Sun Valley Lanes is a special place for Sweden's Pontus Andersson

2020 U.S. Open results

Sun Valley Lanes forever will be a special place for Sweden's Pontus Andersson, who became a world champion for the second time at the 32-lane bowling center in 2016.

The 24-year-old right-hander is back in Lincoln this week for the 2020 U.S. Open, and while the venue may look a little different due to an ongoing renovation, Andersson still enjoyed a rush of emotions when walking through the sliding doors for the first time since his four-medal performance at the World Bowling Youth Championships.

"I've got some good memories from here, and it's fun to be back," Andersson said. "For sure, 2016 was a very good year for me. It was kind of the year where I went from being a youth to an adult player, so having the World Youth success here meant a lot for me. I knew I was at a good level, but coming away with four medals is never something you can expect."

Andersson's performance at the premier event for young bowlers included an all-events gold medal, a silver medal in the event-ending Masters competition and bronze medals in team and doubles.AnderssonPontus2016WYCForWeb250x140

On the way to the doubles semifinals, he and left-hander Jesper Svensson rolled a record qualifying score, before falling short in the medal round.

The success came in just Andersson's second visit to the United States and as part of a very successful 2016. Later in the year, he earned his best finish at the prestigious U.S. Open, an 11th-place effort in Las Vegas.

Andersson's first world championship came in doubles (with Markus Jansson) at the 2014 World Youth Championships in Hong Kong.

Though the years since have included some ups and downs, Andersson has become a world traveler, and his passport features many stamps from the United States, destinations across Europe and places in Asia and the Middle East.

He's now hoping that his life and bowling experience, as well as his comfort and familiarity with Sun Valley Lanes, will help him find success - and perhaps his breakout Professional Bowlers Association performance - at this week's U.S. Open.

"I don't know when any kind of breakthrough can happen, whether it's this week or next year," said Andersson, who has collected three European Tour titles. "I'm just going to stick with the process and the work and hope it leads to more progress. Having had past success here in Lincoln definitely helps me feel more confident this week, though."

Despite all the miles he has covered in the last eight or so years, including traveling to events as a member of Sweden's national team, Andersson still considers himself a part-time bowler because he also works as a bowling coach at a high school in Sweden.

Andersson is one of three Swedish players in the U.S. Open field this week. The contingent also includes Svensson and PBA Tour journeyman Martin Larsen.

Svensson, a two-hander, quickly made a name for himself on the PBA Tour and now owns eight PBA Tour titles, including one major - the 2016 PBA Tournament of Champions - where he became the youngest player (20 years, 357 days) to win the event.

Larsen, a 40-year-old right-hander, still is searching for his first PBA Tour win.

"Competing out here definitely can come with a lot of ups and downs, but that can be expected with so many good bowlers on the PBA Tour," Andersson said. "All of the international players know each other well, and I grew up bowling with Jesper. It's nice to have all those guys around because we're experiencing the same things."

The 2020 U.S. Open is challenging Andersson and a field of 108 competitors with three different lane conditions over three days of qualifying. They're bowling eight games each day, and total pinfall for 24 games will determine the 36 players for Friday's Cashers' Round.

After eight additional games on a fourth oil pattern, 24 players will advance to round-robin match play. At the conclusion of the week, 56-game pinfall totals, including 30 bonus pins for each win in match play, will decide the five players for Sunday's live TV finals.

The finalists will bowl for the title, $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket live on FOX at 1 p.m. Eastern.

"I've definitely got confidence I can do well here," Andersson said. "I enjoy the format and how you have to be able to do it all - be fast, slow, play in, play out. My strength is when I can be farther to the left, but I can handle the variety. I'm hoping to draw on my experience and have another great week here."

Through two days of qualifying, Andersson is tied for 77th place. Svensson finished Round 2 in fifth place, and Larsen is 48th.

Canada's Francois Lavoie is the defending champion at the U.S. Open, an event he also won in 2016 for the first of his four PBA Tour titles. He is one of 12 bowlers in history to win the U.S. Open on multiple occasions.

Only four bowlers - Andy Varipapa, Don Carter, Dick Weber and Dave Husted have successfully defended their U.S. Open titles. Husted was the last to accomplish the feat, doing so in 1996.

Lavoie was seventh after the first two rounds.