Senior Team USA falls short in doubles at 2021 IBF Masters World Championships

BOWL.com Article Image
Results

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -
Sometimes in bowling, you can do everything right and get the wrong result.

Senior Team USA's Chris Barnes and Tish Johnson stepped onto opposite ends of the approach Tuesday at the Dubai International Bowling Centre looking to lift their teams into the doubles finals at the 2021 International Bowling Federation Masters World Championships, and they both threw the shots they envisioned.

Tom Hess and Chris Barnes doubles bronze at 2021 Masters World ChampionshipsBarnes and Tom Hess, the singles gold medalist, were looking to fight their way back from an early deficit against Kuwait's Ayad Al Amiri and Yacoub Alshatti in the one-game Baker semifinal, but a 2-8-10 split from Barnes in the ninth frame slowed any momentum they'd gained late in the game.

The Kuwaiti bowlers had opened the match on the week's 44-foot oil pattern with seven consecutive strikes, before leaving the 3-6 combination in the eighth frame. Missing the spare gave Barnes and Hess an opportunity, as they'd struck in seven of the first eight frames.

"Kuwait had a great strategy, and they bowled fantastic," Barnes said. "I don't think our lane was bad. We were moving right as the game went on and making the right decisions based on what we saw. My shot in the ninth didn't feel like it was firm, but it obviously was. When I threw it, I thought it was flush. It kind of pushed, which we saw on some shots, so I thought maybe a shaker. All of a sudden, it missed the pocket. Off my hand, I didn't see a 2-8-10 coming."

Kuwait won the match, 246-226 and advanced to the gold-medal match. Barnes and Hess earned a bronze medal for reaching the semifinals.

Experience and tendency told Barnes, a longtime Team USA member and 19-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion, what he needed to do in that situation, and he confidently executed.

"It doesn't really matter why it happened," Barnes said. "We knew what was happening, so it's not like we got fooled by it. My general move is to just grab at it a little harder. I got it to what I thought was the friction, and it missed, costing us the match. We had an opportunity there to put the ball in Tom's hands in the 10th. Every time he's had the chance, he's been bang, bang, bang. That one's on me."

The story was similar for Johnson, a left-hander and 25-time Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour titlist. She felt comfortable in the situation and knew what move to make based on her experience in pressure-packed moments.

Johnson and Sharon Powers held a 26-pin lead over Malaysia's Michelle Wong and Sandra Periasamy after seven frames of their semifinal but failed to strike in the second half of the game.

Four consecutive single-pin leaves for Team USA, starting in the sixth frame, were followed by a 3-7 split from Johnson in the final frame. She was unable to convert the spare, while the Malaysians closed with five consecutive strikes to win, 211-192.

"I don't think I could've thrown the ball any better today, and the breaks didn't go our way," Johnson said. "I thought I made the right move in the 10th frame, and I guess it was the wrong one. I tried to go light, because putting it in the pocket wasn't working, but it just wiggled and never read the lane. Whenever I really need it and I'm amped up, I make a one-and-one move, and that's exactly what I did. It just never read."

Kuwait went on to bowl for the men's title against Finland's Petri Mannonen and Kimmo Lehtonen, who defeated Lars Nielsen and Kenneth Ankerdal of Denmark in the other semifinal, 247-203.

After opening their quarterfinal win over Italy with 10 consecutive strikes and their semifinal against Team USA with seven more, the pace slowed for Al Amiri and Alshatti in the championship match.

Finland doubles gold medalists at 2021 IBF Masters World ChampionshipsLehtonen and Mannonen rolled to the victory in the best-of-two showdown, 2-0 (225-191, 257-167). Lehtonen also earned a bronze medal in singles, falling to Hess in the semifinals Monday night.

The win gave Finland its first gold medal in the five editions of the IBF Masters World Championships. The silver was the first medal of any kind for Kuwait at the event.

Malaysia's victory over Johnson and Powers set up a meeting with Germany's Elke Grawe and Sabine Sonnenschein, semifinal winners against Sweden's Susanne Olsson and Christina Dahlgren, 167-162.

The women's final came down to the final shot of a ninth- and 10th-frame roll-off, with Periasamy delivering a strike to secure the gold for Malaysia.

The Germans won the opening game of the best-of-two title match, 187-165, and the Malaysians rallied in Game 2, winning 202-173 to force a tie-breaking roll-off.

Both teams struck three consecutive times, but the 4-7 remained after Germany's final offering, giving Periasamy a chance to get nine for the win.Malaysia doubles gold at 2021 Masters World Championships

It was the first win for Malaysia at the Masters World Championships. Grawe was a doubles bronze medalist at the 2019 event in Las Vegas.

The doubles semifinals and finals Tuesday were broadcast live at StrikeCloud.com.

Each event beyond singles this week at the Masters World Championships will feature a variation of the Baker format, where multiple players contribute to a single score.

In the two-player version of the Baker format, one team member bowls the odd frames, and the other team member bowls the even frames. They were required to alternate through the day during qualifying and match play.

Senior Team USA entered the week in Dubai as the defending champions in both men's and women's doubles. The men's title in 2019 went to Lennie Boresch Jr. and Ron Mohr, while Johnson teamed with fellow United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Leanne Hulsenberg to win on the women's side.

Prior to Tuesday's doubles conclusion, all 35 men's teams and the 31 women's duos completed 10 Baker games of qualifying at the Dubai International Bowling Centre, before the respective fields were cut to the top 16 for match play.

The advancing teams were divided into four groups, each with four tandems, and they all bowled three games of round-robin match play Sunday.

Points were awarded for each win in match play, and the top two bowlers in each group, based on points, advanced to the bracket-style quarterfinals.

The quarterfinals and semifinals each featured one-game Baker matches, while the finals both were best-of-two.

Competition at the Masters World Championships will resume Wednesday with the start of the mixed team event and continue throughout the day with 10 games of qualifying, match play, quarterfinals, semifinals and the gold-medal matches.

Two dozen countries are being represented this week in Dubai, and bowlers are competing across two age classifications - 50 and older and 65 and above. Senior Team USA only is competing in the 50-and-older division.

The IBF Masters World Championships is the last of three events being held in Dubai. The schedule this week also will include mixed team and team competition.

The IBF Super World Championships kicked off the stint in the United Arab Emirates and was joined by the inaugural Para Bowling World Championships.

IBF is providing livestream coverage and complete results at StrikeCloud.com.

For more information about IBF, visit bowling.sport.