Team USA's Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., averaged 261 in the Round of 8 to lock up the top seed for the stepladder finals at the 2011 QubicaAMF World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, while Chicago's Diandra Asbaty was able to maintain the No. 2 spot on the women's side behind defending champion Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic.
Jones, a four-time Team USA member and first-time QubicaAMF World Cup participant, had a high game of 279 and low game of 233 on the way to a 2,088 total for his eight games at the Northcliff Bowling Centre on Tuesday. He compiled a 5-3 match-play record, which earned him an additional 30 pins for each win, and finished the 36-game event with an 8,977 total.
Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte went 4-4 in match play and secured the second seed with an 8,790 total, and Mykhaylo Kalika of the Ukraine turned in a 5-3 effort to earn the final spot in Wednesday's stepladder with 8,635, just eight pins ahead of Argentina's Lucas Legnani.
"Today is what they would call a good day, and it was one of the most fun days of bowling in my life," said Jones, a 13-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion. "I went 5-3 in match play, but struck quite a bit and was able to maintain the lead. I'm looking forward to the TV show tomorrow."
Asbaty, who won the World Cup in 2006, spent the week chasing Guerra, but simply was focused on finishing in the top three to give herself a chance at a second title.
The 13-time Team USA member finished the Round of 8 with a 4-4 record and an 8,426 total for 36 games. Guerra was 3-4-1 in match play and cruised to the top seed with 8,703. Sweden's Sandra Andersson grabbed the final spot in the finals with 8,246.
Guerra averaged more than 238 this week and looks to become only the second bowler in World Cup history to win back-to-back titles. Jeanette Baker of Australia won in 1982 and '83. Asbaty is looking to join Team USA teammate Shannon Pluhowsky (2002, 2004) as two-time winner.
"I bowled really well again today and bowled high scores, but not enough to get Aumi, who had a great tournament," Asbaty said. "Luckily, tomorrow is a new tournament. I am going to go in with a clean slate. I'm going to play the lane and not worry about what my opponents are doing. I am going to be focused and ready, and hopefully, it's a really good day for me. No matter what, I feel like this was a good tournament, and I represented the U.S. and Team USA the best I could."
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, visit QubicaAMF.com or 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.