Matti Knutar sets the pace in Brunswick Ballmaster Open after Day One Qualifying


    2010 European Bowling Tour #1

    Finnish youth bowler starts the tournament with a 299 game

    2010EBT01MattiKnutar.jpgThe Brunswick Ballmaster Open kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 2, with the first two out of 15 qualifying squads at Tali Bowling Center, a 36-laner in Helsinki, Finland. Matti Knutar (pictured left) from Finland set the pace in the EBT Platinum event after the first day with 1416 six-game total and an average of 236.

    Knutar was one of 71 youth bowlers (under 24 years of age) who registered for squad 1 (former Finnish international Tony Laine filled the last spot) but did not pay the 50 Euro 300-eXtra entry fee which offers a chance to receive up to 10.000 Euro for a perfect game.

    However, Knutar came out off the gates quickly with the front eleven before he left a 6-pin on his last ball for 299. "Of course I have not deliberately thrown a bad ball," Knutar said afterwards. "If the 6-pin would have fallen, I'd probably starts to grease the rope," he chuckled.

    Knutar's next game was a 181 but he rebounded with a 279 and closed out the series with 203, 216 and 238 to take a commanding lead with Miro Pikkarainen a distant second with 1339.

    2010EBT01JesseLindholm.jpgJesse Lindholm (pictured right) used five games between 234and 245 to lead Squad 2 and to move into second place in the overall qualifying standings with 1379 and an average of 229.83. Defending champion and 3-time Ballmaster Open winner Pasi Uotila was 26 pins behind to leap into third place with 1343.

    Pikkarainen finished the first qualifying day in fourth place with Mika Oksanen in fifth at 1337. Long-time Finnish national team member Reija Lundén is the top-ranked woman in the field in 6th place with 1329 including 48 pins handicap, a standard for women on the European Bowling Tour.

    With 133 players in the books, Mikko Metso holds the 44th and final place to advance with 1178 (196.33). The top non-Finnish bowler on Saturday was Stepan Polyansky, Russia, in 69th place with 1145.

    2010BallmasterOpenBanner.jpg The 40th Brunswick Ballmaster Open will be held from Saturday, Jan. 2 through Sunday Jan. 10 at the 36-lane Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland. Pasi Uotila, Finland, is the defending champion. Norwegian Tore Torgersen was the last non-Finnish winner in 1996.

    About 500 players will compete for increased total prize money of 105.000 Euro or approximately 150.000 USD. The champion will walk away with the 15.000 Euro top prize. In addition the Ballmaster offers a 10.000 Euro extra prize for a 300-game.

    Qualifying continues on Sunday, Jan. 3, with Squads 3 and 4 and runs through Saturday Jan. 9 with the final qualifying squad scheduled for 8pm. The ultimate one-game Desperado Squad will conclude the qualifying at 11.30pm. Women will receive 8 pins handicap each game.

    Squad 1 was reserved youth bowlers, who must not have reached the age of 24 on Jan. 2, and Squad 5 is reserved for senior bowlers, who must have reached the age of 50 on Jan. 6.

    A total of 48 players - the top 44 from the overall qualifying standings plus the top 4 from the Desperado Squad - will qualify for the finals on Sunday, Jan. 10. No byes are given in this tournament.

    The finals will be contested in a format similar to the old PBA tournaments. All 48 finalists will bowl 8 games starting from scratch to cut to the top 16 who will advance to match play portion. Those 16 will bowl 15 games of round robin match play plus one game position round with the pinfall of Round 1 being carried forward to determine the top 4 players for 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 15.000 Euro top prize and 250 ranking points. (Note: The winner of a Satellite tournament gets 50, the winner of a Silver tournament gets 100, and the winner of a Gold tournament gets 150 ranking points.)


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    The top 44 qualifiers plus the top 4 from the Desperado Squad will qualify for the finals on Sunday, Jan. 10.