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1597 series propels Francois Louw into the qualifying lead in San Marino

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Francois Louw of South Africa put together a huge six-game series in squad 9 Wednesday afternoon at Rose’n Bowl in Serravalle to catapult himself to the top of the qualifying standings in the Storm San Marino Open with a 1597, a 266.17 average.

Louw (featured photo), whose biggest international title was the victory in the Kingdom International Open 2015 in Saudi Arabia, fired games of 247, 270, 290, 236, 300 (the fourth perfecto of the tournament) and 254 to vault past Valentin Saulnier (left) of France, who slipped to second place with 1573 (262.17).

The qualifying winner will receive a 1.000 Euro bonus.

Other members of the 1500-club are Italians Nicola Pongolini (right) and Antonino Fiorentino (left), who fell to third and fourth place with 1522 and 1515, respectively. Fifth and sixth place belonged to Swedes Robin Persson and Markus Jansson with 1490 and 1479, resp.

Squad 10 leader Kamron Doyle (right), USA, rolled games of 242, 279, 241, 259, 210 and 248 to tie Jansson at 1479. Doyle ranks seventh due to Jansson’s higher last game (269-248) which breaks the tie.

Doyle is sandwiched between Jansson and his compatriot Karl Wahlgren, who was second to Louw with 1475. Wahlgren’s fellow countryman James Gruffman (left), like Jansson a one-time European Bowling Tour champion, was second in squad 10 with 1448 after closing his set with 269 and 277. He moved into ninth place overall.

Rounding out the top 10 was Ed Smaglik, USA, with 1445 and an average of 240.83.

Anton Ahlgren (right), also of Sweden, led the third squad on Wednesday, 11th overall, with 1433, including games of 203, 226, 266, 267, 225 and 246, to leap into 12th place.

Jenny Wegner (left) of Sweden and Wendy Bartaire Jimenez of France totaled 1325 in squad 9 and 10, respectively, to become the best of 16 women in the 127-player field from 21 countries. Bartaire (below right) sits in 27th place and Wegner is 28th (235 to 225 in Bartaire’s favor).

The score to make the cut in 35th place surpassed the 1300-mark. Mauro Montanari of Italy is the man “on the bubble” with 1303, an average of 217.17.

Qualifying continues Thursday, July 12, with squads 12, 13 and 14 scheduled to start at noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The Storm San Marino Open is the 7th stop of the 2018 European Bowling Tour and the second and last EBT “Gold” tournaments this season. Francois Lavoie of Canada is the defending champion.

The 14th edition will be held July 7-15 at 18-lane Rose’n Bowl in Serravalle, San Marino and offers total prize fund of 62.100 Euro with 8.000 Euro going to the winner, 5.000 to the runner-up, 3.300 to the third and 2.400 to the fourth place finisher.

Qualifying of the San Marino Open (six-game series, unlimited re-entries) runs from Saturday, July 7, through Saturday, July 14, with the last qualifying squad 20 scheduled for 7 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). The qualifying winner will receive a 1.000 Euro bonus.

Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300) throughout the entire tournament, a standard for women on the European Bowling Tour. The top three women based on the final standings will receive 500, 350 and 200 Euro bonuses, respectively.

Total 48 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, July 15, including the top 35 qualifiers plus the top 3 each from the squads conducted on July 7 & 8 and 9 & 10, the top 4 from the squads conducted on July 11 & 12, and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top 8 qualifiers receive two byes and qualifiers 9-16 get a first-round bye. The other 32 players will bowl four games from scratch to cut to the top 16, who will meet qualifiers 9-16 in the second round. Those 24 bowl another four games from scratch to cut to the top 10, who will join the top eight in the last six-game round before the cut to the top 4.

The four finalists will determine the winner in an eliminator-format finals which will feature three one-game rounds. All four players bowl the opening game, with the lowest-scoring player being eliminated. In the two rounds to follow, the same “low man out” format applies, with pinfall carrying over. The last player standing will be declared the champion.

The 2018 European Bowling Tour features 12 tournaments in 10 countries including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, two “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which offer total prize fund of roughly 625.000 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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14th Storm San Marino Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 11/20

Total 48 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, July 15, including the top 35 qualifiers plus the top 3 each from the squads conducted on July 7 & 8 and 9 & 10, the top 4 from the squads conducted on July 11 & 12, and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

300 games (4) – Artemii Zubkov, Valentin Saulnier, Robin Persson, Francois Louw.

Herbert Bickel

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