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Barry Foley powers his way into the lead in Irish Open


Barry Foley of Ireland became the first player in the 30th edition of the Irish Open Tenpin Bowling Championships 2018 who surpassed the 1500-mark to take the lead in the European Bowling Tour “satellite” event Thursday at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin.

Foley (pictured right and above), who won the tournament in 2013, rebounded from a slow start (186) with games of 269, 259, 238, 300 and 257 to lead the 137-player field from 15 countries with 1509 and an average of 251.50. Foley’s perfecto was one of three 300 games on Thursday and the fourth overall.

Squad 4 leader Steve Gastmans (left) of Belgium used high games of 268 and 266 and a pair of 258 games to finish the third day of qualifying in second place with 1469. Previous leaders Patrick Meka of the Netherlands and Alan Bride of Ireland slipped to third and fourth place with 1443 and 1430, respectively.

Professional Bowlers Association champion Anthony Simonsen (right), United States, led the last squad on Saturday (#7) with 1426, including a 290 in game 2, to move into fifth place in the overall standings.

Teemu Putkisto, who of Finland paced squad 5 with 1417, sits in sixth place. Putkisto had the second 300 of the tournament in game 3. Paul McCauley (below right) of Northern Ireland posted the third one game later on his way to a 1333 total (29th place).

Sarah Flannery of Ireland is the best of 20 women in the field in 27th place with 1341 total, including 48 pins handicap. Lauren Dugan of Northern Ireland holds the 53rd and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1262 and an average of 210.33, including handicap.

Qualifying commences Friday, January 19 with squads 8-11 scheduled to start at 8 a.m., noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The 30th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm is the third tournament on the 2018 European Bowling Tour and the first of three “EBT Satellite” events this season, the lowest of five EBT tournament categories (platinum, gold, silver, bronze and satellite).

The Irish Open takes place from January 15-22 at 18-lane Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin, Ireland, and offers total prize money of 20.000 Euro with 4.000 Euro going to the winner, 2.000 to the runner-up and 1.500 and 1.250 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively.

Low to cash is 36th place, worth 120 Euro. The tournament also offers a high performance bowling ball for the first 300 game, high game awards for men and women, extra prizes for the top woman and the top 4 seniors (must be born on Jan. 1, 1968, or earlier) as well as a 100 Euro bonus for each of the 14 squad winners.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) started on Sunday, Jan. 14, and concludes Saturday, Jan. 20, with squad 14 followed by the one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7.30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

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 62 athletes will advance to the finals, including the top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing including squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top four qualifiers receive two byes while qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye. The remaining 54 finalists bowl three games, starting from scratch, with the top 28 advancing to the second round.

32 players bowl another three-game block, starting from scratch, after which the field is cut to the top 12. Those 12, seeded 5-16, and the top four qualifiers, seeded 1-4, bowl four rounds of single-elimination match play with the two-game total determining the winner.

In each round, the highest seeded player bowls the lowest seeded player, the second highest seeded player bowls the second lowest seeded player, and so on. The field is trimmed to eight, four and then two players who bowl for the title and the 4.000 Euro top prize.

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 Irish Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 7/14

Top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-4 and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad advance to the finals. The top four qualifiers receive two byes, qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye.

300 games (4) – Aidan Byrne, Teemu Putkisto, Paul McCauley, Barry Foley.

Herbert Bickel