PBA champ Mike Fagan powers his way into the lead in Helsinki


    2010 European Bowling Tour #1

    Swede Ken Wahlgren rolls the first 300 game of the tournament

    200910PBAMikeFagan.jpg2009BWCMartinLarsen.jpgPBA champion and two-time EBT winner Mike Fagan (pictured left), United States, fired a huge 1572 series, an average of 262 over six games, to rocket into the lead in the qualifying of the Brunswick Ballmaster Open Thursday afternoon at Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland.

    Fagan, who has won two of the biggest European tournaments, the Viernheim Open in Germany and the Brunswick Euro Challenge in France, powered his way into the lead with games of 279, 224, 278, 279, 244 and 268.

    Swedish standout Martin Larsen (right), a 3-time World Champion, finished Squad 7 with 801 for the last three games (258, 298, 245) to jump into second place in the overall standings with 1505 (250.83).

    Third place in the squad and overall belonged to Finn Jari Ratia, who improved his score to 1469 (244.83) featuring six games between 266 and 225.

    2010EBT01ToniPalermaa.jpg2009EBT14OskuPalermaa.jpgPrevious leader Toni Palermaa (left) fell three spots to fourth place with 1454. His older brother, two-hander Osku Palermaa (right), Finland, had the fourth-best 1445 total in Squad 7 to move right behind his brother in fifth place.

    Johan Helldén, Sweden, also cracked the top 10 with 1380 (230.00), good for 8th place overall.

    Singapore's Cherie Tan is the best female bowler in the field and one of two women among the top 44 with 1379 pinfall total including 48 pins handicap, a standard for women on the European Bowling Tour. Reija Lundén, Finland, is the other in 28th place with 1329.

    With 368 players in the books (registered are more than 500 players and over 1,000 entries), former World Games and World Cup champion Kai Virtanen, Finland, is the "man on the bubble" in 44th place with 1300 and an average of 216.67.

    Swede Karl Wahlgren became the first player who rolled a 300 game when he accomplished the feat in the second game. Wahlgren's five other games ranged from 172 to 209 and he had to settle for 56th place with 1281.

    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 Thursday, Jan. 7, with Squad 8 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 was 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 7/15

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