WSC: Tommy Jones takes early lead

Team USA's Tommy Jones outdistanced the field with ease as the first half of bowlers took part in the opening round Thursday at the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Singles Championships in Limassol, Cyprus.

1a Tommy Jones USAJones opened the tournament with a six-game total of 1,511 (251.8 average), while the next highest player was Martin Paulsson of Sweden, sitting 116 pins back.

There are 72 men and 56 women from 44 countries taking part in the inaugural World Singles Championships. Thursday's competition featured half of the field in each division competing in the opening round. The rest of the players will bowl their opening six games Friday.

Jones was steady throughout the block with games of 257, 248, 235, 279, 259 and 233 on the WTBA Montreal pattern (41 feet).

"Today was a good day, and I was fortunate to get off to a good start and get the momentum going," Jones said. "I bowled pretty good early, then the lanes transitioned and I made a couple good decisions to switch balls and move into the middle part of the lane."

Each country had the option of sending a maximum of two men and two women to the event and Team USA's Chris Barnes also competed Thursday.

Barnes got off to a slow start to the block and sits in a tie for 12th place with 1,213 (202.2 average). He had games of 190, 189 and 191 to open the day before closing with 225, 203 and 215.

On the women's side, neither of Team USA's participants - Kelly Kulick and Shannon O'Keefe - competed Thursday. They will bowl their opening round Friday.

The Americans will be chasing Russia's Alena Korobkova, who set the pace with 1,370 (228.3 average). Malaysia's Esther Cheah is second with 1,295.

The qualifying portion of the World Singles Championships consists of 12 games over two six-game blocks to narrow the field down to the top 24 in each division. Action will then shift to the match-play bracket with the top eight players in each division earning a first-round bye.

Free live streaming is being provided of the entire event. To view the live streaming, click here.