Knutar refuses to fall; leads Brunswick Ballmaster Open after first weekend


    2010 European Bowling Tour #1

    Four squad leaders atop the 221-player field

    2010EBT01MattiKnutar.jpg2010EBT01VeliMattiTissarinen.jpgMatti Knutar (pictured left),leads the qualifying in the Brunswick Ballmaster Open, the first of two EBT Platinum events in the 2010 season, after the first weekend at Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland. The young Finn used high games of 299 and 279 to lead the under-24 youth squad (#1) with 1416 6-game total and an average of 236.

    With four out of 15 qualifying squads in books, the four squad leaders sit atop the 221-player field. Veli-Matti Tissarinen (right) finished Squad 4 on Sunday evening with 233, 235, 256 and 248 to shoot into second place with 1388.

    2010EBT01VilleHaggman1.jpg2010EBT01JesseLindholm.jpgSquad 2 leader Jesse Lindholm (right) fell one spot to third place with 1379. Rounding out the top 4 is Ville Häggman (left), who led Squad 3 on Sunday afternoon with 1362.

    Defending champion and 3-time Ballmaster Open winner Pasi Uotila currently has a high series of 1343, good for 6th place. Reija Lundén is the top-ranked woman in the field in 12th place with 1329 including 48 pins handicap, a standard for women on the European Bowling Tour.

    Tournament organizer and two-time Ballmaster winner Kimmo Lehtonen finished Squad 4 with back-to-back 250s to move into 16th place in the overall standings with 1322.

    Darya Kovalova, Ukraine, is the second-best woman and the best non-Finnish bowler in the field in 22nd place with 1297 including handicap. Matti Lepistö holds the 44th and final place to advance with 1247 (207.83 avg.).

    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 back 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 Wednesday, Jan. 6, with Squads 5 and 6 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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    Brunswick Ballmaster Open - Qualifying Standings after Squad 4/15

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