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Four players crack the top 5 in 48th Brunswick Ballmaster Open

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The leaderboard at the 48th Brunswick Ballmaster Open got a whole new look Friday as four players moved into the top 5 in Friday’s Squads 11 and 12.

Shayna Ng (right) of Singapore continued to lead the 545-player field, 455 men and 90 women from 24 countries, with 1497 total, including 8 pins handicap per game, an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Joonas Jähi (pictured above) of Finland averaged almost 250 in the first squad Friday, 11th overall, at Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland, but fell just one pin short of the lead in second place with 1496. Jähi, who won his lone European Bowling Tour title back in 2005, had games of 211, 259, 257, 279, 222 and 268.

2012 Ballmaster Open champion Bill O’Neill (left), United States, who owns two EBT titles along with eight Professional Bowlers Association titles, was just two pins behind Jähi with 1494, including high games of 280 and 279.

One-time EBT titlist Martin Paulsson (right) of Sweden closed squad 12 with a perfect game to tie O’Neill at 1494 and push him back to fourth place as the higher last game breaks the tie (300 to 245). Paulsson started his set with 234, 234, 227, 268 and 231.

Paulsson’s compatriot James Gruffman (left), also a one-time winner on the Tour, used a pair of 278 games for 1485 to jump into fifth place in the overall standings.

With the final three squads to go on Saturday, it takes an average of more than 240 to make the top 12, who will bypass the first round of the finals. Santtu Tahvanainen of Finland is the man on the bubble with 1445 (240.83).

Filip Wilhelmsson (right), Sweden, led the last squad on Friday with 1416 to finish the penultimate qualifying day in 27th place.

There were three 300 games on Friday, one in each squad. Tomas Käyhkö (left; photo Pekka Korpi) of Finland had the first when he followed a 279 in game two in squad 11 with the fourth perfecto of the tournament, but could not match the pace in the last three games and sits in 50th place with 1379.

Matias Luosujärvi of Finland started squad 13 with three games under 200 before he brought the number of 300 games to six. He finished with 202 and 200 for 1224 to sit in 176th place with 1224.

Glenn Morten Pedersen (right) of Norway holds the 40th and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1391 or an average of 231.83.

Paulsson (left) made the most out of his perfecto winning a 1.000 Euro bonus in the so-called 250eXtra roll-off Friday evening, including all players who bowled 250 or higher in squads 1-13. Paulsson defeated PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, 10-9, in the finale.

Qualifying commences Saturday, January 13 with squads 14, 15 and 16 scheduled to start at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. and concludes with the Desperado Squad slated for 7 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET).

Photos courtesy of Seija Lankinen.

The 48th Brunswick Ballmaster Open will be held from January 5-14 at 36-lane Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, the capital and largest city of Finland. Other than last year, when the BBO was a “platinum” level tournament, the 48th edition of the prestigious event is one of two “gold” events this season, the second highest of five EBT categories (satellite, bronze, silver, gold and platinum).

The BBO offers total prize money of 83.700 Euro, including all extra prizes, with 10.000 Euro going to the winner, 6.000 Euro to the runner-up and 4.000 Euro apiece to the third and fourth place finishers. Low to cash is 48th place, worth 800 Euro.

The tournament offers 3.000 Euro for the first 300 game, or for the highest game if there will be no 300 game.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) begins Friday, Jan. 5, with squads 1 & 2 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 13, with squad 16 followed by the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET).

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 48 players, including the top 40 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 2 from a separate leaderboard of squads 9-10 and the top 3 of squads 1-8, who are not among the top 40 plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad, qualify for the finals. The top 12 qualifiers receive a first-round bye.

The other 36 finalists bowl six games starting from scratch with the top 24 advancing to the second round. Those 24 join the top 12 qualifiers to bowl eight games starting from scratch.

The top 16 players will be seeded into two groups according to their positions: Group A (1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 16) and Group B (2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14 and 15). Round 2 pins carry over. The group phase features seven games of round robin match play (no position round). During match play, players receive 30 bonus pins for winning a match and 15 pins each in the event of a tie.

The 15-game totals, including all bonus pins, will determine the top two players in each group who advance to the semi-finals (B1 vs. A2 and A1 vs. B2). The semi-final winners will bowl for the title (all one-game head-to-head matches).

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 Brunswick Ballmaster Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 13/16

Top 40 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 2 from a separate leaderboard of squads 9-10 and the top 3 of squads 1-8, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals. The top 12 qualifiers will receive a first-round bye.

300 games (6) – Timi Taalas, Lauri Sipilä, Timmy Tan, Tomas Käyhkö, Martin Paulsson, Matias Luosujärvi.

Herbert Bickel

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