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Jari Ratia, Reija Lundén move into top 6 at Ballmaster Open

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Jari Ratia and Reija Lundén of Finland led the second day of qualifying at Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland, to move into the top 6 in the overall standings of the 47th Brunswick Ballmaster Open.

Ratia (right) became the third player who surpassed the 1400-mark after leading squad 4 with 1411 total and an average of 235.17, including games of 203, 245, 224, 269, 245 and 225. He jumped into third place trailing only to Juho Rissanen and Juhani Tonteri, who held onto the lead with 1467 and 1442, respectively.

Two-time Ballmaster Open champion Kimmo Lehtonen (2002 and ’07) and three-time winner Pasi Uotila (2000, ’04 and ’09) fell one spot to fourth and fifth place with 1397 and 1394, resp.

Lundén (left) was the best of 22 women in the 222-field from four countries, 212 bowlers from Finland and 10 from Estonia, Lithuania and Russia, with 1356 total, including eight pins handicap each game. Lundén had games of 245, 189, 207, 216, 255 and 196 for 1308 scratch, a 218.00 average.

The top 6 from a separate leaderboard of the first eight squads will earn automatic berths into the finals if they don’t finish in the top 44 in the overall qualifying standings.

Finnish coach Sami Konsteri was third in squad 4 with 1348, good for eighth place. Lassi Aalto (right) paced the mid-day (first) qualifying squad on Saturday (third overall) with 1315, including high games of 259 and 249, to finish the day in 14th place.

Photos Seija Lankinen.

With four out of 16 squads in the books, Finnish bowlers hold the top 27 places. Kert Truus of Estonia was the best foreign bowler in 28th place after posting a 1274 series in squad 3. Truus had four games between 2004 and 208, a high game of 255 and a low game of 196.

Jukka Savolainen of Finland holds the 44th and last place to advance from the overall qualifying standings with 1222, a 203.67 average.

Qualifying continues on Sunday, January 8, with squads 5 and 6 scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET).

The Brunswick Ballmaster Open, the season-opening event on the European Bowling Tour, will be held from January 6-15 at 36-lane Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland.

The BBO is one of two “EBT Platinum” events this season, the highest of five EBT categories, and offers total prize money of 100.300 Euro, including all extra prizes, with 12.000 Euro going to the winner, 8.000 to the runner-up and 5.000 and 4.000 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively. Low to cash is 54th place, worth 1.000 Euro.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) begins Friday, Jan. 6, with squads 1 & 2 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 14, with squad 16 followed by the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET).

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

Total 54 players – the top 44 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-9 who are not among the top 44 and the top 4 from the Desperado Squad – qualify for the finals.

All 54 finalists bowl two blocks of five games with the top 12 advancing to round robin match play. Those 12 bowl further 11 games of round robin match play (no position round) with the previous pinfall total carried over. During match play, players receive 30 bonus pins for winning a match and 15 pins each in the event of a tie.

The top 4 players after 21 games including bonus pins determine the champion in a traditional stepladder final. The No. 4 seed meets the No. 3 in the opening match. The winner takes on the No. 2 seed for the right to bowl the top seed for the title.

The 2017 European Bowling Tour features 12 tournaments in 10 countries including two “Platinum”, three “Gold”, three “Bronze” and four “Satellite” events (no silver tournament this season), which offer total prize fund of 574.000 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 11th EBT Masters in February 2018 in Tilburg, Netherlands.

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Top 44 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-9 who are not among the top 44 and the top 4 from the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Author: Herbert Bickel
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