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Nobuhito Fujii wins Shimonoseki Royal Cup from top seed

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Top seeded Nobuhito Fujii of Tokyo defeated Kenta Morimoto of Aichi in the title match of the Shimonoseki Royal Cup 2017, 215-196, to win his fourth career Japan Professional Bowling Association title and the second this season at Shimonoseki Royal Bowl in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.

The 30-year-old right-hander (left, and above with the trophy), who has won the JPBA point rankings twice, including in his rookie season in 2013, started the championship match with four spares and a double to trail Morimoto by three pins heading into the last four frames.

Second seeded Morimoto (right), a 22-year-old southpaw, who won his second career JPBA title in the Round1 Cup in June, alternated strikes and spares in frames one through four and matched Fujii’s double in frames five and six.

Both players matched each other shot for shot through the next two frames (single-pin spare and a strike), before a 2-4-7-8-10 split from Morimoto in the ninth frame, which resulted in an open, gave Fujii the opportunity to take the title and 800.000 Japanese Yen top prize (roughly $7,105) with another strike in his ninth frame.

The Shimonoseki Royal Cup 2017 Pro-Am Bowling Tournament was held Sept. 23-24 at Shimonoseki Royal Bowl (Yamaguchi Prefecture) and drew 239 players, 73 professionals and 166 amateurs, 125 men and 41 women, who bowled in separate divisions.

All players bowled eight games of qualifying to cut to 32 professionals and 40 amateurs who determined the five players for the stepladder finals in a six-game semi-final round. The professionals bowled for total prize fund of three million Yen (approx. $26,650).

In the opening match of the pro bowlers stepladder final, fifth seeded Hiroya Tazawa, 30, of Fukuoka, who was aiming for his first JPBA title, ousted four-time champion Shinichiro Tamai, 42, of Fukuoka, 222-210.

Both players had a double, a four-bagger and one open in the first eight frames. Tamai (right), whose last title came in 2010, failed to convert the 3-10 baby split in his ninth frame which sealed his fate.

The second match between Tazawa and third seeded Kenichi Kadokawa (left), 33, of Tokyo was close throughout as neither player led by more than 14 pins before Kadokawa closed with six consecutive strikes to advance to the semi-final match with a 240-206 victory.

However, back-to-back open frames at the beginning of his semi-final match against Morimoto signaled the beginning of the end for Kadokawa. When he was unable to come up with the spare conversion of the 4-9 split in the seventh frame, giving Morimoto coasted to a 222-204 win.

Morimoto finished second with a ¥420.000 paycheck. Kadokawa earned ¥230.000 for finishing third. Tazawa made ¥180.000 for his fourth place finish and Tamai placed fifth, earning ¥150.000.

Top seeded Nobuya Shinohara (left) started out the title match of the amateur stepladder final commandingly, by connecting for the first four strikes, and never looked back as he cruised to a 224-196 victory over fellow Hiroshima resident Seisuke Sasaki (right).

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Shimonoseki Royal Cup 2017 – Stepladder Finals

Shimonoseki Royal Bowl in Yamaguchi, Japan (September 23-24, 2017)

Championship Round:
1. Nobuhito Fujii, Tokyo, 215 (1 game), ¥800.000
2. Kenta Morimoto, Aichi, 418 (2 games), ¥420.000
3. Kenichi Kadokawa, Tokyo, 444 (2 games), ¥230.000
4. Hiroya Tazawa, Fukuoka, 428 (2 games), ¥180.000
5. Shinichiro Tamai, Fukuoka, 210 (1 game), ¥150.000

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 5 Tazawa def. No. 4 Tamai, 222-210
Second Match: No. 3 Kadokawa def. Tazawa, 240-206
Semi-final Match: No. 2 Morimoto def. Kadokawa, 222-204
Championship: No. 1 Fujii def. Morimoto, 215-196.

Shimonoseki Royal Cup 2017 – Amateur Stepladder Finals

Shimonoseki Royal Bowl in Yamaguchi, Japan (September 23-24, 2017)

Championship Round:
1. Nobuya Shinohara, Hiroshima, 224 (1 game)
2. Seisuke Sasaki, Hiroshima, 382 (2 games)
3. Miwa Watanabe, 574 (3 games)
4. Masayuki Fujimura, 179 (1 game)
5. Shintaro Sekiya, 185 (1 game)

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 4 Watanabe def. No. 5 Sekiya, 214-185
Second Match: Watanabe def. No. 3 Fujimura, 206-179
Semi-final Match: No. 2 Sasaki def. Watanabe, 186-154
Championship: No. 1 Shinohara def. Sasaki, 224-196.

Author: Herbert Bickel
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