World Championships Concludes with Canada, Korea Claiming Masters Gold

by Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications 0

LAS VEGAS – If there was one pair of lanes in the world Francois Lavoie of Canada would want in his basement, it would be lanes 23 and 24 from the South Point Bowling Plaza.

The 24-year-old right-hander conquered those lanes again Monday, this time winning the Masters gold medal at the 2017 World Bowling Championships.

That is the same set of lanes where he became the first bowler in history to roll a perfect game during the televised finals of a U.S. Open (2016), and he went on to win the coveted title and green jacket.

His most recent win at the Bowling Plaza was a 2-0 victory against Xu Zhe-Jia of Chinese Taipei by scores of 247-206 and 216-199.

The deciding game came down to the 10th frame, with the two players separated by a single pin.

Lavoie left a 5 pin on his first delivery, converted the spare and struck on the fill ball to force Xu to strike for the win. Xu also could’ve gone nine-spare and struck on his own fill ball to force a tie, but he left the 4-6-7-10 split on his initial offering.

“I found out right before the match that I had some history on that pair, but I didn’t think about the U.S. Open at all because that was an entirely different event and different pattern,” said Lavoie, who owns three Professional Bowlers Association Tour titles. “I was feeling pretty good from the matches before, and I wanted to continue doing what I’d been doing throughout the day today.”

The win Monday was a special way for Lavoie and his teammates to end a tournament in which they bowled well, but came up just short of the medal rounds a couple of times.

Lavoie had top-10 finishes in singles (10th), trios (fifth), team (eighth) and all-events (sixth). In the trios performance, with Mitch Hupe and Zachary Wilkins, they missed the medal round by eight pins.

“This is big for Canada,” Lavoie said. “We’ve been close the entire week, it feels like. We’ve been close, but never quite got the medal. Obviously, this is a team effort. My teammates were here with me since 11 this morning, and they’re very supportive. It’s nice to have them behind me, and it helps to not feel alone out there.”

Of course, it’s hard to compare the various levels of success Lavoie has experienced, from college bowling to the professional ranks to internationally while wearing the Canadian colors.

“This is different, and definitely up there,” Lavoie said. “It’s special to win for your country. We don’t do it for the money, we do it for the pride. It’s a special feeling. Hearing the national anthem is something I want to do at least once more in my life, and I’m sure every time it happens, I’m going to want to do it once more.”

Lavoie defeated Colombia’s Andres Gomez, 2-0 (214-203, 221-200), to earn his spot in the final, and Xu topped Thomas Larsen of Denmark, 2-0 (203-180, 224-199), to advance.

Chinese Taipei found continued success this week on the challenging 39-foot Beijing oil pattern using the “spinner” release, which makes the lane condition less of a factor and uses deflection as the primary means of pin carry.

The Chinese Taipei players advanced to the medal round in every event but doubles, earning silver medals in singles, trios, team and Masters, along with the all-events gold medal for Wu Hao-Ming, who rolled the only perfect game of the tournament. The 300 came in his first game on the tournament lanes.

There was a bit of familiarity on the women’s side Monday as well, with Jung Dawun of Korea being the defending Masters champion.

She earned the Masters gold medal at the 2015 World Women’s Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and she successfully defended her title with a 2-0 win against Professional Women’s Bowling Association titlist Sin Li Jane of Malaysia.

In wins of 256-225 and 236-221, in the best-of-three format, Jung struck 16 times and was in control the entire match.

Jung, who won doubles earlier in the week with Kim Moon Jeong, advanced to the gold-medal match with a 2-0 (220-166, 233-214) win over Singapore’s Shayna Ng, while Sin earned her chance to bowl for the gold by defeating Sharon Limansantoso of Indonesia, 2-1 (216-169, 178-218, 223-163).

The 2017 World Championships officially came to a close with the conclusion of the Masters event, which included the top 24 men and top 24 women from the all-events standings.

After 24 games of qualifying this week at the Bowling Plaza, six games in singles, doubles, trios and team, total pinfall determined the all-events medalists (gold, silver and bronze), and the top 24 in each division advanced to Monday’s match play.

The top eight players from the all-events standings received a one-round bye, while the best-of-three match play got underway for the other 16 competitors.

Each round, the highest remaining seed was matched against the lowest remaining seed, and the final four bowlers in each division advanced to the semifinals. All four semifinal losers earned bronze medals.

Although none of the Team USA players made a run in the Masters event, head coach Rod Ross was very satisfied with the team’s performance during the World Championships, which included gold medals in men’s doubles, women’s trios, men’s team and women’s all-events, along with a pair of bronze medals in women’s doubles and bronze in men’s all-events.

“I’m very proud of all our players and the coaching staff,” Ross said. “Everyone came in very prepared. They never quit fighting, and I’m proud of how they endured on a tough condition. To leave with a team world championship is huge. To also win the trios, doubles and all-events is incredibly special, too.”

The final two days of the tournament were broadcast live on the Olympic Channel to a worldwide audience.

This year’s World Championships was a combined men’s and women’s event, which happens every four years. The 2013 event was held at nearby Sunset Station in Henderson, Nevada.

The field this week at the South Point Bowling Plaza included 213 men from 36 countries and 176 women from 30 countries.

The United States and Chinese Taipei topped the medal table with seven medals each.

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

Monday’s results

MEN’S MASTERS

CHAMPIONSHIP
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Francois Lavoie, Canada def. Xu Zhe-Jia, Chinese Taipei, 2-0 (247-206, 216-199)

SEMIFINALS
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Lavoie def. Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2-0 (214-203, 221-200)
Xu def. Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 2-0 (203-180, 224-199)

WOMEN’S MASTERS

CHAMPIONSHIP
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Jung Dawun, Korea def. Sin Li Jane, Malaysia, 2-0 (256-225, 236-221)

SEMIFINALS
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Jung def. Shayna Ng, Singapore, 2-0 (220-166, 233-214)
Sin def. Sharon Limansantoso, Indonesia, 2-1 (216-169, 178-218, 223-163)