SHANGHAI – What do you do when you’ve just led your squad for the third consecutive day but have more than 24 hours before your last five games of qualifying at the 2016 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup?
You go to Disneyland, of course.
Australian right-hander Rebecca Whiting turned in a 15-game total of 3,212 to pace her half of the women’s field through three rounds at Hao’s Bowling and then headed straight for the bus to the hotel, with a day at the nearby Shanghai Disney Resort on the agenda.
Whiting, who is third overall after three rounds, knew she did all she could in averaging more than 214 to this point and feels confident with the information she’s gathered about the 24-lane bowling center and 42-foot oil pattern, so why not enjoy some of what the host city has to offer.
Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened last summer, is a short ride from downtown Shanghai and appears to be in the plans for many tournament competitors and guests. The other destination the bowlers have their sights set on is the top 24 in this week’s tournament standings, which will be determined after Thursday’s final qualifying round.
Whiting has been surrounded by good company on the lanes this week, with Sweden’s Jenny Wegner and Lara Posadas of the Philippines competing nearby and keeping her focused.
“It definitely has helped having Jenny and Lara on each side because we were able to push each other,” Whiting said. “But, overall, I just tried to stay focused on making the right moves at the right time. That’s going to be key the rest of the week. Now that we have an idea of how the pattern plays and what to expect from pair to pair, it’s time to be more aggressive and really go after as many pins as you can.”
Singapore’s Bernice Lim, the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Queens champion, has knocked down the most pins so far this week and tops the women’s standings with a 15-game total of 3,349, a 223.27 average.
Lim turned in the highest block Wednesday (1,127), just ahead of Wegner, who jumped four spots to fourth place with a 1,118 set.
Germany’s Nadine Geissler is second with a 3,213 total and is followed by Whiting, Wegner (3,200) and Lisa John of England (3,195).
For Whiting, a 26-year-old events officer for her local government, each opportunity to travel and compete also is a chance to learn and see things other bowlers do well that she can incorporate into her own game.
Her job only allows so much time off, and much of that is spent on events for the Australian national team, so additional personal trips are limited.
A visit to the United States for the 2016 USBC Queens and USBC Women’s Championships served as a well-timed gauge for her game as events like the World Cup grew closer.
“I feel like I might be one of the top competitors in Australia, but events like the Queens, Women’s Championships and tournaments like the World Cup allow me to see how I measure up against the best in the world,” said Whiting, who has been a member of Team Australia since 2009. “It has been beneficial to watch and compete against the top players and get to see such a variety of lane conditions, especially the flatter patterns. It has given me a lot to work on at home.”
On the men’s side Wednesday, China’s Wang Hongbo stepped up and delivered in front of the hometown fans, filling his final frame to cap a late surge that put him one pin ahead of Sweden’s Martin Larsen after 15 games.
Hongbo closed with games of 245 and 247 to secure the top spot with a 3,220 total, a 214.67 average, and he continues his quest to become the first bowler since 1981 to win the World Cup on his or her home soil.
Bob Worrall of the United States is the only bowler in tournament history to accomplish the feat, doing so in 1981, when the event was held in New York City.
Larsen struggled in his final game Wednesday at Hao’s Bowling and finished with a 3,219 total. He is followed by Australia’s Sam Cooley (3,190), Russia’s Yan Korshak (3,152) and Marshall Kent of the United States (3,113).
Competition at Hao’s Bowling in downtown Shanghai’s Luwan Sports Complex continues Thursday with five final games for all 144 competitors. The field includes 81 men and 63 women, representing 84 countries.
Qualifying at the 2016 QubicaAMF World Cup is taking place over four days, and this year’s winners will be determined Saturday in a special arena setting.
After 20 games (five games each day), the field will be cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women for eight additional games. Total pinfall for 28 games will narrow the field to eight bowlers in each division for eight games of round-robin match play.
The top four men and top four women after 36 games, including bonus pins, will advance to the new 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.
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