Asbaty, Hoffman headline World Ranking Masters


    2007 World Ranking Masters

    By Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications

    2006MWCBillHoffman_small.jpg 2006BWCDiandraAsbaty_small.jpg When Team USA's Diandra Asbaty travels around the world, she says she is always welcomed by the host countries. When the 2007 Kegel/United States Bowling Congress World Ranking Masters begin this week, Asbaty will have a chance to play host.

    Asbaty of Chicago and Team USA's Bill Hoffman of Columbus, Ohio, will be the lone American representatives when the World Ranking Masters begins Thursday at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Fla.

    "I definitely want to extend a warm welcome to all the countries coming to the United States," said Asbaty, a two-time U.S. Amateur champion. "I know when I travel to other countries they really take me in and make me feel comfortable, so I hope to do that with them, too.

    The World Ranking Masters features the top eight men and top eight women from each World Tenpin Bowling Association zone (American, European and Asian). Last year's event was held in Kuwait, where Khalid Al Dubyan of Kuwait won the men's title while Colombia's Sara Vargas finished first among the women.

    The event will feature some of the world's greatest players and Asbaty said she expects the competition to be fierce yet friendly.

    "I have a lot of friends who will be bowling, so it's always nice to catch up with them," she said. "To meet them in different places in the world is really a neat thing about bowling. We all come from different places but we meet up to do what we love."

    All competitors will take part in 24 games of qualifying before the field is cut to the top eight men and top eight women for best-of-three matches. The championship rounds are scheduled to be broadcast on regional television.

    This will be the third time Asbaty has competed in the World Ranking Masters, an event she won in 2004 in Moscow. In her nine years on Team USA, Asbaty has won numerous international medals and most recently won the 2006 QubicaAMF World Cup in Caracas, Venezuela.

    Hoffman, an eight-time Team USA member, finished second in the event in 2003 when it was also held at the Kegel Training Center. He helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in team event at the WTBA Men's World Championships last year for the first time in 35 years in Busan, South Korea.