Singapore kegler Cherie Tan upstaged two highly fancied rivals to win a historic Masters title at the World Bowling Women's Championships in Las Vegas on Friday.
In the semi-final, the 31-year-old defeated home bowler Danielle McEwan 2-1 in the best-of-three series. She rebounded from losing the first game 212-165, to win the next two 236-184 and 244-213.
McEwan, 27, had won the singles title a day earlier, and also won the all events of the previous edition of the biennial world championships, also in Las Vegas in 2017.
In the final, Tan was up against Colombia's top-ranked Maria Rodriguez, who had claimed the all events gold with 5,488 pinfalls.
Tan was fifth with 5,376. The top 24 in the all events qualified for the Masters finals.
Tan was not cowed, though, and held her nerve to win the first game 203-201, and then the second 258-217, to beat her 30-year-old South American rival 2-0.
The Singaporean told The Sunday Times: "Danielle is a really strong competitor and I knew I had to make good shots to have a chance to beat her.
"I felt she had some bad breaks and lost her ball reaction on the right lane, which allowed me to win."
On her final against Rodriguez, she said she simply relied on "staying present" and focusing on taking it one shot at a time.
"Who the opponent was and what she did were things I had no control over, so there was no point thinking about it," said Tan.
Also, she dedicated the win to her teammates, saying that the main target for the Singapore contingent was the team gold. The team failed to make the cut for the semi-finals earlier in the competition.
A jubilant Jessie Phua, president of SingaporeBowling, told ST that Tan's milestone win was "deserving and long overdue".
"Cherie is one of our most hardworking, disciplined and focused athletes at SingaporeBowling," said Phua.
"Her win certainly helped reaffirm and stamp our premier standing in the bowling world - a truly world-class performance that Singapore can be proud of."
The only other Singaporean who qualified for the Masters was Bernice Lim, who was 23rd in the all-events list with 5,132 pinfalls.
But she lost 2-1 (163-227, 225-202, 246-224) to Rodriguez in the third round of the Masters finals.
Some 179 bowlers from 34 nations competed in this year's championships.
The Master's title is Tan's second individual medal at the world meet. She won a singles silver medal in Abu Dhabi in 2015, when she also clinched a silver in the trios and a bronze in the doubles.
The previous best performances by Singaporeans in the Masters were silver medals by Tan's sister Daphne in Hong Kong in 2011 and Jazreel Tan in Mexico in 2007.
SINGAPORE WOMEN'S WORLD SILVERWARE
• MASTERS GOLD Cherie Tan
• TEAM SILVER Jazreel Tan, New Hui Fen, Cherie Tan, Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng
• MASTERS BRONZE Shayna Ng
• ALL EVENTS GOLD Shayna Ng
• SINGLES Cherie Tan (silver), Shayna Ng (bronze)
• TRIOS SILVER Cherie Tan, New Hui Fen, Shayna Ng
• DOUBLES BRONZE Cherie Tan and Shayna Ng
• TEAM BRONZE Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan, Joey Yeo, New Hui Fen, Jazreel Tan, Daphne Tan
• MASTERS SILVER Daphne Tan
• TEAM SILVER Jazreel Tan, Cherie Tan, Daphne Tan, Geraldine Ng, Shayna Ng
• DOUBLES SILVER New Hui Fen and Jazreel Tan
• SINGLES BRONZE Shayna Ng
• TEAM BRONZE Jasmine Yeong-Nathan, Bernice Lim, Cherie Tan, Shayna Ng, Jazreel Tan
• MASTERS SILVER Jazreel Tan
• TRIOS SILVER Alice Tay, Jennifer Tan, Valerie Teo
• DOUBLES BRONZE Lee Poh Leng and Jesmine Ho