Team USA Men, Malaysia Women’s Team Claim Team Gold at World Championships

by Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications 0

LAS VEGAS – The Team USA men may have had an up-and-down week at the 2017 World Bowling Championships, but everything fell into place Sunday during the team medal round, where they swept Chinese Taipei in the best-of-three championship match, 2-0.

The Malaysia women also found their way to the top of the medal stand with a 2-0 victory, defeating Singapore in an all-Professional Women’s Bowling Association final.

Team USA’s meeting with Chinese Taipei at the South Point Bowling Plaza marked the eighth consecutive time the United States men were among the top two at the World Championships, a streak that includes wins in 2006, 2008 and 2012 and back-to-back silver medals in 2013 and 2014.

Sunday’s team gold medal was the sixth all-time for Team USA and included wins of 210-189 and 200-180.

The winning effort included Tommy Jones, Chris Barnes, Marshall Kent, all-events bronze medalist AJ Johnson, Chris Via and Jakob Butturff. Via bowled in the semifinal, and Butturff replaced him for the title match.

Jones, a 10-time Team USA member, has earned a reputation for throwing clutch shots, and that trend continued Sunday, but he’ll be the first to deflect the attention and give credit to his teammates.

“It’s hard to put into words right now,” said Jones, who teamed with Chris Barnes for the doubles gold medal earlier in the week. “We were fortunate to get out of the semifinal watch with Colombia because we got a few more breaks than they did, and at the right time. We bowled fairly well as a team in the title match, everyone did their jobs and we were fortunate to come out on top.”

Team USA’s semifinal win against top seed Colombia was about as dramatic as a match can get, with the spot in the final coming down to a roll-off, won by the United States, 47-46, after the two teams tied at 218 in the deciding game.

Jones could’ve sent the United States to the final outright, but after striking to start the 10th frame, he left a 2 pin, giving Colombia anchor Andres Gomez a chance to strike out for the win. Gomez calmly tossed a double, including a Brooklyn strike on his second delivery, but his final shot drifted high, leaving a 3 pin and forcing overtime.

Each player rolled one ball in the roll-off, and total pinfall determined who advanced. Jones caved in the 4-6-7-10 on his shot to send his team to the final.

Despite not throwing its first strike until the seventh frame of the opening game, Colombia struck four consecutive times and rolled to a 201-173 win. The flurry of strikes continued in Game 2, where four strikes to start gave Colombia an early advantage.

Team USA gained momentum with strikes in frames four through seven, and Jones delivered three more in the 10th to even the match with a 237-230 win. Jones struck 14 times on the day.

Chinese Taipei, which found continued success this week on the challenging 39-foot Beijing oil pattern using the “spinner” release, advanced to the final with a 2-1 (215-184, 158-279 and 235-156) win over Denmark.

The spinner style makes the lane condition less of a factor and uses deflection as the primary means of pin carry.

Team USA’s title-match streak began in 1999, and the win in 2006 ended a 35-year drought for the United States men, who last had won team gold in 1971. The team’s first win came in 1963, and additional silver medals were earned in 1975, 1983, 1999 and 2003.

“It was just phenomenal watching the performance of the players how they dug all week and fought and scraped today to get into the tiebreaker and then go on to win,” Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. “We came here as a team, and it really was a total team effort.”

On the women’s side, Malaysia swept Singapore with scores of 214-209 and 188-177.

Singapore held an advantage in both games but was unable to close things out.

In the opener, a 6-7-10 split from Singapore in the ninth frame gave control to Malaysia, which stayed clean to take the 1-0 lead in the match.

In Game 2, splits in the eighth and 10th frames proved to be the undoing for Singapore. Malaysia anchor Shalin Zulkifli left, and spared, the 3-6 combination in the final frame to seal the deal.

Zulkifli was joined in the win by fellow PWBA members Siti Rahman, the all-events silver medalist, Esther Cheah, Sin Li Jane, Syaidatul Hamidi and Natasha Roslan.

The win was the first for Malaysia at the World Championships since claiming the women’s singles title in 2011, and first team gold medal since the 2007 event in Monterrey, Mexico. Cheah and Zulkifli also were members of that team.

“We really wanted a medal in the team event, and gold is a great bonus for us,” Rahman said. “We are all very excited, and even people at home have been following along and cheering for us. After coming up short in doubles (Sin and Zulkifli earned silver), we were disappointed, but that motivated us today. Also, after I got the silver in all-events, I really wanted to be able to help the team get the gold today.”

Malaysia is riding the momentum of a memorable year on the PWBA Tour, during which Rahman became the first Malaysian to win a Tour title, and Sin added her name to the list one event later.

Singapore’s roster Sunday included sisters Cherie Tan and Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen, Jazreel Tan and Joey Yeo. Cherie Tan and New both are PWBA champions, while Jazreel Tan won an event before becoming a PWBA member.

The Singapore women were the team silver medalists at the 2011 event in Hong Kong and earned bronze medals in 2009 and 2015. At the 2015 tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Ng won all-events to become the first woman from Singapore to win a gold medal at the World Championships.

On the way to the all-PWBA final, Malaysia and Singapore both escaped close matches against Colombia and Korea, respectively.

Malaysia lost its opening game to Colombia, 207-198, but rallied back with wins of 248-166 and 182-181, even with an open 10th frame in the finale.

Singapore also fell behind early in its match against Korea, and an eight-count on the fill in the opening game gave Korea the chance to throw three strikes in the final frame for a 203-202 win. Singapore took control from there, winning 218-215 and 213-209.

The end of team qualifying Saturday at the Bowling Plaza also determined the all-events medalists (gold, silver and bronze), based on 24-game pinfall totals from singles, doubles, trios and team. Each event was six games. Those medals were awarded Sunday, too.

Team USA’s Danielle McEwan earned the women’s all-events gold medal with a 5,126 total, a 213.58 average.

Rahman claimed the silver medal with a 5,048 total, and Tsai Hsin-Yi of Chinese Taipei was the bronze medalist with 5,017.

The men’s all-events title went to Chinese Taipei’s Wu Hao-Ming, who started the event with the tournament’s only perfect game and averaged more than 217 on the way to a 5,221 total.

Finland’s Petteri Salonen earned the silver medal with a 5,151 total, and Team USA’s Johnson earned his first international medal with a 5,134 total, a 213.92 mark.

The 2017 World Championships will conclude Monday with the Masters competition, which includes the top 24 men and top 24 women from the all-events standings.

The final two days of the tournament are being broadcast live on the Olympic Channel to a worldwide audience. Masters competition will get underway Monday at noon Eastern.

This year’s tournament is a combined men’s and women’s event, which happens every four years.

The 2013 World Championships at nearby Sunset Station in Henderson, Nevada, also was a combined event.

The field this week included 213 men from 36 countries and 176 women from 30 countries.

Countries participating this year in Las Vegas include: Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, Ukraine, Venezuela and Wales.

For more information on the 2017 World Championships, visit 2017wc.worldbowling.org.

2017 WORLD BOWLING CHAMPIONSHIPS

South Point Bowling Plaza
Las Vegas

Sunday’s results

MEN’S TEAM

CHAMPIONSHIP
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

United States def. Chinese Taipei, 2-0 (210-189, 200-180)

SEMIFINALS
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

United States def. Colombia, 2-1 (173-201, 237-230, 218-218 (47-46))
Chinese Taipei def. Denmark, 2-1 (215-184, 158-279, 235-156)

MEN’S ALL-EVENTS
(24-game pinfall totals – six games of singles, doubles, trios and team)

Gold – Wu Hao-Ming, Chinese Taipei, 5,221
Silver – Petteri Salonen, Finland, 5,151
Bronze – AJ Johnson, United States, 5,134

WOMEN’S TEAM

CHAMPIONSHIP
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Malaysia def. Singapore, 2-0 (214-209, 188-177)

SEMIFINALS
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Malaysia def. Colombia, 2-1 (198-207, 248-166, 182-181)
Singapore def. Korea, 2-1 (202-203, 218-215, 213-209)

WOMEN’S ALL-EVENTS
(24-game pinfall totals – six games of singles, doubles, trios and team)

Gold – Danielle McEwan, United States, 5,126
Silver – Siti Rahman, Malaysia, 5,048
Bronze –  Tsai Hsin-Yi, Chinese Taipei, 5,017