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Published On: Tue, Nov 28th, 2017

Team USA men make doubles semifinals at 2017 World Bowling Championships

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LAS VEGAS –

The Team USA men had a breakthrough performance Monday at the 2017 World Bowling Championships, but longtime team member Chris Barnes isn’t ready to call the effort a complete success.

Barnes and Tommy Jones, bowling doubles together at an international event for the first time, qualified second for semifinals and will take on Finland’s Petteri Salonen and Niko Oksanen at the South Point Bowling Plaza on Tuesday.

Jones led the way for Team USA with a 1,384 total, the third-highest individual performance of the day, and Barnes contributed 1,247 for a 2,631 total. Salonen (1,317) and Oksanen (1,290) qualified third with 2,607.

2017WorldChampsMensDubsJapanForWeb250x140Japan used a near-perfect final game from Takuya Miyazawa to catapult to the top of the standings with a 2,638 six-game total. Miyazawa closed with a 299 game and 1,404 set, while Shota Kouki added 1,234. The pair will face fourth-seeded Eric Tseng (1,303) and Lau Kwun Ho (1,298) of Hong Kong (2,601) in the other semifinal.

“Tommy bowled fantastic,” said Barnes, a 15-time Team USA member who won doubles at the 2013 World Championships in nearby Henderson, Nevada, with John Szczerbinski. “That’s vintage Tommy Jones right there. He got to feeling it a little bit, and he had all the tricks and touch working. He had it all on call today. It means a lot to bowl with one of my best friends from the (Professional Bowlers Association) Tour, one of the best bowlers to ever throw a ball, especially not knowing how many more opportunities I’ll have like this. But, there’s work left to do. We’ve only qualified for a medal, but we’d like the color to be a little brighter.”

Though Monday’s doubles event marked the first time Barnes and Jones were partners while donning their Team USA jerseys, they’ve been friends and PBA Tour standouts together for many years. They also teamed up to help Team USA to team gold medals at the World Championships in 2008 and 2010.

Their time together on the lanes makes communication easy, and they know each other’s games very well. That comfort level definitely helped them find success Monday.

“We’ve bowled together many times, and we really just trust each other out there,” Jones said. “I followed him all day and trusted what he saw and the moves he made. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. We bowled well early today, so we’re confident going into the match with Finland. But, it’s a one-game match and anything can happen, so we’ll focus on that, and hopefully, we’ll get a chance to bowl for the gold medal.”

Barnes (252) and Jones (241) started the day with a 493 game on the fresh 39-foot Beijing oil pattern and remained near the top of the standings throughout the six games.

The performance was a result of a new strategy, based on what they learned while enduring some struggles in singles. They started the day farther left and slowly moved left from there.

AJ Johnson was the top performer in singles for the United States, finishing eighth, and he continued to bowl well in doubles Monday with Marshall Kent. The two were second after the opening doubles squad with a 2,532 total, but fell to 10th place after the high-scoring evening squad.

“I think we all thought Marshall and AJ would be in because most of the best scores so far have come off the early squad,” Barnes said. “With them being second, we thought they were in pretty good shape, and we thought we were in really good shape with a couple to go. As it turned out, we still needed quite a bit of score.”

Team USA’s Chris Via (1,240) and Jakob Butturff (1,184) finished 28th with a 2,424 total.

Competition continues with two squads of women’s doubles Tuesday, and the top four teams will advance semifinals later in the day. The women take the lanes for qualifying starting at noon Eastern.

The men’s and women’s semifinals will take place simultaneously Tuesday beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

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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