United States leads men's and women's Doubles at halftime in Pan American Games



    Barnes/O'Neill and Johnson/Kulick on course for first gold medal in bowling competition

    2011PAGLogo.jpgThe men's and women's doubles of the United States are in position to win both gold medals in the Doubles event at the Pan American Games in Mexico after leading the opening round Monday at Tapatío Bowling Center in Guadalajara.

    The U.S. women's pairing of Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., hold a huge 215-pin lead after six games, while Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, and Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., lead the men's field at halftime by 137 pins.

    All teams will complete six final games Tuesday to determine medalists.

    2011PAGLizJohnsonKellyKulick.jpgJohnson (left), a two-time World Champion, U.S. Open winner and USBC Queens champion, had a six-game total of 1294 (215.67 average), while PBA exempt player Kulick (right), the only woman ever who has won a PBA national title, added 1292 (215.33) to finish the day with 2586 total.

    The Americans had by far the two highest individual series in the women's division. Sofia Granda, Guatemala (1206) and Viviana Delgado, Costa Rica (1205), were the only other players who surpassed the 1200-mark (200 average).

    "This is the first time Kelly and I have actually bowled doubles together," Johnson said. "It was a real grind out there, and that's what both of us like to do. We made good shots and filled frames." The U.S. women took the lead after the opening game and stayed there throughout the day on the 41-foot Montreal lane condition. The teams will compete on the 34-foot Stockholm lane condition in Tuesday's final round.

    "We have to have a clear mind about what to do and where we expect to play the lanes," Kulick said. "The big thing is to be focused on executing shots, and hopefully we can carry a little better than we did today."

    Colombia's Anggie Ramirez and Maria Jose Rodriguez, who won the 2011 NCAA Women's Bowling title and the Intercollegiate Team Championships for the University Maryland Eastern Shore, were a distant second with 2371 (197.58). Ramirez (1172) and Rodriguez (1199) lost 109 pins to the Americans in the last game after finishing with 326.

    Caroline Lagrange and Jennifer Park of Canada were mere four pins behind in third place with 2367 (197.25). Park had 1192 and Lagrange, who won the silver medal in All Events at the Women's World Championships in Hong Kong last month, contributed 1175.

    2011PAGChrisBarnesBillONeill.jpgIn the men's division, three-time World Champion and three-time PBA champion Bill O'Neill (right) led the way with 1309 (218.2 average), the second-highest block of the day, while three-time World Champion and 13-time PBA champion Chris Barnes (left) shot 1298 (216.3) for a 2607 total (217.25).

    The Team USA pairing got off to a slow start and found themselves in eighth place after an opening 399 game. A 501 score (Barnes 245; O'Neill 256) in the third game bolted them into the lead for good.

    "The first pair we were on was tricky and the lanes played a lot different than they did in practice," O'Neill said. "With only 10 minutes of practice today, we couldn't find much out there. By the time we started, we were still a little lost."

    Heading into the final round on the Stockholm pattern, both players said they feel confident having competed on that pattern at the Pan American Bowling Confederation Championships in May in Guadalajara.

    "I'm happy we are leading, but we really didn't bowl well," Barnes said. "We both have a lot of experience on the Stockholm pattern and look to improve our shot-making tomorrow." Playing for Venezuela, PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli led team mate José Lander to second place with 2470 (205.83). The 19-time PBA champion and two-time PBA Player of the Year knocked down 1296 pins. Lander added 1174.

    Third Brazil place belonged to Brazil with 2456 (204.67). Marcelo Suartz rolled the field-best 1319 series, a 219.83 average, and Marcio Vieira contributed 1137.

    Held every four years, the Pan American Games are the second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. This year, nearly 6,000 athletes from the American Zone are competing in 36 sports.

    A total of 19 member federations of the Pan American Bowling Confederation (PABCON) - 16 each in the men's and women's division - participate in the bowling competition. Each team in the men's and women's division consists of two players for total 32 men and 32 women.

    Competition in Doubles takes place Oct. 24 and 25 with Singles to follow on Oct. 26 and 27. The doubles event will feature two six game blocks. The first block was played on the 41-foot WTBA Montreal lane conditioning pattern and the second block will be played on the 34-foot WTBA Stockholm pattern. After 12 games, the top three men and the top three women will be awarded the gold, silver and bronze medals.

    The singles competition starts with two six-game blocks of qualifying. The top 16 qualifiers in each division will bowl an elimination round of three games in bracket system. The matches in the Round of 16 and the quarterfinal will be decided by total pinfall while the semifinals and the championship match will be best-of-three games format.


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    Men's Doubles - Standings after 6/12 games


    Women's Doubles - Standings after 6/12 games