HERMOSILLO, Mexico – Sweden’s Jenny Wegner said careless mistakes make her mad, and being mad seems to make her bowl better.
After winning the women’s title at the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup last year in her debut at the event, Wegner had little to be upset about, but a slow start to her title defense this week at Hermosillo’s Bol 300 provided her with a little extra motivation.
The 23-year-old right-hander started the 2017 tournament Monday with a less-than-satisfying 192 game, but she took her anger out on the pins and followed it with the first 300 of the event.
Wegner ended the first round of qualifying atop the standings and maintained her place with another solid performance in Tuesday’s second round. Sets of 1,445 and 1,318, respectively, helped her pace the 54-player women’s field with a 12-game total of 2,763, a 230.25 average.
Germany’s Vanessa Timter is 57 pins back with 2,706 and followed by Rocio Restrepo of Colombia (2,641), Team USA’s Erin McCarthy (2,617) and the representative from the host country, Maribel Orozco of Mexico (2,611).
“When I get mad, I really seem to bowl well, so I was able to turn that first game yesterday into more than I could’ve expected,” said Wegner, who defeated Team USA’s Danielle McEwan to win the World Cup last year in Shanghai. “There’s still a lot of games left, but it’s nice to have the extra pins at this point. I just hope I can keep it up.”
After 24 games over four days this week, the field will be cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women. Total pinfall after eight additional games will determine the eight players in each division who advance to round-robin match play.
Singapore’s Charlene Lim holds the 24th spot in the standings with a 2,300 total, a 191.67 average.
Each day is an opportunity to get more comfortable on the 41-foot oil pattern, but it’s also a chance to pull farther ahead of the cutline.
“I thought it was a little different today compared to yesterday, so I know I need to be awake and aware each day,” Wegner said. “It’s important to watch what’s going on during each squad and on each pair and focus on staying ahead of the transition, so you can make the right moves.”
McCarthy, a self-proclaimed slow-starter, averaged nearly 234 on the way to a 1,403 set Tuesday and surged into the top five from 12th place after the first round of qualifying.
The 27-year-old right-hander managed to battle some early nerves and approached Tuesday’s round with an open mind. She found success and momentum by putting extra surface on a ball she didn’t use Monday.
“Nerves, poor equipment choices and bad decisions meant struggling early, but I like the longer format, which allows me to come back from that, especially since I have a tendency to start slowly,” McCarthy said. “I know this is an individual tournament, but the fact that I’m bowling for my country and wearing the USA on my back added some nerves to start. But, it’s helpful to know I have the support of all my teammates back home.”
On the men’s side, Mexico’s Arturo Estrada held off a slew of challengers to maintain his lead with a 12-game total of 2,682, a 223.5 average. The 38-year-old right-hander had a 1,249 six-game block Tuesday at Bol 300 to go along with 1,433 in the opening round.
Colombia’s Oscar Rodriguez settled into second place with a 2,639 total and was followed by Finland’s Niko Oksanen (2,606), Team USA’s Jakob Butturff (2,604) and Nicola Pongolini of Italy (2,589).
Leonardo Davis of the Bahamas and Artemijs Hudjakovs of Latvia are tied for 24th place at the halfway point with 2,411, a 200.92 average.
All competitors will return to the lanes at Bol 300 on Wednesday for the third round of qualifying. The men will start the day, live on BowlTV, at noon Eastern. The women will take the lanes at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
This year marks the record third time the World Cup has visited Hermosillo (1994, 2008) and sixth time Mexico has played host.
Only twice in history has a player from the host country won the event. Bob Worrall of the United States was the first to accomplish the feat when he won the 1981 edition in New York, and China’s Wang Hongbo did so last year in Shanghai.
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.
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 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.
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.