Svensson, Defending Champion Barrett Among Advancers in U.S. Open

by Jerry Schneider October 27, 2019 21:59

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Jesper Svensson of Sweden owns eight PBA Tour titles, including one major victory, but he's never made the first cut at the U.S. Open.

All of that changed this week at Victory Lanes as he averaged 212 over 24 games to cruise into the cashers' round at the 2019 event.

The 24-year-old left-hander is one of 36 players from the field of 144 competitors to advance, and he'll enter Monday's eight-game cashers' round in fifth place with a 5,088 total.

Canada's Francois Lavoie, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, maintained his lead for the second consecutive day and tops the standings after three rounds with a 5,246 total, a 218.58 average. Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is second with 5,154 followed by Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois (5,128), and Houston's Shawn Maldonado (5,096).

PWBA champion Maria Jos‚ Rodriguez of Colombia held on for the final spot in the cashers' round with a 4,871 total, a 202.96 average. Rodriguez was one of three women in the field this week. England's Verity Crawley also made the cut, finishing in 14th place with a 4,983 effort.

Competition will resume Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern, and the top 24 players after the cashers' round will move on to round-robin match play, which will get underway Monday at 6 p.m. EDT.

Each round of the 2019 U.S. Open, leading up to the championship round, is being broadcast live on BowlTV.com and simulcast on FloBowling.

CBS Sports Network will have live coverage of the stepladder finals on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern. The winner will take home the coveted green jacket and a $30,000 top prize.

Defending champion Dom Barrett of England also survived the three-day test and will continue his quest for a second consecutive green jacket.

Barrett qualified 18th overall with a 4,978 total but left Sunday's third round a little frustrated with his performance on the day's 37-foot oil pattern.

The 1,600 total was his lowest performance of the week by 69 pins and didn't give him the momentum he was hoping for, but he knows the next portion of the 56-game event will be a fresh start that requires a clear mind and new game plan.

"The tournament really starts with the cashers' round because you bowl the rest of the way on one pattern," Barrett said. "We survived eight games each day on three different patterns, and now we'll have 32 games on one pattern, so the person who figures that one out will be the one who wins."

The 34-year-old right-hander and seven-time PBA Tour champion posted scores of 1,669 on the event-opening 45-foot oil pattern and 1,709 on the 41-foot condition in the second round.

Their invisible opponent the rest of the way will be 40 feet long, and having made the marathon march on multiple occasions - he also was the runner-up in 2015 - he knows what kind of preparation is required.

"I bowled early today, so I'm going to unwind a bit and take it all in," Barrett said. "I battled and came away with pretty good scores the first couple of days, but today was a bit frustrating. It's over, though, and now it's time to focus on what's next. I've got all day to think about my ball selections for the next part of the event, which is helpful."

Svensson is a much different player than he was when he made his U.S. Open debut during his rookie year on the PBA Tour in 2015, and a focus on improving his versatility paid off this week in North Carolina as he successfully handled the three challenging oil patterns.

"The lanes obviously are pretty tough out there, and I feel like I've been bowling really well physically," said Svensson, who is making his fifth U.S. Open appearance. "When you feel like you're throwing a lot of good shots, it's easy to stay in shape mentally as well. I've had a good week so far, but there's still a long way to go. Right now, just to be able to make it through for the first time at the U.S. Open is a big step forward for me."

Svensson admits that he has struggled in the past when the lanes were a little more challenging, but failing at times along the way showed him the things he needed to work on.

Rather than be defeated, he worked harder, and it showed this week at Victory Lanes, where he improved each day.

In Friday's opening round, Svensson's 1,571 total left him well below the cutline, but he rebounded with consistent sets of 1,758 and 1,759 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to climb the standings

"I've always been such a terrible grinder, so to be bowling well when the lanes are tough makes me very happy, and I feel good for tomorrow," said Svensson, who won the 2016 PBA Tournament of Champions for his first major title. "After a couple of defeats, you realize what you need to work harder on, and versatility definitely is a key here. The different patterns require different strategies and lane play, and I've been focused on getting more versatile. I think if you work hard, it pays off."

Svensson and Barrett are two of 11 international players who made the first cut Sunday, while Svensson is one of three left-handers.

Last year, Barrett became the third foreign-born player to win the U.S. Open, joining Finland's Mika Koivuniemi (2001) and Lavoie (2016). The last southpaw to win the event was Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, in 2017.

For those who survive the cashers' round and advance to match play at the 2019 U.S. Open, competition will continue through Tuesday night, after which the 56-game pinfall totals, including bonus pins for each win in match play, will determine the five TV finalists

The U.S. Open is the final major championship on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

For complete U.S. Open standings and schedule click on https://www.bowl.com/US_Open/US_Open_Home/2019_Results/

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