England, Sweden set pace at 2017 QubicaAMF World Cup

Men's standings | Women's standings
HERMOSILLO, Mexico - England's Ray Teece has bowled better each day at the 2017 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, and he used a tournament-high six-game block Wednesday to surge to the top of the men's standings.

The 29-year-old right-hander started the day 10th place and averaged more than 243 over six games at Bol 300 to move past previous leader, Arturo Estrada of Mexico, who paced the field through the first two rounds.

Teece closed Wednesday's third round with a 258 game and 1,460 effort for the day, and he leads the 64-player men's field with an 18-game total of 4,020, a 223.33 average.

Colombia's Oscar Rodriguez is second with 3,951 and Team USA's Jakob Butturff is third with 3,950, while Estrada struggled on the way to 157 finish, ultimately falling to fourth place after 18 games with 3,946. Nicola Pongolini of Italy rounds out the top five with 3,915.

"Today, I was able to keep throwing the ball I've used to get most of my pins, and if you've got confidence in a ball, things can turn out very well," Teece said. "I feel a lot more confident than I did the first two days, but I don't want to think too far ahead, because that's when mistakes happen. I want to keep looking at it like I'm trying to chase everyone down, rather than like I have my back against the wall and I'm trying to fight everyone off."

The lead nearly changed hands earlier Wednesday, when a hot start got Butturff within six pins of Estrada, but some trouble handling the transition of the 41-foot oil pattern slowed the charge.

Butturff, who struggled on the freshly oiled lanes to start the week, opened with games of 234, 237 and 268 but got tripped up by the transition. He added 206 and 175, before ending the day with 226.

After three days of competition and discussions with Team USA head coach Rod Ross, Butturff now feels more confident earlier in the block, though it was the opposite Monday during the first of the four qualifying rounds.

"I missed the transition a little bit today when the righties got deeper earlier, and that led to some trouble," said Butturff, a 23-year-old left-hander. "I feel like I'll have to get all I can on the fresh now and use that to my benefit. Following and watching other left-handers helps and makes a difference. Really, I just want to stay consistent, try to keep up with the striking pace and make spares. Outside of a couple errors, my spare shooting has been good this week, and it helps."

WegnerJenny2017WorldCupForWeb250x140On the women's side, Sweden's Jenny Wegner fought off an early threat from Australia's Rebecca Whiting to maintain the lead for the third consecutive day.

Wegner, the defending champion, posted a 1,333 six-game total Wednesday and sits atop the standings with an 18-game mark of 4,096.

Whiting started the day with games of 278 and 289 on the way to a 1,387 performance, and she now is second with 3,970. Germany's Vanessa Timter is third with 3,942 and followed by Rocio Restrepo of Colombia (3,927) and Maribel Orozco of Mexico (3,865).

Team USA's Erin McCarthy was consistent Wednesday, shooting 1,230, but it was well short of her torrid pace in the second round, which resulted in the only 1,400-plus block in either division (1,403). McCarthy is in eighth place with a 3,847 total for her 18 games.

The final round of qualifying will take place Thursday, with the women hitting the lanes first. They'll get underway live on BowlTV at noon Eastern, and the men will begin their last six games at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

After 24 games over four days, the field will be cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women. Total pinfall after eight additional games Friday morning will determine the eight players in each division who advance to round-robin match play.

China's Feng Nan holds the 24th spot in the men's standings with a 3,630 total, a 201.67 average. He is looking to bring China its second consecutive, and second overall, win at the World Cup. Wang Hongbo won the event in 2016, becoming the second player in history from the host country to win.

Catalonia's Ingrid Julia is 24th in the women's standings with a 3,441 total, a 191.17 average.

This year marks the record third time the World Cup has visited Hermosillo (1994, 2008) and sixth time Mexico has played host.

Two Mexicans have won the World Cup. Irma Urrea won in Hamburg, Germany, in 1972, the first time women competed, and Alfonso Rodriguez, took the title in Seoul, South Korea, in 1985.

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 top four men and top four women after 40 games this week, including bonus pins from wins in match play, will advance to Saturday's knockout-style semifinals, where the No. 1 seed will face the No. 4 qualifier and No. 2 and No. 3 will do battle. The winners of each match will earn a spot in the championship game.

The field this week includes 64 men and 54 women, representing 68 countries.

For more information about the 2017 QubicaAMF World Cup, visit QubicaAMF.com.