Team USA ready for final day of qualifying at 2019 QubicaAMF World Cup

PALEMBANG, Indonesia - Team USA's John Janawicz has one day left to make a final push at the 2019 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, while a good start to the week has his teammate, Kelly Kulick, in a comfortable position to advance to the next round, despite being hampered Wednesday by a stomach bug.

The two are among the 133 competitors (73 men and 60 women) from 75 countries hoping to finish Thursday's final round of qualifying at the Jakabaring Sport City Bowling Center among the 24 in their respective divisions.

Janawicz, a 47-year-old right-hander, wasn't able to maintain the momentum he found during the event's second round, and he fell eight spots in the standings Wednesday.

His most recent block included games of 202, 203, 184, 207, 181 and 160, and he will enter Thursday's final round 53 pins below the first cutline. His 18-game pinfall total of 3,524, a 195.78 average, is 32nd in the men's standings.

"I actually felt really good coming into today, but I didn't get off to the best start," Janawicz said. "I made a bad decision on how to play the lanes, then we switched ends, and I never really saw the picture after that. I tried to adjust off what I was seeing."

South Africa's Francois Louw, the 2015 World Cup runner-up, had another solid day Wednesday and increased his lead over the men's field to more than 300 pins.

Louw tops the standings with a 4,210 total, a 233.89 average, and is followed by Germany's Oliver Morig (3,900), Finland's Niko Oksanen (3,807) and Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia and Jasem Alsaqer of Kuwait, who are tied with 3,796.

Defending champion Sam Cooley of Australia climbed eight spots Wednesday and is seventh overall with 3,741.

Kulick left the venue Tuesday as the women's leader, and within a few hours, she had fallen ill. She described it as "traveler's stomach," something common when traveling to new places and experiencing unfamiliar foods.

Since the women didn't bowl their third round until Wednesday afternoon, she was feeling better by the time she hit the lanes, and she didn't attribute any of her struggles to being sick.

"Physically, when I was on the lanes today, I didn't feel fatigued or low-energy or anything," said Kulick, a 15-time Team USA member. "Honestly, I sometimes struggle when the lanes are fresh, but I usually find my rhythm. I know where I should play on this pattern, but I had some trouble executing and missed a few spares. I really just want to put the day behind me and get a good night's rest, so I can finish strong."

Kulick, a 42-year-old right-hander, rolled games of 200, 169, 190, 191, 174 and 191 on Wednesday and fell back into second place with an 18-game total of 3,725.

Malaysia's Natasha Roslan tops the women's field with 3,768. Maria Koshel of Russia is third with 3,710, two-time World Cup champion Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic is fourth with 3,667 and South Korea's Jeon Eunhee is fifth with 3,614.

Kulick is more than 350 pins above the cut number, so her final round of qualifying will be more about preserving her place and fine-tuning her game plan for the tournament's next round. She also plans to visualize some of the times in her career when she thought she was throwing the ball her best, and replay those times in her mind.

Following Thursday's final six-game block, the field will be cut to the top 24 players in each division, based on their 24-game pinfall totals, for eight additional games. Total pinfall after 32 games will determine the eight men and eight women who will advance to round-robin match play.

The top four in each division then will move on to the knockout-style semifinals based on their 40-game totals, including bonus pins for each win in match play.

The women will begin their final qualifying round Thursday morning at 9 a.m. local time (Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern), and the men will begin their final day of qualifying at 2 p.m. local time (Thursday at 2 a.m. Eastern).

If Janawicz is going to join Kulick in the Round of 24 on Friday, he'll need things to fall into place like they did during this week's second round.

The nine-time Team USA member improved by more than 100 pins from the first round to the second, overcoming a day he described as filled with bad execution, not physically throwing the ball well and missing too many spares.

A clear mind and a new game plan led to his improvement, but just as he was searching and changing and tweaking, so were the other players, which ultimately affects how the 41-foot oil pattern plays from day to day.

"Like anything, you always have to have an open mind and a strategy, but you also have to be ready to abandon that plan if the lanes and the field aren't doing the things you expected them to be doing," Janawicz said. "I never hit the panic button, but it gets aggravating after a while when you keep trying things and can't even get above 200, while other guys are shooting 220s and 230s. It was just one of those days where things didn't go well. I'll analyze it tonight and do my best to figure out a way to have the big block I need to advance."

Team USA head coach Rod Ross has worked with Kulick and Janawicz throughout the week to help them navigate the ever-changing oil pattern and keep them moving forward.

Even though the players are bowling on the same oil pattern each day, the varying styles and the way the field attacks the lanes makes things different enough from day to day to make it a little more challenging.

"Today, the lanes played really different, and they were pretty touchy, so just when you thought you had a look, it was gone," Ross said. "It was a survival day for Kelly and an exploration day for John, but it also gave us some more information. We're learning and will continue to do so, but the biggest thing so far was realizing that coming in with a plan might not be the way to go. In this environment, it seems better to see what's out there and watch what people are doing and take it from there."

The World Cup first was contested in 1965, and the tournament now is considered one of the sport's most prestigious singles titles. It also is recognized as the largest event in the sport in terms of number of countries competing.

The last time the event was held in Indonesia was in 1980, when it visited Jakarta.

The last time a male bowler from Team USA didn't make the top 24 was 2006.

To see the complete schedule for the 2019 World Cup, visit QubicaAMF.com.