Team USA advances to team semifinals, Tackett wins all-events at 2018 World Men's Championships

HONG KONG - Team USA used a consistent and complete team effort Monday to claim a spot in the team semifinals at the 2018 World Bowling Men's Championships.

The defending champions entered the second half of the six-game qualifying round in third place and used games of 1,077, 1,074 and 1,031 to surge to the top of the standings, earning the top seed for Tuesday's four-team semifinals with a 6,373 total.

Canada finished behind Team USA with 6,242 and was followed by Italy (6,132) and Singapore (6,130).

The United States and Singapore will meet in the first team semifinal, while Canada and Italy face off in the other. The winners then will bowl for the gold medal. The semifinal losers each will earn bronze medals.

The team medal round will feature best-of-three Baker matches and will be broadcast live on FloBowling on Tuesday at 4 a.m. Eastern.

First-time World Men's Championships participant EJ Tackett led way for Team USA in the final stretch at the South China Athletic Association Bowling Centre, and his 682 series Monday not only helped give the United States a shot at consecutive team titles, it also earned him the all-events gold medal.

The 26-year-old right-hander contributed a team-best 1,346 six-game total to the qualifying effort and was joined by Tommy Jones (1,336), Andrew Anderson (1,242), Kyle Troup (1,214), Chris Barnes (629) and Jakob Butturff (606). Butturff bowled the first three games of qualifying Saturday, while Barnes replaced him in the lineup Monday.

"The team event is why we come here, and the one we really want to win," Tackett said. "We did absolutely what we had to do today to get us into that first position, but now the pins don't matter. We'll go into the Baker format just as focused on throwing good shots as we have been all week. Whatever opponent we have is going to be tough, so we'll just have to stay mentally ready and apply pressure early, hopefully coming away with another gold medal."

After ending a 35-year title drought in the team event in 2006, the United States has continued to be dominant in the five-player competition, winning again in 2008, 2010 and 2017, in addition to silver medals in 2013 and 2014. There also were team silver medals in 1999 and 2003, leading into the winning streak.

Longtime team members Barnes and Jones each stood atop the medal stand in 2008 and 2010, and they were joined by Butturff in 2017. Anderson and Troup made their World Championships debuts this week with Tackett.

"The team bowled really well and competed very well as a team, even when things got a little tricky," Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. "This is what we train for, and to medal in the team event is what all the guys really want. But, we're only part of the way there. We got the first hurdle out of the way by qualifying for the medal round, and now we'll focus on the Baker format, and, hopefully, come away with a gold medal."

For Tackett, who thought he bowled well in singles, the first event of the week, though the scoreboard did not reflect it, had things quickly fall into place when he returned to the lanes for doubles.

He finished tied for 26th place in singles with a 1,261 total, before some surface changes to his bowling balls helped him to a 1,421 performance in doubles and 1,324 in trios. He claimed the first gold medal of his Team USA career with a 24-game total of 5,352, a 223 average.

2018WBMCAndersonTackettAEForWeb300x169Anderson, who owns one of the week's two perfect games, earned the all-events silver medal with 5,285, and Canada's Dan MacLelland was the bronze medalist with 5,277.

Earlier in the week, Anderson earned a bronze medal in singles and a silver medal in doubles with Tackett. MacLelland won the silver medal in singles and a bronze in doubles.

Team USA's Troup, also a bronze medalist in singles, just missed an all-events medal, finishing fourth with 5,250.

After Tackett and Anderson fell short against Malaysia in the doubles title match Sunday night, rebounding Monday to notch his first win as a member of adult Team USA, was incredibly meaningful for Tackett.

"I just didn't see the lanes right to start, wasn't doing the right thing with my hand and didn't have the right surfaces on my bowling balls, but I figured things out and it got better each day," said Tackett, who also advanced to the trios medal round with Anderson and Troup. "It feels amazing to win this one. From an individual standpoint, all-events is special because it's an accumulation of the whole week, not just one day. I'll treasure this one for a while, but right now I am going to turn my attention to the trios medal round and team tomorrow."

The trios medal round is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern), and the tournament will conclude Wednesday with the Masters final.

All 265 competitors at the 2018 World Men's Championships bowled 24 games this week (six games in singles, doubles, trios, team), and pinfall totals determined the all-events medalists.

The top 24 bowlers from the all-events standings also advanced to Masters match play, which will begin Tuesday afternoon.

Along with Tackett, Anderson and Troup, Team USA's Jones also advanced to the Masters portion of the tournament. He qualified 18th with a 5,024 total. Butturff and Barnes failed to advance, finishing tied for 110th and 154th, respectively.

Sweden's Pontus Andersson and Germany's Oliver Morig tied for 23rd place with 4,971, a 207.12 average for 24 games, and claimed the final spots in match play.

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