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Published On: Sun, Nov 26th, 2017

Team USA fails to advance in singles at 2017 World Bowling Championships

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LAS VEGAS –

Team USA head coach Rod Ross knew the new 39-foot Beijing oil pattern being used this week at the 2017 World Bowling Championships was going to be challenging, but the team has been able to gather a lot of helpful information, despite struggling in singles, the first event of the tournament.

Rather than focus on what went wrong over the six games, Ross and the Team USA bowlers will evaluate what went right, what they learned and what they can do differently to find success in doubles, trios, team and Masters competition.

Men’s singles qualifying took place Sunday at the South Point Bowling Plaza, with Xander van Mazijk of the Netherlands (1,373), Israel Hernandez of Puerto Rico (1,361), Wu Hao-Ming of Chinese Taipei (1,337) and Tobias Boerding of Germany (1,319) advancing to Monday’s semifinals based on their six-game totals.

Wu started the day with the lone perfect game of the singles event, while Boerding defeated Denmark’s Thomas Larsen, 10-9, for the final spot in the semifinals, after the two tied for fourth place.

Both the men’s and women’s singles semifinals will be contested Monday, beginning at noon Eastern.

The men’s side will feature van Mazijk against Boerding and Hernandez facing Wu, and the women’s semifinal matchups will be Korea’s Hong Haeni against Mai Ginge Jensen of Denmark and Japan’s Futaba Imai taking on Chan Han of Hong Kong.

“We don’t need to spend any time on what we didn’t do well, so we’ll focus on what worked and use what we learned to help us progress and get better,” Ross said. “I think the World Championships is tough because it’s an incredible collection of quality bowlers from all over the world, and no other event has a representation of talent like this. The tournament is about making shots, making good adjustments, minimizing mistakes and learning from each shot.”

2017WorldChampsAJJohnsonForWeb250x140Three-time Team USA member and World Championships first-timer AJ Johnson was the top performer from the United States, finishing eighth with a 1,295 total, a 215.83 average.

Johnson was followed by Tommy Jones (14th – 1,271), Chris Barnes (21st – 1,257), Jakob Butturff (T83rd – 1,176), Marshall Kent (T101st – 1,155) and Chris Via (T115th – 1,144).

“Going in, I just wanted to have a good day, and my mindset was on getting as much good information as possible for later in the week because the ultimate goal for us is being successful in the team event,” Johnson said. “Being that it’s my first World Championships and the first time I’ve been able to travel and bowl for Team USA, there were some nerves and anxiety and adrenaline, but I think all in all, I had a pretty good day. We had a lot of good conversations and worked well together, and we got a lot of information that should help the rest of the way.”

The 2017 World Championships also is the official debut of the remastered Beijing oil pattern.

The teams knew before traveling to Las Vegas they’d be competing on one of the eight medium-length oil patterns in World Bowling’s Bank 2, but they did not find out until the night before official practice which it would be. The Bank 2 patterns range in length from 38 to 42 feet.

In order to prepare, the Team USA players trained on all eight patterns during their recent training camps, keeping in mind that the lane surface at the Bowling Plaza and various styles of bowlers from 42 countries would affect how the lanes transitioned and potentially how they should be attacked.

“There were several new patterns introduced this year, so we spent a little extra time on those, since we hadn’t bowled on them before, but you can only learn so much until you get into the actual environment and see how everyone else makes them transition as well,” Ross said. “These first two days have been a great learning experience for us. We took in a lot of good information, and we’re going to make some adjustments. We did a lot of things well, but there’s things we can do better. We’re going to focus on that and come back fighting tomorrow in doubles.”

In the last two decades, which includes seven World Championships for the men prior to 2017, Team USA has claimed the singles gold medal three times – Walter Ray Williams Jr. in 2008 and Bill O’Neill in 2010 and 2013.

The Team USA women are making their ninth World Championships appearance in the last 20 years and have won singles three times as well – Kelly Kulick in 1999, Shannon O’Keefe in 2007 and Stefanie Johnson in 2009.

Ultimately, the Team USA members are focused on success in the team event. The women are the defending champions, and the men are looking for redemption after back-to-back silver medals.

Doubles is the next event on the schedule, with the men taking the lanes first. The first of two squads will hit the lanes Monday at 2:20 p.m. Eastern, following the singles medal ceremonies.

The 2017 World Championships will run until Dec. 4. The final two days of competition will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel to a worldwide audience.

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 includes 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.

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