United States sweeps Doubles gold medals at Pan American Games



    Barnes/O'Neill and Johnson/Kulick cruise to victory in the opening event of the bowling competition

    2011PAGChrisBarnesBillONeill.jpgThe United States swept the doubles gold medals Tuesday in the opening event of the bowling competition at the 2011 Pan American Games currently underway in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, and Bill O'Neill (pictured left, l-r) of Southampton, Pa., topped the men's field by 193 pins, while Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., easily won the women's event by 328 pins at Bolerama Tapatio.

    "They fought and ground it out from the first ball of the first game," Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. "Even though the margin of victory may appear large, it was a difficult victory. This is a very strong field with some very talented bowlers."

    Barnes and O'Neill finished with a 12-game total of 5211 and an average of 217.13 to claim the victory. Barnes led all 32 men from 16 countries with 2698 (224.83), while O'Neill shot 2513 (209.42).

    Venezuela's José Lander and PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli took the silver medal with 5018 (209.08). Santiago Mejia and Andres Gomez of Colombia beat out Brazil's Marcio Vieira and Marcelo Suartz for the bronze medal by 21 pins, 4856 to 2645.

    The American men got off to a hot start in the first game Tuesday, opening with a score of 515 to give them some breathing room.

    "Even though as a team I don't think we had our best performance of the year, in the end we bowled well when we needed to," Barnes said. "By getting off to the solid start, it gave us a big lead. But we may have gotten just a little too relaxed and into a holding pattern and didn't bowl great down the stretch."

    O'Neill was disappointed in his individual performance Tuesday after bowling games of 149 and 166 in the six-game block, but said he was fortunate Barnes was able to get lined up and throw strikes. The 13-time PBA champion rolled the field-best 1400 series (233.33) on the 34-foot WTBA Stockholm lane conditioning pattern for the highest individual 12-game series of 2698 (224.83).

    "It's a great feeling to win the gold medal, but part of me wishes I could have done more to help Chris out," O'Neill said. "This was one of my worst performances in a long time, but luckily my teammate was there to pick me up and carry us to the gold."

    2011PAGLizJohnsonKellyKulick.jpgKulick and Johnson (pictured right, r-l) led the women's doubles from the first game Monday and never looked back. Their lead was never less than 250 pins on Tuesday, and they finished with a 12-game total of 5257 (219.04 average). Johnson led the pair with 2633 (219.42), while Kulick finished with 2624 (218.67), the two highest individual series in the 32-player women's division.

    Mexico's Sandra Gongora and Miriam Zetter averaged over 218 on the Stockholm pattern Tuesday to leap from sixth to second place and to earn the silver medal with 4929 (205.38), Anggie Ramirez and Maria Jose Rodriguez, Colombia, took the bronze medal with 4851 (202.13).

    "Just to be recognized with the Olympic sports here at the Pan American Games is a great feeling," Kulick said. "Any U.S. athlete who walks around with a gold medal around their neck is respected, and that's a really nice feeling."

    Over the course of the 12 games, the Team USA women never threw a game under 190. Johnson said staying consistent and filling frames helped propel them to the victory.

    "We both had a good look and continued to make great shots today," Johnson said. "We worked very well together, and it was an honor just to share this victory with Kelly."

    2011PAGLogo.jpgHeld 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.

    Action now shifts to singles, which is the final event of the Pan American Games.

    The singles competition starts with two six-game blocks of qualifying Wednesday. The top 16 qualifiers in each division will advance to single-elimination match play in bracket system on Thursday.

    The matches in the Round of 16 and the quarterfinal will be three games with the highest pinfall advancing, while the semifinals and the championship match will be best-of-three matches.


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    Men's Doubles - Final Standings after 12 games

    Block 1 was played on the 41-foot Montreal lane conditioning pattern; Block 2 on the 34-foot Stockholm pattern.


    Women's Doubles - Final Standings after 12 games

    Block 1 was played on the 41-foot Montreal lane conditioning pattern; Block 2 on the 34-foot Stockholm pattern.