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International presence grows at U.S. Open

The roster and top of the standings at the 2016 U.S. Open have an international feel as the sport continues to show its global reach this week at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.

A total of 43 international players are in this year’s field, more than doubling the total from the 2015 U.S. Open. Twelve countries are represented this week, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, Sweden, United States and Venezuela.

2016PBA20FrancoisLavoieCanada’s Francois Lavoie (left) is the tournament’s leader after 16 games, and he’s closely followed in the top 10 by Sweden’s Pontus Andersson (third place), Martin Larsen (fourth) and Martin Paulsson (10th), Canada’s Zach Wilkins (sixth), Colombia’s Andres Gomez (ninth) and Denmark’s Thomas Larsen (12th).

Lavoie and Gomez also connected on the first two perfect games of the week with both coming during Saturday’s opening eight-game block. Lavoie has rolled the tournament’s first 300 game in each of the past two years.

2016PBA20MitchHupeFrancoisLavoieZachWilkinsLavoie and Wilkins (right) teamed with Mitch Hupé (left)‚ to bring home the gold medal in trios for Canada at the 2016 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships in Cali, Colombia, in September with a record performance, and Lavoie credits a solid coaching program in helping the national team find continued success on the global stage.

“Team Canada has found a lot of success recently, and I think our coach has gone above and beyond for us,” said Lavoie, who finished 19th at the 2015 U.S. Open in Garland, Texas. “Tyrel (Rose) has been pushing himself to be a better coach, which pushes us to become better athletes, and I think it’s showing in our performances.”

2015EBT11MikaKoivuniemiFinland’s Mika Koivuniemi (left) is the only foreign-born player to win the U.S. Open, capturing the 2001 title in Fountain Valley, California.

Each round of the 2016 U.S. Open leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast live on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association.

All competitors at the 2016 U.S. Open will bowl 24 qualifying games over three days, before the field is cut to the top 57 for eight additional games. The 32-game pinfall totals will determine the 24 players for round-robin match play.

The top five, determined by total pinfall and bonus pins for 56 games, will advance to the stepladder finals, which will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 9.

The 2016 U.S. Open features a prize fund of more than $210,000, which includes $100,000 in added money. The 2016 champion will earn $30,000 and the coveted green jacket.

For more information on U.S. Open, click here.

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Author: Herbert Bickel
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