The 14th Columbia 300 Vienna Open kicked off Saturday with the first two out of 20 qualifying squads at Plus Bowling in Vienna, Austria. As in the previous year, Thomas Gross
, Austria’s most decorated bowler, set the pace after the first day.
The four-time European Bowling Tour champion, which includes a victory in the 2009 Vienna Open, became the first player in this event who cracked the 1300-bar. Gross led the first squad with 1301, including games of 246, 224, 207, 233, 190 and 201, an average of 216.83.
However, Gross, who serves as the tournament director of the Vienna Open, missed his leading total from 2015 (1412) by 111 pins.
Patrick Freudl of Austria led the second squad to move into second place with distant 1243 and was followed by Pat Nolan, United States, in third place with 1241. Rounding out the top 5 were son and father duo Patrick and Anton Stiel with 1201 and 1194, respectively.
Nolan teamed with sixth place Marco Pilecky (1192) to take the early lead in doubles with 2417 or an average of 201.17.
By virtue of leading one of the first eight squads, Gross and Freudl will earn automatic berths in the finals in case they will not finish in the top 44 in the final qualifying standings. If they finish in the top 44, the automatic spot goes to the next qualifier in order in the respective squad.
Qualifying commences on Sunday, Sept. 25, with Squads 3 & 4 scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).
The 14th Columbia 300 Vienna Open, which will be held from Sept. 24 through Oct. 2 at Plus Bowling, a 32-laner in Vienna, Austria, is the 13th tournament on the 2016 European Bowling Tour and the last EBT “gold” event this season.
For the 14th consecutive year, Bowlingdigital.com will provide onsite coverage of the Vienna Open commencing Thursday, Sept. 29, all the way through to the stepladder finals on Sunday, Oct. 2.
Players will compete for total prize fund of 73.180 Euro – 62.950 € in Singles and 10.230 € in Doubles. The singles champion will walk away with the 7.000 € top prize, the first runner-up earns 5.000 € and the third and fourth-place finishers get 3.500 € and 2.500 €, respectively.
56 players will cash in Singles, which has a last-to-cash payout of 600 Euro. The doubles tournament will pay a 1.600 € first prize and a 20-place prize list (300 € last-to-cash).
Qualifying is traditionally organized as a doubles tournament offering dedicated prize money. Each duo must register to roll at least one six-game block. Unlimited re-entries – with the same partner or with different partners – are allowed. However, each player can cash only once with the same partner.
Qualifying will kick off Saturday, Sept. 24, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 1, with the final Squad 20 slated for 8 p.m. CEST. Qualifying concludes with the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad scheduled for 11.30 p.m.
Women receive eight pins handicap each game (maximum is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.
Total 56 players will qualify for the Vienna Open finals on Sunday, Oct. 2: the top 44 players from the overall qualifying standings (squads 1-20), the highest-positioned player from each of the first eight squads, who is not among the top 44 (total 8 players), and the top 4 players of the Desperado Squad.
The top 8 qualifying leaders receive a first-round bye. The other 48 players bowl six games scratch. The top 22 join the top 8 qualifiers in Round Two.
Those 30 players bowl another six games scratch after which the field is trimmed to the top 18, who carry the pinfall forward into the third round. After another six-game block the top 4 players with the highest 12-game total advance to the stepladder finals.
The No. 4 seed meets the No. 3 in the opening match and the winner takes on the No. 2 seed for the right to bowl the top seed for the title, the 7.000 Euro top prize and 150 European Bowling Tour ranking points (men and women in separate rankings).
The 2016 European Bowling Tour currently consists of 16 tournaments in 11 countries featuring three “Platinum” events, three “Gold”, four “Silver” and six “Satellite” events. All tournaments together offer total prize fund of roughly 850.000 Euro.
The top 50 men and the top 50 women in each event receive ranking points. Those points will be tabulated throughout the season to determine the top 12 men and top 12 women, who will be eligible to compete in the 10th EBT Masters May 29, 2017, at Lovvang Bowling Center in Aalborg, Denmark.
14th Columbia 300 Vienna Open may be the last?
14th Columbia 300 Vienna Open – Tournament Preview
Jesper Svensson wins his fifth career EBT title in 2015 Columbia 300 Vienna Open
2016 EBT Point Rankings by Bowlingdigital – Men and Women
2016 European Bowling Tour Schedule, Champions and Money-breakdown
2016 Vienna Open Singles – Qualifying Standings after Squad 2/20
56 players, including the top 44 qualifiers, the highest-positioned player from each of the first 8 squads who was not among the top 44, and the top 4 from the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.
Doubles – Overall Standings
Singles Squad 1
Doubles Squad 1
Singles Squad 2
Doubles Squad 2