CALI, Colombia - Team USA's Missy Parkin arrived at the 2016 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships with conflicting feelings of confidence and uncertainty, but she left the first day of competition feeling accomplished and proud after claiming the singles gold medal to start the weeklong event.
Entering the 2016 PABCON Adult Championships, it would have been logical to expect Parkin to walk in with high expectations after her record-setting performance in the same venue in 2014, but she knew a repeat of that success would take some additional work, since the 2016 edition would feature one of World Bowling's short oil patterns, something she admits she's struggled on in the past.
While the competitors didn't know until they arrived exactly which short pattern they'd be competing on this week, Parkin made sure she was prepared for the challenge.
The 34-year-old right-hander then averaged nearly 240 over six games on the 36-foot Beijing pattern Monday to lead the field of 79 bowlers from 15 countries. Her 1,437 total included a high game of 246 and low game of 226, and it was enough to outdistance defending champion Clara Guerrero of Colombia.
"It was really important to start this week well, especially because we're bowling on a short pattern, which hasn't really been my strong suit in the past and is something I've really been working on," Parkin said. "I'm really happy with today, and it definitely will help me feel more comfortable out here the rest of the week."
Guerrero closed with a 268 game but was unable to catch Parkin, her roommate during the recent 14-week run of the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour.
Guerrero's 1,415 total was enough for the silver medal, and she was followed by Team USA's Bryanna Coté, whose 233 final game lifted her to the bronze medal.
"Clara and I are very good friends and roommates on Tour, but once we're on the lanes, it's all about business," Parkin said. "When we're done, we are the first ones there with hugs and congratulations. And, it's always nice to spend time together off the lanes, especially this week, since she can show us around her country a little bit. We all even had a great dinner together last night."
During her 2014 visit to Bolera Departamental, Parkin earned four gold medals (doubles, trios, team, all-events), three with PABCON Adult Championships record scores, and added a silver medal in Masters to complete the haul. Singles was the one medal that eluded her as she finished fourth.
Parkin's wins in Cali included doubles (with Kelly Kulick), trios (with Shannon O'Keefe and Danielle McEwan), team (with Kulick, O'Keefe, McEwan, Liz Johnson and Shannon Pluhowsky) and all-events, with record scores posted in doubles (2,861), team (6,738) and all-events (5,515). She fell to McEwan in the Masters final.
On Monday, McEwan finished 12th in singles with a 1,300 total, Josie Earnest was 15th with 1,286, O'Keefe was 20th with 1,250 and left-hander Pluhowsky finished 25th with 1,227.
Competition at the 2016 event continues Tuesday with two squads of doubles, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.
The pairings for Team USA are Coté and Parkin on the early squad with O'Keefe and McEwan, and Pluhowsky and Earnest taking the lanes at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
The singles medal ceremony will take place Wednesday afternoon at Bolera Departamental.
The 2016 PABCON Adult Championships includes more than a dozen countries, with more on the line than just gold medals.
The top eight men's teams and top eight women's teams qualify for the combined 2017 World Championships in Kuwait. This is determined by a combined total pinfall from the following categories in each division - top four singles scores, top two doubles scores, top trios set and pinfall in team competition.
The qualifying teams on the men's side were the United States, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
The women will have the same opportunity this week.
Additionally, the top two countries across the two-week stretch in Colombia will qualify for the World Games, which is held every fourth year and next will be contested in Wroclaw, Poland, in July 2017. This will be a combined pinfall total for the top two men and top two women for each country during the 24 games at the PABCON event.
The United States, Venezuela and Colombia previously qualified for the 2017 World Games through the PABCON Champion of Champions event in Mexico last April.
Visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA for more information on the Team USA program.
For complete scores from the PABCON Adult Championships, visit Pabcon.org.
2016 PABCON ADULT CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Bolera Departamental, Cali, Colombia
GOLD - Missy Parkin, United States, 1,437
SILVER - Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 1,415
BRONZE - Bryanna Coté, United States, 1,370