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Vasilis Stefopoulos takes over lead in Sofia International Open

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After a sluggish start to the day, Vasilis Stefopoulos of Greece put together an impressive five-games series in the second squad Sunday (sixth overall) at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria, to take the lead in the qualifying of the 8th Sofia International Open 2017.

Stefopoulos (pictured above), who started out with 157, added games of 212, 236, 277, 226 and 204 for 1312, an average of 218.67 over six games, to leap one spot and to overtake day one leader Mehmet Kaya (right) of Turkey by five pins. Kaya slipped to second place with 1307 and was the only other player in the 108-player field from 13 countries who surpassed the 1300-mark on the first weekend.

Squad 7 leader Roman Ilyin (left) of Ukraine had five games between 237 and 210 and a low game of 177 to jump into third place with 1294. The top Bulgarian bowler, Georgi Dimov (below right), slipped one spot to fourth place with 1266.

Squad 8 leader Daiji Yuzuriha, one of four bowlers from Peru, and Bogdan Obada of Romania moved into a three-way tie with Henrik Jensen of Denmark at 1255. Jensen (211) sits in fifth place with Yuzuriha (195) sixth and Obada (183) seventh due to the highest-last-game rule, which shall be used to break the ties in qualifying.

Hristo Georgiev of Bulgaria (8th, 1252), Zoran Banjac of Croatia (left; 9th, 1251) and Georgos Stefanidis of Greece (19th, 1239) fell two spots and round out the top 10.

Mariana Meteksinova of Bulgaria leaped into 13th place with 1221, including handicap, to become the best of 16 women in the field. Her fellow countrywoman Marina Stefanova, who led squad 5 with 1200 on the nose, sits in 17th place.

With 8 out of 35 squads in the books, the score to make the cut in 44th place was 1128 or an average of 188.00, set by Sezai Ucyol of Turkey.

Qualifying continues Monday, Oct. 23, with squads 9-12 scheduled to start at 10 a.m., 2, 6 and 9.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET).

The 8th Sofia International Open 2017, a popular but non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 21-29 at bowling center Joy Station, a 20-laner in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. The tournament offers total prize fund of 55.000 Euro with 7.000 Euro going to the winner and a last-to-cash payout of 350 Euro for 56th place.

Qualifying of the Sofia Open starts on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST), and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, with the final squad 35 scheduled for 9.30 p.m. Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300).

Total 56 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, Oct. 29, including top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad. Top 8 qualifiers will earn two byes and qualifiers 9-16 receive a first-round bye.

The other 40 players will advance to the first of four 4-game rounds (rounds 1-3 starting from scratch). The field will be trimmed to 36, 20, and then 10 players who will determine the finalists in the last four-game round with the pinfall from Round 3 being carried forward. The top 4 after eight games will bowl for the title in a traditional stepladder final.

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Top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

Author: Herbert Bickel
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