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Bowling News USA - September 25, 2012 Barnes, Kulick Crowned World Singles Champions in Cyprus

In an all-Team USA affair between two 13-time PBA champions, Chris Barnes defeated Tommy Jones, 212-198, to win the men's gold medal in the inaugural World Singles Championships Tuesday at Galactica Bowling Center in Limassol, Cyprus. 

In the semifinals, Barnes edged Storm Staffer Andres Gómez, 246-244, while Jones downed Storm's Osku Palermaa of Finland, 259-199. Jones received the silver medal, while Gómez and Palermaa shared the bronze medal. 

It was the second consecutive individual title at World Championships for Barnes, who won the gold medal in Masters at the 2010 Men's World Championships in Germany. 

Opposite to the high-scoring semifinal matches, the title match was a lower scoring affair. Jones, the No. 2 seed, suffered a big split in his first frame and a spare in the second frame to give Barnes a head start. 

The No. 5 seed started with strike-spare and while both players added two strikes and single-pin spare, Barnes hold a 14-pin lead heading into the final five frames. He left a split in the sixth frame which he failed to convert but Jones, who narrowed the gap with a strike, immediately gave back the advantage after an open frame in the seventh. 

That was all a player of this caliber needed. Barnes reeled off three consecutive strikes to pull away and wrapped up the title with a spare and a strike on his fill ball. Jones, who closed out the match with a spare and three strikes plus seven on the fill ball, had to settle for the silver medal. 

Barnes, however, had some hard work to do to advance to the title match. He started his semifinal match against Gomez with an open frame, probably the best place for an open in this match, if there is any. 

The Colombian, who won his first PBA title in last season's World Series of Bowling, started with a strike, and then gave the advantage back when he opened in frame two. Barnes struck on his next three shots before he converted a single-pin spare in the fifth frame. 

Gomez recovered from the open and fired seven consecutive strikes in frames 3-9, but only to hold a slim 11-pin lead heading into the final frame. He had a chance to strike out for 266 but left a single pin on his first ball which he converted and got another nine-count on the fill ball for 244. 

Barnes got up and needed strike-nine-spare for 246 en route to win the match and that was exactly what he got. 

In the other semifinal match, Jones and three-time PBA champion Palermaa (right) were tied for two frames as both players struck on the first two balls. While Jones connected for a six-bagger, the two-hander sandwiched two spares around two open frames to give the American an insurmountable lead. 

The Finn struck in the seventh, ninth and doubled in the tenth frame but Jones cruised to a 259-199 victory.

Kelly Kulick of the United States became the first women's World Singles Champion in the history of the World Tenpin Bowling Association when she defeated Diana Zavjalova of Latvia in the title match, 228-226. 

Kulick, who made sports history two years ago by winning 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions to become the first woman to win a PBA Tour event, is the well-deserved winner of the gold medal as she led the 57-player women's division since the first block of qualifying. 

However, the reigning women's U.S. Open champion survived two strong charges in the championship round. In her semifinal match against Esther Cheah of Malaysia, Kulick was down by six pins heading into the last frame. 

She struck out to force Cheah, who won the gold medal in Singles at the 2005 Women's World Championships, got only nine pins on her first bal in the tenth to settle for the bronze medal, 212-207. 

In the other semifinal match Zavjalova ousted Aseret Zetter of Mexico, 237-212, to bowl Kulick for the title. 

The best female bowler in the world started the gold medal match with three strikes to take an early lead. Bother players either struck or left single pins on their first shots through the entire match. 

The Latvian, who studies in the U.S. at Webber International University and is on the team that won the 2012 Intercollegiate Team Championships, started with two spares and three strikes to trail Kulick by one pin in the middle of the game. 

Both players added two spares a strike in frames sixth through eight. When Kulick only spared in the foundation frame, the door was open for Zavjalova. She got a strike in the ninth frame and could shut out Kulick with another strike in the tenth. 

When Zavjalova closed out with spare and strike for 226, Kulick needed a double and a nine-count on the fill ball to win. The woman, who has won all major women's tournaments in the U.S., sealed the victory with another three strikes. 

Zavjalova earned the silver medal while Cheah and Zetter both received bronze. 

Beginning in 2012, the World Singles Championships will be held every four years. The new event gives WTBA a world championship event every year, filling a void created under the previous calendar. 

The joint Combined World Championships will take place in 2013, the Men's World Championships will take place in 2014 and Women's World Championships in 2015. Each of those events are also held every four years.

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September, 2012