American foils Australia’s double

10th November, St. Petersburg: Bill Hoffman of Team USA, foiled Australia's chance of an elusive double to emerge as Men's champion after Ann-Maree Putney took the women's crown of the 43rd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup earlier at the Kontinent Bowling Centre.  Bill Hoffman defeated top-seed, Jason Belmonte of Australia in the third and decisive game, 211-181 to become the first American male champion since Patrick Healey Jr stood atop the podium in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1995.

Both Hoffman and Belmonte had been fighting all the way through the 32 games during the qualifying rounds and fittingly were match against each other after the American ousted third-seed, Andres Gomez, 2-0 in the semifinals.

The final went to the full distance, the only match to do so. After totally dominating the men's division all week, Aussie Jason Belmonte stumbled in the grand final, which allowed the American a sniff at the title.

The infamous two-handed bowler rolled his worst game of the tournament in the opening match, 147 giving Hoffman an easy victory with 227. Belmonte then crusied to an second game victory over Hoffman, 269-191. But Hoffman caught a crucial mid-game hatrick to win 221-181 in the decider.

"Somebody buy me a beer," said the slender 33-year-old American premier amateur who has won dozens of major international and domestic titles. He was instrumental when Team USA won the gold medal in the 2006 Men's World Championship in Busan, Korea.

Meanwhile top-seed, Ann-Maree Putney of Australia won the women's crown defeating third-seed, Sun Hee Lee of Korea, 2-0 in the title match to become the fifth Aussie women to win the World Cup. Putney and her coach of 16 years, Geoff Bowness, both broke into tears after she defeated the Korean.

"I told you she was going to win," crowed a triumphant Bowness as he tried to stem the tears. Putney rolled games of 280 and 247 to confirm the victory as her challenger, Sun Hee Lee shot 201 and 226 in defeat. The first runner-up defeated second-seed, Tina Hulsch of Germany 226,258 to 223,227 in the first match.

The last and only time to date that any nation took home both titles in the same year was in 1986. The honors were engraved on the 1986 Cups for Sweden in the names of Peter Ljung, who just happens to be representing Sweden this year, and Annette Hagre.

Detailed scores: Men's Finals | Men's Semifinals | Women's Finals | Women's Semifinals.

Photos courtesy of Hero Noda and QubicaAMF.