LAS VEGAS - Senior Team USA's Lucy Sandelin and Christer Danielsson of Sweden started the inaugural World Senior Championships with victory in the singles competition Monday evening at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas.
10-time Team USA member Sandelin defeated Danielsson's fellow countrywoman, former Swedish national team member Christel Carlsson in the women's title match, 235-192, to claim the first gold medal in a World Championship in her career.
"This is huge," said Sandelin, who struck on eight of her last nine shots to seal the victory. "Especially after the runner-up finish in the Senior Women's Open last month. Winning never gets old, that's for sure."
The men's title match between Danielsson and Sandelin's fellow countryman Ron Mohr, a two-time PBA50 Player of the Year, was decided in the last frame. Finishing first, Mohr had a chance to shut out the Swede with a strike, but he left a 10-pin on the first ball in the 10th frame.
Danielsson, who never bowled in a World Championship for Sweden before, needed a doubles and a six-count to claim the title. He delivered two clutch strikes and sealed the 214-210 win with a nine-count on the fill ball.
"This is the biggest title in my career," Danielsson said. "I was surprised when I heard about the World Senior Championships. I hoped that Sweden would send a team and that I could make it on the team."
In fact, Danielsson was the top men's qualifier to qualify directly for the championships.
The top four men and the top four women after six games of qualifying advanced to the playoffs to determine the champion. The men's final was in sharp contrast to the semifinals, which were a split fest.
Danielsson, seeded second, easily topped Australia's Robert Chinner despite three open frames, 186-113. Chinner, who finished Squad B with the first 300 game in the history of World Senior Championships en route to earn the No. 3 seed, suffered seven open frames, including five splits.
In the other semifinal, Mohr survived a low-scoring encounter against Danielsson's compatriot, Christer Pettersson, 164-156, in a match that featured seven splits.
Mohr received the silver medal while Pettersson and Chinner received bronze.
On the women's side, Sandelin, who led Squad A but made the cut in fourth place, threw seven strikes to eliminate her teammate, top-seeded Robin Romeo, 225-197. In the other match, Carlsson, seeded second, flew past Riitta Nikupeteri of Finland, 210-166.
Carlsson got the silver medal while Romeo and Nikupeteri shared bronze.
The 1st World Senior Championships runs from Aug. 10 thru 16, 2013. Men and women will compete in separate divisions for medals in five events - singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters. All participants must be 50 years of age or above in the year of the championships.
The 213 players from 33 countries return Tuesday for the doubles event on the 40-feet Athens lane conditioning pattern.
- Story and photos courtesy of BowlingDigital.com