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Dutch Patrick Meka takes over qualifying lead in Irish Open Championships

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Patrick Meka of the Netherlands averaged over 240 in Wednesday afternoon at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin to lead squad 2 and to take the top spot in the qualifying of the 30th Anniversary Irish Open, in association with Storm.

Meka (pictured right and above) started with a low game of 205, then added 234, 244, 257, 258 and 245 for 1443 total and an average of 240.50 for six games. All 14 squad leaders receive a 100 Euro bonus.

Previous leader Alan Bride (left) of Ireland slipped to second place. Bride, who led squad 1 with 1426, improved by four pins in squad 3 to lead his second squad and to earn his second bonus with 1430 total, including games of 267, 247, 213, 222, 225 and 256, an average of 238.33.

Another four player of squad 2 were within 30 pins of Bride to move into third to sixth place in the overall qualifying standings. Meka’s compatriot Elco Gortor and Irishman Stephen O’Connor also reached the 1400-plateau to take third and fourth place with 1409 and 1405, respectively.

Matthew Clayton of England took fifth place with 1395 and Auke Broekhuizen, Netherlands was sixth with 1390.

Places 7-9 belonged to squad 3 bowlers James Wigmore of England (1380) and Finns Teemu Putkisto and Olli-Pekka Pajari, who tied at 1377. Putkisto had the higher last game which breaks the tie, 264 to 159.

Aidan Byrne (right) started squad 2 with 12 consecutive strikes for the first perfect game of the 30th anniversary edition of the tournament. He received high performance bowling ball for accomplishing the feat. Byrne added five games between 223 and 194 to round out the top 10 after the second qualifying day with 1365.

Colm Cloake of Ireland, who was second after squad 1 with 1348, dropped to 14th place. His fellow countrywoman Sarah Flannery (left) is the best of five women in the 59-player field from 11 countries with 1341 total, including 48 pins handicap.

Qualifying commences Thursday, January 18 with squads 4-7 scheduled to start at 9 a.m., noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The 30th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm is the third tournament on the 2018 European Bowling Tour and the first of three “EBT Satellite” events this season, the lowest of five EBT tournament categories (platinum, gold, silver, bronze and satellite).

The Irish Open takes place from January 15-22 at 18-lane Leisureplex Stillorgan (pictured above) in Dublin, Ireland, and offers total prize money of 20.000 Euro with 4.000 Euro going to the winner, 2.000 to the runner-up and 1.500 and 1.250 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively.

Low to cash is 36th place, worth 120 Euro. The tournament also offers a high performance bowling ball for the first 300 game, high game awards for men and women, extra prizes for the top woman and the top 4 seniors (must be born on Jan. 1, 1968, or earlier) as well as a 100 Euro bonus for each of the 14 squad winners.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) started on Sunday, Jan. 14, and concludes Saturday, Jan. 20, with squad 14 followed by the one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7.30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (up to 292 – maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Total 62 athletes will advance to the finals, including the top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing including squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top four qualifiers receive two byes while qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye. The remaining 54 finalists bowl three games, starting from scratch, with the top 28 advancing to the second round.

32 players bowl another three-game block, starting from scratch, after which the field is cut to the top 12. Those 12, seeded 5-16, and the top four qualifiers, seeded 1-4, bowl four rounds of single-elimination match play with the two-game total determining the winner.

In each round, the highest seeded player bowls the lowest seeded player, the second highest seeded player bowls the second lowest seeded player, and so on. The field is trimmed to eight, four and then two players who bowl for the title and the 4.000 Euro top prize.

The 2018 European Bowling Tour features 13 tournaments in 10 countries including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, three “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which will offer total prize fund of more than 560.000 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 8 men and top 8 women, who will be eligible to compete in the 12th EBT Masters July 8, 2019 at Bowling Chamartín in Madrid, Spain.

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2018 Irish Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 3/14

Top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-4 and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad advance to the finals. The top four qualifiers receive two byes, qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye.


300 games (1) – Aidan Byrne.

Author: Herbert Bickel
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