It also is recognized as the largest event in the sport in terms of number of countries competing.
The field this week includes 64 men and 54 women, representing 68 countries.
For more information about the 2017 QubicaAMF World Cup, visit QubicaAMF.com.