Trios reaches halfway point at 2018 World Men's Championships

HONG KONG - Like any familiar commute, a change in the traffic pattern can create temporary challenges and potentially a longer travel time to the same destination.

The same could be accurate in describing Team USA's start in trios at the 2018 World Bowling Men's Championships, where the teams finished the first day of competition in fourth and 64th place. Their scores were 1,984 and 1,656, respectively.

Sweden's Mattias Wetterberg, Jesper Svensson and Martin Larsen lead at the halfway point with 2,029 and are followed by Indonesia's Billy Islam, Hardy Rachmadian and Ryan Lalisang (2,001) and Johnny Spil, Jord van Weeren and Xander van Mazijk (1,997) of the Netherlands.

After making the medal round in singles and doubles this week, the bowlers from the United States will have to figure out how to better navigate the 38-foot World Bowling Los Angeles oil pattern as the number of players on each lane increases and changes the way the lane condition transitions.

The singles and doubles events featured four competitors on each pair of lanes, but the shift to trios means six bowlers per pair. The schedule also changed from six games to just three, as trios will be contested over two days.

Both changes, along with new strategies for many of the 47 countries still trying to find success at the South China Athletic Association Bowling Centre, could minimize any advantage for players who were getting comfortable at the 40-lane center during the first two events.

Team USA's Andrew Anderson, who averaged 234 on the way to the top seed for the semifinals in singles and doubles (with EJ Tackett), rolled a 613 series Thursday to start trios. He again teamed with Tackett, who was able to maintain his momentum from doubles and posted a 703 set. The two were joined by Kyle Troup, the No. 2 seed for the singles semifinals, who added a 668 total, including a 268 finish.

"The lanes were a little different today, but we were able to figure it out and finish with a big game," said Tackett, who contributed a 255 game to his team's 727 finish. "We definitely had to move farther left faster with the two extra guys on the pair. Now, we'll have a chance to watch some squads and talk about how we can improve for the next block. For me, I think it might mean polishing another ball to make sure I can get it through the front part of the lane without having to trick it with my hand."

2018WBMCTrios2ForWeb637x359The other half of the Team USA contingent got out to a slow start with a 514 opening game. They added 565 and 577.

Left-hander Jakob Butturff paced the team with a 564 series and was followed by Tommy Jones (554) and Chris Barnes (538).

The teams can expect more changes and a different transition when they move from trios to team, so they'll need to plan for that, too. Sometimes, that means making an educated guess at the start of the event. It also means being aware of what's happening and trying to anticipate the moves that will be most effective, especially in such a short format.

"The transition this morning was a lot quicker, and we even skipped a ball in their arsenals along the way," Ross said. "Teams on the second squad bowled really well based on what they saw earlier, but that didn't translate to the last squad of the day. Scores seemed to slow down, and people really were moving all over and making changes trying to figure it out. We're going to work out some issues tonight, make some surface adjustments and really focus on the right ball roll tomorrow."

The second half of the six-game trios qualifying will take place Friday, and total pinfall will determine the four teams for the Dec. 3 semifinals. Squads will begin at 9 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. local time.

All 265 competitors at the 2018 World Men's Championships will bowl 24 games this week (six games in singles, doubles, trios, team), and medals also will be awarded for all-events and Masters match play.

The medal round for singles is Dec. 1, doubles is scheduled for Dec. 2, the trios medal round will be Dec. 3, the team event will conclude Dec. 4 and the Masters final will take place on the event's final day, Dec. 5.

All qualifying rounds at the 2018 World Men's Championships are being livestreamed by World Bowling, and all medal rounds will be broadcast to the United States and Canada by FloBowling. A FloBowling subscription will be required to watch the medal rounds.

For more information on the 2018 World Men's Championships, visit