Williams sweeps Agerbo to win gold in Masters at Men's World Championships 2008


    2008 MWC

    Masters concludes the Men's World Championships 2008 in Thailand

    2007EBT16JesperAgerbo_small.jpg 2008MWCMastersWalterRayWilliams.jpg Walter Ray Williams Jr. (l.), United States defeated Jesper Agerbo (r.), Denmark in three straight games, three-games-to-none, to win the gold medal in the Masters in the Men's World Championships 2008 at SF Strike Bowl Ngamwongwan in Nonthaburi, Bangkok, Thailand.

    The 44-time PBA champion flew past his opponent in the first two games with back-to-back 256 games and secured the victory with a 228-224 win in the third game.

    "Until three days ago, I wasn't really happy with my performance here," said Williams, a 28-year professional who earned three gold medals and a bronze in his Team USA debut this week. "The last match was one of the best matches I've ever bowled. It was definitely a lot more fun for me."

    The 2008 Men's World Championships marked the much anticipated first appearance of professionals in major WTBA competition thanks to a change in legislation last August.

    The short pattern, which had been troublesome for Williams throughout the week, was no match for the Professional Bowlers Association and United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer on Saturday.

    Williams jumped all over Agerbo from the start, stringing eight consecutive strikes for a 256-203 victory in Game 1 on the short oil pattern. Moving over to the long oil pattern for Game 2, Williams struck on 10 of his last 11 shots for a 256-202 win and a 2-0 edge.

    Back on the short pattern for Game 3, Williams struck on three of his final four shots en route to a 228-224 victory to complete the sweep.

    "I finally figured out how to bowl well on the short pattern today," said Williams, who won seven of nine games Saturday on the short oil pattern - the same pattern he averaged 209.08 in 12 games on earlier in the week. "That's part of the game - figuring out what to do and then executing."

    Williams, seeded 15th, defeated fellow Team USA member Rhino Page of Topeka, Kan., 3-1, in the first round - jumping out to a 2-0 lead aided by a 243-213 victory in Game 1 on the short pattern. In the quarterfinals, Williams downed All Events gold medalist and top seed, Choi Bok-Eum of Korea, 3-1 - winning the last three games that included a 214-203 triumph in Game 3 on the short pattern.

    2008EBT05OskuPalermaa2_small.jpg In the semifinals, Williams got past Finland two-hander Osku Palermaa, 3-2, by winning all three games on the short pattern.

    "A lot of the professionals learn by recognition," Team USA head coach Jeri Edwards said. "If you give these guys a long time, they get things figured out. And with a man like Walter Ray ... bar the doors."

    In the Masters first round, Choi defeated Team USA's Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3-1, while Palermaa earned a 3-2 victory over Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C. - winning the decisive game, 279-244.

    2008WYCDominicBarrett_small.jpg Agerbo, seeded fifth, currently 38th in the European rankings before the 12th event of the European Bowling Tour in Maribor, Slovenia (live on Bowlingdigital.com), went the distance against No. 12 Nayef Eqab and No. 6 Alejandro Cruz, Mexico (3-2) but made quick work of No. 10 Dominic Barrett, England, 3-0.

    Agerbo received silver while Palermaa and Barrett received the bronze medal.

    2008MWCMastersTop4.jpg It was Williams' third gold in the championships after winning the Team event and the Singles competition. Team USA won four out of six titles (Doubles, Team, Singles, Masters) and added two bronze in Trios and silver in All Events (Rhino Page), the best performance for Team USA's men since the World Championships began in 1954.

    L-R Agerbo, Williams, Palermaa and Barrett.

    The United States medaled in every event - a feat that hasn't been accomplished by any country at the World Championships since its current format was instituted in 1979.

    "That's something to be said," Edwards said. "I couldn't be more pleased. It was an incredible week with some unbelievable performances. The matches were close and there was a lot of really, really good bowling. We worked awfully hard and these guys performed just beautifully."

    The Men's World Championships, which was held at SF Strike Bowl Ngamwonwan, featured more than 300 athletes from 57 countries competing in six disciplines - Doubles, Trios, Team, Singles, All Events and Masters.

    The top 16 players from All Events (combined results from Singles, Doubles, Trios and Team competition) advanced to the World Championship Masters finals.

    Seven players from Europe (six Scandinavians, two each from Finland and Sweden, and one each from Denmark and Norway, and one from England), five players from America (four Team USA bowlers and one Mexican) and four from Asia (two from UAE, and one each from Australia and Korea) determined the gold, silver and two bronze medalists in best-of-five game single-elimination match play.

    Masters - Round of 16

    Masters - Quarterfinal

    Masters - Semifinal

    Masters - Championship

    Walter Ray Williams Jr. talks about his Masters gold at MWC

    Medal Tally - Countries

    Medal Tally - Players