PALEMBANG, Indonesia - Team USA's Kelly Kulick said she sometimes struggles on medium-length oil patterns when the lanes are freshly oiled, and that was true for her at times this week at the 2019 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, where she has bowled 32 games over five days.
That couldn't have been further from the truth Friday, however, as the 42-year-old right-hander started the Round of 24 with games 223 and 236 to quickly make her way back to the top of the women's standings at the Jakabaring Sport City Bowling Center.
She and Malaysia's Natasha Roslan leapfrogged each other throughout the day, just as they did during the four days of qualifying at the 2019 QubicaAMF World Cup, but it's Kulick who now will lead the remaining eight women into Saturday's round-robin match play.
Kulick finished Friday's eight-game round with a 32-game total of 6,725, a 210.16 average. She is six pins ahead or Roslan (6,719).
"Today was my best block by far," said Kulick, whose day included a high game of 243 and only one game below 200 (197). "I felt the most comfortable physically, and mentally, I was the strongest I've been all week long. I got tricked a little on where to play, but after watching some of the women warm-up and knowing where they played all week, I was able to put two and two together finally, and I had a great day."
Two-time World Cup champion Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic is a distant third and more than 200 pins back with 6,514. She is followed by Rebecca Whiting of Australia (6,495) and Stephanie Martins of Brazil (6,468).
Guerra is looking to become the first woman to win the event three times. Her victories came in 2010 and 2011.
The other women still in contention at the 2019 event are Russia's Maria Koshel (6,417), Jeon Eunhee of South Korea (6,365) and Venezuela's Karen Marcano (6,351).
Competition will resume at 9 a.m. local time (Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern), and total pinfall for 40 games, including bonus pins for each win in match play, will decide the four men and four women who will advance to Saturday afternoon's knockout-style semifinals.
This week's QubicaAMF World Cup features a 41-foot oil pattern.
The climb into the top eight ended up being a bit too steep for Team USA's John Janawicz, who fought all week to stay above the cutline to the top 24 and locked up a spot with a clutch ending to Thursday's fourth round.
The pins didn't fall as easily for the 47-year-old right-hander in the Round of 24 on Friday, though his 1,635 eight-game total did help him move up four spots in the standings.
Overall, his 6,388 total for 32 games earned him a 19th-place finish in his first World Cup appearance.
"The bowling itself was a little disappointing, but this has been a great experience," said Janawicz, a nine-time Team USA member. "It's a really cool tournament with a long format that's a lot of fun. It's also nice to see some of the friends you've made over the years and make some new ones. I'd love an opportunity to come back again and try to improve."
Francois Louw of South Africa, the 2015 World Cup runner-up, maintained his place atop the men's standings for the fifth consecutive day. He finished with a 32-game pinfall total of 7,122, a 222.56 average.
He will be joined in match play by Ireland's Christopher Sloan (6,996), Oliver Morig of Germany (6,959), Lee Wanhee of South Korea (6,856), defending champion Sam Cooley of Australia (6,852), Indonesia's Ryan Lalisang (6,843), Jaroslav Lorenc of the Czech Republic (6,713) and Jasem Alsaqer of Kuwait (6,710).
All competitors this week, 73 men and 60 women representing 75 countries, bowled 24 games over four days (six games each day), before total pinfall determined the 24 men and 24 women who returned to the lanes Friday afternoon for eight additional games.
The United States is the defending champion on the women's side this week in Indonesia, with Kulick looking to retain the title Shannon O'Keefe claimed in Las Vegas last year.
Past champion Krizziah Lyn Tabora of the Philippines (2017) also made the cut to the top 24 and finished 17th overall with a 6,102 total.
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 last time the event was held in Indonesia was in 1980, when it visited Jakarta.
To see the complete schedule for the 2019 World Cup, visit QubicaAMF.com.