55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup
South African, Australian crowned World Champions
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23rd November, Palembang: Fourth-seed, Francois Louw became the first-ever South African to win the Men's crown of the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup while third-seed, Rebecca Whiting became the sixth Australian to win the Women's title.

Louw, who dominated the grueilling four days of qualifying rounds including the Top 24 Round, lost his lead in the final game during today's Top 8 Round-Robin finals and barely made the stepladder finals in fourth position.

The South African had led the round from the start, right up to the final eighth and position round match where he faced Germany's Oliver Morig with a 32 pins cushion. Louw struggled big time and lost to the German, 155-220 but survived to clinch fourth position for the stepladder finals.

Ironically, Louw faced Morig in the semi-finals for a re-match and the South African sailed past the German, 262-196 to advance to the championship round. Indonesia's Ryan Lalisang, who trailed Ireland's Christopher Sloan by 6 pins before the position round match, outclassed the Irishman, 254-182 to snatch the third stepladder spot.

Newly-crowned World Cup champions, Francois Louw and Rebecca Whiting

Australia's Sam Cooley finished second to take on the Indonesian in the semi-finals. Cooley also struggled in the match while Lalisang, cheered on by the large crowd of local supporters, breezed past the Aussie, 239-158 to set the finale with Louw.

In the final match, Louw had an early double in the second and third frames but made a mistake with a foul in his first shot of the fourth frame, but managed to make the spare. Lalisang responded with a double in the third and fourth frames and another double in the sixth and seventh frames.

Although Louw recovered with another double strike in the fifth and sixth frames, the South African was still trailing his opponent by seven pins. A costly miss by Lalisang in the eighth frame gave confidence to Louw and he subsequently struck out from frame 8 to take victory, 237-202.

The only South African to win the World Cup was Anne Jacobs in Hermosillo, Mexico in 1994 when she was crowned the women's champion. Louw came close to winning it himself in Las Vegas in 2015 finishing first runner-up.

Francois Louw holding the Men's champion trophy aloft

Meanwhile, Rebecca Whiting followed the foot-steps of her predecessors to become the sixth Australian to capture the coveted women's title. And she had lady luck on her side as she faced two-time champion and crowd favourite, Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic in the final.

Guerra had a poor start with a 2-4-7-10 split which she failed to convert while Whiting also had a bad break in the third frame with a 4-7-10 split herself which she also failed to convert. Both were cautious thereafter but neither was able to make their mark.

When the Aussie was faced with another 4-7-10 split in the seventh frame, lady luck struck first when she miraculously converted it. Guerra, on the other hand, made her first mistake after she failed to make a simple pin 10 spare.

Whiting had another split in the eighth frame which this time, failed to make the spare but the Dominican again missed another single pin 7. Whiting went on to end the match with a 172-162 victory to seal title.

Rebecca Whiting lifting her Women's champion trophy

The champion, who had completed the Top 8 Round-Robin finals in third, defeated Malaysia's Natasha Roslan, 199-176 in the semi-finals to advance to the championship round. Guerra, who had looked to go down to top-seed, Kelly Kulick of USA midway through the other semi, bounced back with four consecutive strikes from frame 8 to beat the American, 194-179 to advance.

The previous five Australian women to have won the World Cup titles were Jeanette Baker (Mexico 1983), Cara Honeychurch (Belfast, Ireland 1996), Maxine Nable (Kobe, Japan 1998), Amanda Bradley (Las Vegas, USA 1999) and Ann-Maree Putney (St. Petersburg, Russia 2007).

Australia was awarded the Bent Peterson trophy as the Champion Country with Whiting as champion and Sam Cooley as joint second runner-up in the men's division. Players, officials and guests will attend the Victory Banquet hosted by QubicaAMF during which time, the host flag for the next 56th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup 2020 will be handed over to Kuwait.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Palembang, Indonesia.

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