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Barry Foley takes early lead in 29th Irish Open Championships


Twenty-three players, 17 men and six women, from England, Lithuania
Northern Ireland, United States and the host country Ireland kicked off the 29th edition of the Irish Open Championships in association with Storm Sunday afternoon at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin.

Barry Foley (pictured) of Ireland averaged 236.83 for six games to take the early lead in the second European Bowling Tour event this season with 1421 total. Foley had games of 239, 223, 225, 247, 278 and 209.

Miles Corney of England was 115 pins back in second place with 1306, including a 255 opening game. Alan Bride of Ireland was further 64 pins behind in third place with 1242.

Amanda Larkin of Ireland, who won the women’s ranking in the Irish Open in the past two years, was best woman in fourth place with 1214, including 48 pins handicap, a standard for women on the European Bowling Tour.

The top six players in a separate standing of squads 1-4 will earn automatic berths into the finals in case they don’t finish among the top 53 in the overall qualifying standings. If any of the top 6 finish in the top 53, the automatic spot goes to the seventh qualifier and so on.

Qualifying takes a two-day break and will continue on Wednesday, January 18, with squads 2 and 3 scheduled to start at 5.15 and 9.15 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The 29th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm is the second tournament on the 2017 European Bowling Tour and the first of four “EBT Satellite” events this season, the lowest of five EBT tournament categories.

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 5.000 Euro going to the winner, 2.500 to the runner-up and 1.500 and 1.250 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively.

Low to cash is 32nd 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 as well as extra prizes for the top woman and the top 4 seniors (must be born on Jan. 1, 1967, or earlier), who have their own shoot-out finale.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) starts on Sunday, Jan. 15, and concludes Saturday, Jan. 21, with squad 14 followed by the ultimate 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 of 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 earn 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 5.000 Euro top prize.

The 2017 European Bowling Tour features 11 tournaments in 9 countries including two “Platinum”, two “Gold”, three “Bronze” and four “Satellite” events (no silver tournament this season), which offer total prize fund of roughly 500.000 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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29th Irish Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 1/14

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

Herbert Bickel

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