Team USA won its first gold medal in bowling in World Games history Thursday night as Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas, and Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., won the mixed doubles title.
In the two-game gold-medal match, Team USA (pictured above with Team USA head coach Rod Ross) defeated Canada, 905-871, before a near capacity crowd at Cali Bowling Coliseum. Bowling has been part of the World Games since 1981, and the United States had previously been shut out of the gold medals.
Spurred by a strong finish, Kulick and Fagan both struck out in the final frame to lock up the title. Kulick had games of 200 and 226, while Fagan shot 200 and 279 in the winning effort. Canada’s Lynne Gauthier shot 214 and 224, while Dan MacLelland fired 195 and 238.
“It was a definite honor for us to win the first World Games gold medal, and I’m really just speechless right now,” Fagan said. “The match with Canada was neck-and-neck, back-and-forth and luckily we got the last blow in and got the win.”
Canada (pictured left) took a nine pin lead after the first game when Team USA got off to a slow start but both U.S. players started with doubles in Game 2 and never looked back.
“Mike and I seem to work very well together, and we trust each other,” Kulick said. “I wanted to do this for our country, our team and ourselves. And now we know we fulfilled an obligation and came through.”
Team USA knocked off Mexico in the semifinal to advance to the gold-medal match. In a one-game match, the United States outdueled Mexico, 510-413. Fagan shot 268, while Kulick added 242. Mexico’s Alejandro Cruz shot 244, while Sandra Gongora (pictured right) had 169.
All teams bowled six games of qualifying leading up to the three-team stepladder finals. All individual scores from the mixed doubles event will carry forward into the singles event.
All players will bowl six games of singles Friday and six games Saturday before the cut is made to the top 10 in each division for round-robin match pay. After match play, the top three make the stepladder finals.
The World Games bowling competition features 24 countries from around the globe.
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