Korea tops Team USA for team gold at 2014 World Men's Championships

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Korea was dominant throughout the team event at the 2014 World Bowling Men's Championships in Abu Dhabi and capped off the day with its first team gold medal in a dramatic and memorable win Saturday against the United States.

Team USA anchor Tommy Jones had a chance to double in the 10th frame for the win, but a solid 10 pin on his second shot gave Korea a 1,097-1,088 victory at Zayed Sports City's Khalifa International Bowling Centre.

Jones and his teammates clawed their way back from a 30-pin deficit they created with a pair of opens in the ninth frame, and a stone 8 pin by Korea anchor Kang Heewon in the 10th frame set up the exciting finish.

2014WMCKoreaTeamGOLD250x250Kang, who did not bowl in the semifinal match against Australia, led Korea to the title with a 237 game in the finale and was followed by doubles gold medalists Park Jongwoo (236) and Choi Bokeum (227), Hong Haesol (202) and Shin Seunghyeon (195).

"It was very nice because this was our first team gold medal," said Park, a 23-year-old right-hander. "But I can't really explain what I'm feeling right now. Sean and Tommy are my idols, so being able to bowl against them was an honor. I'm just really, really happy right now."

Jones had 227 for the United States and was joined by Bill O'Neill (222), Sean Rash (220), Mike Fagan (218) and Chris Barnes (201).

The loss marked the second consecutive team silver medal at the World Championships for Team USA, which won the event three consecutive times in 2006, 2008 and 2010, before falling to Finland in 2013.

"The left lane was really tough for us, so we had a lot of strikes then spares that game," Barnes said. "There's always key moments in a match, and unfortunately for us, it ended up being the ninth frame. We had our fate in our own hands, and we let it get away. But at the end, we had the guy who's arguably the best in the world at closing games with the ball in his hand, and we wouldn't have wanted anyone else up there. That's how we won in Germany (2010), and again, he threw one of the best shots you can throw. It just didn't go our way this time."2014WMCTeamUSASilver250

As the higher seed, Korea chose the 38-foot Atlanta oil pattern for the championship match, as it did for its semifinal meeting with Australia. Sweden, the higher seed in the other semifinal against the United States, also chose Atlanta.

The Koreans put together a few strings of strikes to build a lead against Australia but never really were challenged on the way to a 1,082-924 victory. Park and Choi set the pace with 256 and 228 and were followed by Kim Kyungmin (213), Hong (193) and Shin (192).

Australia managed just one double in the first half of the game and was plagued by open frames in the loss. Brendan Meads led the team with 224 and was joined by Jason Belmonte (196), Jayden Leming (192), singles bronze medalist Sam Cooley (157) and David Porto (155).

In a lopsided 1,236-985 win against Sweden, four Team USA members threw seven or more strikes, with Fagan leading the way with a 268 game. He was followed by O'Neill (257), Rash (256), Jones (242) and Barnes (213).

Two-hander Jesper Svensson, who bowls from the left side of the lane, led Sweden with a 237 game and was followed by Martin Larsen (199), Joachim Karlsson (188), Martin Paulsson (187) and Robert Andersson (174).

Sweden and Australia each earned bronze medals.

Qualifying in the team event included six games over two days - three games on each of the tournament's two oil patterns - and the higher seed in each match Saturday was able to choose which pattern that game would be bowled on.

On the way to the top seed, Korea broke the event's three- and six-game team scoring records with 3,563 and 6,917, respectively. Korea previously held the three-game record with 3,561, shot in 2008, and the United States owned the six-game mark of 6,618, rolled in 2006.

The all-events race also was decided Saturday as Korea's Choi outlasted the field of 272 competitors from 49 countries to claim the gold medal with a 24-game total of 5,603, a 233.46 average. Fagan shot 267 in his final game to earn the silver medal with 5,510 and MacLelland, the singles gold medalist, took home the bronze medal with 5,490.

The top 24 in the overall standings advanced to the Masters round, which will begin Sunday at 12 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Sweden's Martin Paulsson earned the final Masters spot with a 5,237 total, a 218.21 average.

Pinfall carries forward, and all 24 players will bowl six additional games to determine the top eight for round-robin match play. After seven games of match play, the field will be narrowed to the top four for the semifinals, scheduled for Sunday at 6 a.m. EDT.

The two lane conditions at the 2014 World Men's Championships are the 43-foot Tokyo pattern and 38-foot Atlanta pattern.

Singles was contested on the Tokyo, doubles was bowled on Atlanta and trios and team competition both included three games on each pattern. Each event included six games of qualifying before the field was narrowed to the top four for the semifinals.

The 2014 World Men's Championships marks the event's first visit to Abu Dhabi since 1999.

All rounds of the event are being broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV. For a complete schedule in Eastern time, visit BOWL.com/LiveStream.

For more information on the World Men's Championships, visit the official website of the event at adwtbc.com.

Khalifa International Bowling Centre
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Saturday's results


(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Korea def. United States, 1,097-1,088


(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Korea def. Australia, 1,082-924
United States def. Sweden, 1,236-985


Gold - Choi Bokeum, Korea, 5,603
Silver - Mike Fagan, United States, 5,510
Bronze - Dan MacLelland, Canada, 5,490