Coté wins gold, Prather bronze in Singles at 2022 IBF World Cup in Australia


Queensland, Australia – Team USA’s Bryanna Coté won the Women’s Singles gold medal while Kris Prather captured the men’s bronze on the final day of Singles competition at the 2022 International Bowling Federation World Cup at Suncity Tenpin Bowl in Queensland, Australia, on Tuesday morning.

Coté captured the gold by sweeping Singapore’s Hui Fen New 2-0 in the finals, taking Game 1 by a score of 194-186 before wrapping things up with a 226-201 victory in Game 2.

Hui Fen New took home the Women’s Singles silver medal while Germany’s Birgit Noreiks, the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Queens champion, secured the bronze.

The 2022 IBF World Cup was Coté’s first world-level tournament as a member of Team USA, so reaching the top of the podium was an honor she didn’t take lightly.

“It feels amazing, but I’m still kind of at a loss for words,” a visibly moved Coté said when reflecting upon the acheivement. “I’m just grateful for this opportunity and so thankful for my coaches and teammates. I had a great support system; I couldn’t have done this without them.”

The entire Team USA entourage, Prather included, was sitting front and center cheering Coté on throughout her march to gold.

However, Prather couldn’t cheer the entire time; he had to address some business of his own.

Prather captured his medal by defeating Malaysia’s Timmy Tan 2-0 (288-279; 215-206) during the men’s bronze-medal match.

Prather was forced to settle for a shot at bronze after falling to Australia’s Jason Belmonte 2-1 (224-199; 210-300; 204-212) in the semifinals.

Belmonte wouldn’t go home with gold either though; he was forced to settle for silver after losing 2-1 (269-157; 189-189 (49-59); 218-223) in the finals to Germany’s Paul Purps.

Purps walked away with the gold medal and the coveted IBF World Cup trophy.

Although Prather obviously would have loved to win gold for Team USA, he was far from disappointed with his bronze-medal performance.

“I really wanted to come out on top, but I have no regrets,” Prather said. “I’m very fortunate just to have had the opportunity to be here. Now, I’m hoping that we can bring home some gold for the team.”

They could very well get that chance as Team USA’s men’s and women’s teams have both qualified for their respective semifinals in Baker Team competition.

The men will take on Australia while the women have a date with Germany.

Baker Team play will wrap up with the semifinals and finals Tuesday night into Wednesday morning on the final day of competition at the 2022 IBF World Cup.

Team USA Head Coach Bryan O’Keefe would love to see both squads walk away with medals, but he wasn’t talking about that Tuesday morning; instead, he was taking a brief moment to appreciate the outstanding Singles performances authored by Coté and Prather.

“Anytime we come to these events, our main goal is to medal, so I’m super happy that we got one on each side,” O’Keefe said. "We would have loved to have two golds, but any medal in a world event is something that we, as a team, should be proud of. Today was a great day.”

Women’s Final

Coté (USA) def. New (Singapore) 2-0 (194-186; 226-201)
It may be hard to imagine there was much drama in a match that ended in a sweep, but the opening game between Coté and Singapore’s Hui Fen New was definitely not boring.

Only one pin separated the two women after four frames, but Coté caught the first break when New made an uncharacteristic mistake by missing a single-pin spare in the fifth.

That open allowed Coté to jump ahead by nine pins through six frames.

The lead didn’t last long though as Coté left a 2-10 split and suffered an open of her own in the seventh. That gave New a two-pin lead, one that she would still possess as both bowlers prepared for the 10th frame.

With each player entering the 10th on a spare, Coté couldn’t be content just matching New’s performance; she’d have to top her in the final frame or go down 0-1.

The right-hander from Singapore was up first, and she delivered a quality pocket shot. The pins refused to cooperate, however, so she was left to deal with a 10 pin.

As New surveyed her spare, Coté stepped up and delivered a strike. The hit was important, but it would only be enough if New failed to cover the 10 pin.

Coté wouldn’t have it that easy as her opponent made the 10 pin with ease, putting the pressure back on the American.

The game would be determined by Coté’s next shot. If she struck, she’d be a winner. Anything less, and she’d be down a game and on the brink of defeat.

But Coté didn’t deliver anything less; instead, she pounded the pocket with the strike she needed to take Game 1 (194-186).

The fact that the American delivered under pressure shouldn’t have come as a surprise; after all, she’d already done it multiple times throughout the tournament.

“I have experience in situations like that, so I know how to handle myself and my emotions,” Coté said. “I tend to like to get amped up and into it, but I knew that in that moment I needed to take a deep breath and take it one shot at a time.”

Coming up with the shot that she needed was incredibly important for Coté as there is a very big difference between being up 1-0 or down 0-1 in a best-of-three match. Being up means earning some much-needed breathing room while being down equals having no more margin for error.

New learned that lesson the hard way as the match transitioned into Game 2.

Riding the momentum of the opening-game victory, Coté came out strong yet again, starting the second game with a turkey before leaving back-to-back 10 pins in the fourth and fifth.

New, on the other hand, got behind the eight-ball quickly.

She started strike, spare but then left the 3-4-6-7 in the third frame and the 4-10 in the fifth. Both splits resulted in opens, allowing Coté to build a 46-pin lead at the halfway point.

To her credit, New rebounded, notching a turkey of her own in frames six through eight.

Unfortunately for her, Coté answered the first two of those strikes, which kept the American’s lead at 35 pins with time running out.

Once Singapore’s star ended her string with a 2 pin in the ninth, it was clear that the gold would go home with Coté.

“I’ve learned over time not to look at the scoreboard, so I was trying my best not to look even as we got toward the end of the second game,” Coté said. “I finally looked up after I made my spare in the ninth, and that’s when I realized the situation and had a sigh of relief and pure joy wash over me.”

Men’s Bronze Medal Match

Prather (USA) def. Tan (Malaysia) 2-0 (288-279; 215-206)
As mentioned above, matches that result in a two-game sweep can easily come off as boring, but anyone who watched Prather and Tan battle for the bronze medal know their match was anything but.

The duo started throwing strikes back and forth at one another from the very start of Game 1, and as each passing frame ticked by, the crowd began wondering if they would ever stop.

The excitement really ratcheted up once both bowlers reached the front nine, bringing to mind the suddenly real possibility of the highly-unlikely 300-300 tie.

It wasn’t meant to be, however, as Tan left a 10 pin on his first ball in the 10th frame.

Usually, when a bowler starts with the front nine, he or she has already locked up the victory before stepping up for the 10th. That wasn’t the case for Prather.

Instead, he found himself needing nine for the tie or a strike for the win. Anything less than nine, and he’d lose Game 1 as long as Tan made his spare.

Prather wasn’t about to let the chance at victory slip away, however, and he let it show by delivering the strike he needed to put himself in the 280s and take the opening victory.

The only question remaining at that point was whether or not Prather would finish off the 300.

If such a thing as bowling karma existed, then Prather should have been rewarded with a strike on any ball close to the pocket on ball 11. After all, Prather had already had two 300s thrown against him at this year’s IBF World Cup.

Sadly, bowling karma doesn’t exist, and perhaps that’s why Prather’s next shot left a 10 pin.

“Honestly, I thought it was going to be 300-300 and go to a roll-off,” Prather said. "His look was good, and I felt comfortable with what I had as well. It was an exciting match for sure; I was just fortunate that I came out on top.”

What was even more fortunate for Prather was that after coming out on top in Game 1, he’d never trail again.

He began Game 2 spare, double, spare, four-bagger while Tan started spare, open and failed to record more than a double during that same stretch.

That put Prather up 30 pins through seven frames and gave him a good deal of breathing room.

It appeared as if he may need it after he missed a single-pin spare in the eighth, but Tan couldn’t double to capitalize.

Still leading by 19, Prather spared in the ninth and struck on the first ball in the 10th to lock Tan out and secure the bronze medal.

Women’s Semifinals
Coté (USA) def. Posadas (Philippines) 2-1 (207-201; 171-175; 214-190)
Despite getting through and eventually taking home the gold medal, Coté’s victory over Lara Posadas of the Philippines did not come easy.

Coté pounced on two early Posadas opens to go up by 31 pins through four frames in Game 1, but poor pin count by Coté and a late Posadas four-bagger lessened the gap considerably.

In fact, once Posadas struck on her first ball in the 10th frame and Coté left the 2-4-5, it began to look like the bowler from the Philippines was about to complete a comeback victory.

It was not meant to be, however, as Posadas left a 2-4-5 of her own on the very next shot.

That shifted the advantage back over to Coté. As long as she covered the 2-4-5, she’d win the game. That’s precisely what she did, taking Game 1 by a final score of 207-201.

Game 2 was a grind as neither bowler was able to record a double.

Unfortunately for Coté, a double is precisely what she needed in the 10th frame in order to erase a three-pin deficit and complete the sweep.

She got the first strike, but her second shot crept just slightly high and refused to trip the 4 pin. That gave Posadas the win (175-171) and evened the match at one game apiece.

The deciding game was a back-and-forth affair with Coté jumping out to a 21-pin lead through three frames only to see the margin cut to 10 just three frames later.

However, that’s when disaster struck for Posadas.

Not only did she leave a 7 pin in the eighth frame to break up her double, but she also went on to miss that 7 pin.

With her lead suddenly back up to 22 pins, Coté could smell blood in the water. Not wanting to let things get close again, she carded a double in the ninth and first ball in the 10th to put Posadas away once and for all.

When the final balls had been thrown, Coté had won the game (214-190) and match.

Men’s Semifinals

Belmonte (Australia) def. Prather (USA) 2-1 (199-224; 300-210; 212-204)
With Prather and Belmonte being two of the biggest stars on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, everyone expected this semifinal to be exciting from start to finish.

It didn’t disappoint.

Prather accomplished something during Game 1 that very bowlers get to lay credit to: he had Belmonte pretty much locked out before the 10th frame.

That’s because Prather stayed clean and recorded two turkeys while Belmonte opened twice, in the third frame on a 1-2-4-10 and in the ninth on a 1-2-10.

The second open was the costly one as it ended Belmonte’s run of three strikes in a row and allowed Prather to coast to a 224-199 victory.

Knowing that he had already lost, Belmonte used his 10th frame to try to get lined up for the games to come.

Whatever he did, it definitely worked as he struck out the 10th of Game 1 and then proceeded to throw all 12 strikes in Game 2 to even the match with a 300-210 victory over Prather.

Belmonte’s 300 was the third and final perfect game shot during Singles competition at the 2022 IBF World Cup. Marek Talpa of the Czech Republic had the first, and Merwin Tan of the Philippines had the second, which was also shot against Prather.

Belmonte opened Game 3 with a double to run his string to 17 strikes in a row, but it ended one frame later when he came in light and left a 2 pin.

Nevertheless, after covering the spare, the Australian superstar went on to throw another turkey, giving him 23 strikes in a 25-shot span going back to Game 1.

Prather, meanwhile, struggled to throw a double. In fact, he still didn’t have one as the two bowlers entered the ninth frame of the deciding game.

This is where the match was decided.

After Belmonte left a 7 pin in the ninth, Prather had an opening.

The single-pin leave had just reduced Belmonte’s max score to 225. Prather needed the last four strikes for 226.

Unfortunately for the American, it was not meant to be.

Despite throwing a shot that he liked off his hand, Prather’s first shot in the ninth frame left the bucket. He converted the spare, giving Belmonte something to think about.

However, once Belmonte converted the 3-10 baby split in the 10th frame, the match was over; Belmonte had beaten Prather (212-204) and advanced to the gold-medal match.

Women’s Quarterfinals

Coté (USA) def. Clague (Australia) 2-1 (170-213; 243-153; 222-163)
As magnificent as Coté’s day ended up being, it got off to a scary start against fan-favorite Chloe Clague of Australia.

The young right-hander showed no fear of Coté during the early stages of the match, quickly grabbing the lead in Game 1 and continuing to build it out until she was up by 32 pins after eight frames.

Once Clague counted nine on her first ball in the ninth frame, the match was officially over. She was up 1-0 thanks to a 213-170 victory.

However, that number was at least a little bit misleading as Coté used her final two frames to begin getting dialed in for Game 2, which meant not even attempting to make the 4 pin she left in the ninth frame.

Nevertheless, even though it made her Game 1 final score look worse than it actually was, the experimentation worked as Coté’s ball reaction got much better in Game 2 and Game 3.

For Clague, meanwhile, things went the other way.

While Coté started Game 2 with the front six, Clague struck just once and had to endure a 3-6-7 in the fifth. Those two factors allowed Coté to open up a 67-pin lead that she would never relinquish.

When all was said and done, Coté had used a 243-153 victory to even the match and keep her hopes of advancing alive.

As the scoresheet turned over to Game 3, Coté didn’t have to hope. After all, she was staying strong, and Clague was struggling to hold on.

Coté started the deciding game strike, spare, spare, four-bagger while Clague started strike, spare, strike, open.

Clague did her best to stay in the game by making her spares, but her inability to string any strikes together simply made it impossible for her to cut into Coté’s lead.

By the time the two bowlers reached the ninth frame, there was no longer any doubt as to who would be moving on versus who would be going home.

Men’s Quarterfinals

Prather (USA) def. Syahmi (Singapore) 2-1 (180-247; 202-169; 217-190)
Prather’s quarterfinal-round bout with Nu’Man Syahmi of Singapore played out in very much the same fashion as Coté’s battle with Clague.

Syahmi came out swinging during Game 1, striking in six of the first seven frames to immediately put the American star on his heels.

Prather did his best to weather the storm, but Syahmi was simply too much during Game 1, taking an easy 247-180 victory.

Syahmi would literally never lead again.

The combination of a Prather turkey in frames four, five and six and Syahmi opens in the second and eighth allowed the American to roar back with a stress-free Game 2 victory (202-169) that evened the match.

Sensing that momentum was on his side, Prather didn’t let up; instead, he started Game 3 double, spare, turkey to immediately bring the lead to his side once again.

Syahmi tried to dig in and fight back, but his ball reaction and pin carry just wouldn’t allow it. When all was said and done, Prather won the game (217-190) and match and earn a semifinal bout with Belmonte.