Team USA's Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., and Diandra Asbaty of Chicago each reached the championship match of the 2011 QubicaAMF World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, in their respective divisions, but both fell short of hoisting the coveted cup Wednesday.
Jones, a four-time Team USA member and first-time QubicaAMF World Cup participant, was the top seed for the three-person stepladder, but lost to Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte, 2-1, in the finale. Asbaty, the 2006 World Cup champion, qualified second and defeated Sweden's Sandra Andersson before suffering a 2-1 loss to defending champion Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic.
Belmonte led the first three days of the event at Northcliff Bowling Centre before Jones pulled ahead and cruised into the top spot after 36 games. In the title match, it was Jones who started strong with a 279-259 win in the opening game, but Belmonte took the next two, 247-216 and 259-236, for the victory.
On the women's side, Guerra become only the second bowler in World Cup history to win back-to-back titles and the fourth woman to win the event twice. Jeanette Baker of Australia won in 1982 and '83, while Pauline (Smith) Buck of Great Britain and Team USA's Shannon Pluhowsky also own two titles.
Guerra dominated the lanes this week and out-averaged the field by more than eight pins over the 36 games. She opened the title match with an 11-strike 266 to Asbaty's 201, but the 13-time Team USA member was able to even things up with a 227-214 win in Game 2. The two were separated by just one pin heading into the final frame of the finale before Guerra escaped with a 202-199 victory.
In the men's semifinal, Belmonte defeated Mykhaylo Kalika of the Ukraine, 2-1 (237-203; 248-266; 266-185), while Asbaty topped Andersson, 2-1 (217-267; 247-219; 279-243).
The week started with players from more than 80 countries, who all bowled 20 qualifying games before the field was cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women for an additional eight games. The top eight in each division then returned for eight games of match play, before the field was cut to the top three for Wednesday's stepladder.
For more information and scores from the event, click here.
Want to compete in the QubicaAMF World Cup next year? The winners of the 2012 USBC Team USA Trials this January will automatically earn spots to compete in the 2012 event! For entry information, click here.