Ulf Lönngren, Christiane Kühn capture the titles at 2012 Belgian Senior Open


    2012 ISBT #8

    Report by Tony Brown

    2012ISBT08ChristianeKuhnUlfLonngren.jpg Ulf Lönngren of Sweden and Germany's Christiane Kühn (pictured left, r-l) captured the men's and women's title at the 2012 Belgian Senior Open, the eighth stop on the 2012 International Seniors Bowling Tour, which was held at the Bowlmaster Club in Brussels, Belgium.

    It was the first title this season for Lönngren and the second for the Swedish men after Jan Nordberg's victory in the Böblingen Senior Open. Kühn, who earned her first career senior title, made it three-in-a-row for Germany in the women's division following in the footprints of compatriots Gisela Insinger and Marianne Pelz, who took the title at the Flanders Senior Open and Schiedam Senior Open, respectively.

    The Belgian Senior Open is a long standing European Seniors event, and this year it attracted 78 men and 29 women. The format for the tournament was a single eight-game qualifying block, with re-entries allowed.

    Unusually for an ISBT event, the qualification scores were carried forwards into the later rounds, so achieving a high qualification score was key to progressing through the tournament. As only five qualifying squads were available, the majority were fully booked with waiting lists before the tournament started.

    Age bonus started at age 51 (1 pin per game), then increased a pin for every additional year of age with no limit. As with all ISBT events, there was a separate division for women. The unusually warm weather was to make conditions tough, with outside temperatures in the mid-30s. Inside the bowl it was a little cooler, particularly in the players area, but it was to prove hard work for many.

    In the very first squad, Bill Goldwasser of Belgium was the leader, with 1732 scratch (1924 with age bonus). He was closely followed by Christian Stefan of Austria and Alsace Senior Open winner Chris Vandamme of Belgium.

    In the same squad, Böblingen Senior Open women's champion Liliane Vintens of Belgium led the women's section with 1575 including bonus. In the next squad, England's Brian Wilkins posted 2028 with bonus for a 238 scratch average and a clear lead. Second place was now taken by fellow English player Al Jenkins on 1786, including the tournaments only 300 in game 4. The women's section was now being led by Kaz Barfoot of England on 1690.

    The third squad late on Friday night saw another good set, this time from Ulf Lönngren with 2020, just eight pins behind the current leader. In this squad, Christiane Kühn stormed into the women's lead with a huge 1752 total. Second place in the women's section was now being taken by Petra Duplois, also of Germany, on 1719.

    Only two squads remained to be bowled on Saturday, and in the first Jenkins improved to 2016, now just a few pins off the lead. In the women's section, Jan Steiner of England posted 1741 to be in touch with the lead, and be sure of qualification.

     The final squad was full of bowlers either looking for a few more pins to improve their position, or trying to make the cut for the next round. In the men's section, Hermann Wimmer of Germany was the squad winner with 1958.

    The men's cut for the top 32 finally fell at 1803 for Plaza Senior Open winner Ron Oldfield of England. The qualifying leader was Wilkins, followed by Lönngren and Jenkins.

    Pictured left are the eight men's finalists. Click on the image to enlarge it.

     In the women's section, Marianne Pelz of Germany moved into second place with 1748, just 4 pins behind the leader Kühn, with Steiner in third place.

    England's Ruth Stander had started the squad well, but despite her 28 bonus pins per game, she faded at the end to finish in a creditable 18th place, just 31 pins off the cut which was Angie Brown on 1561. Brown is the lone multiple winner this season.

    Pictured right are the eight women's finalists. Click on the image to enlarge it.

    Sunday morning saw the 32 qualifying men bowl a further 4 games, with pinfall carrying forward. Not all the bowlers managed to maintain their qualification pace, but Lönngren and Vandamme did to finish the squad in first and second places on 3019 and 2979, with Wilkins just two pins further back in third place. Oldfield also improved, and jumped from 32nd place to 16th over the four games, to make yet another round as the last qualifier.

    The men and women then bowled a further 4 games, again with pinfall carrying forward. Lönngren maintained his position at the top with 3953 over the 16 games, but was now just a handful of pins ahead of Stu Meadus of England, thanks to a 957 scratch four game set.

    The top 8 cut for the final round was 3839, which was a tie between Les Grant of England and Gary Oakley of England. After some delay, Les was confirmed as the last qualifier, based on having the smaller difference between his highest and lowest game.

    In the women's section, Pelz and Kühn maintained their position at the top, with Pelz now taking the lead. The big mover in this squad was Barbara Karnasch of Germany whose 869 block propelled her from 10th to fifth place and into the finals. The final qualifier was Duplois on 2432 followed by a disappointed Vintens, who missed the last cut by just one pin.

    Moving into the final round robin, 50 per cent of the previous total was carried forward. The men's final saw Lönngren lose ground in the first game with a sub-200 game, then in the second game Vandamme came very close to yet another 300, with only a stubborn 10-pin on the last ball defeating him.

    2012ISBT08VandammeLonngrenMeadus.jpg This moved him into the lead, some 50 pins ahead of Lönngren, who bounced back in the third game with a 279 to re-take the lead, and then edged further ahead of VanDamme with games of 208 and 257.

    Over the last two games, Meadus was the big mover, finishing with 257 and 278 to leap past Wimmer finishing in third place. Lönngren continued to bowl big games, and finished up the clear winner by 80 pins from Vandamme.

    L-R Vandamme (2nd), winner Lönngren and Meadus (3rd)

    The women's section started with a huge 289 game for Brigitte Fievet of France, which moved her from fourth to first place. However, she was unable to maintain this pace, and then was slowly overtaken by Pelz and Gisela Insinger of Germany over the next couple of games.

    2012ISBT08KarnaschKuhnFievet.jpg Qualification leader Kühn recovered from a slow start to put in 200+ games and recover the lead after the fourth game, but then a 279 game from Karnasch put her clearly ahead after the fifth game.

    However, Kühn, a long-time member of the German national team and multiple German champion, finished strongly with 256 and 238 to become the champion ahead of Karnasch, with Fievet recovering her earlier form to finish strongly in a clear third place.

    L-R Karnasch (2nd), winner Kühn and Fievet (3rd)

    The next stop is a return to France and Planet Bowling in Lomme for the French Senior Open from the 19th to 23rd September 2012.


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    2012 Belgian Senior Open - Men's Finals




    2012 Belgian Senior Open - Men's Round Three

    The top 8 advance to the finals.



    2012 Belgian Senior Open - Men's Round Two

    The top 16 advance to the third round.



    2012 Belgian Senior Open - Women's Round Two

    The top 8 advance to the finals.



    2012 Belgian Senior Open - Men's Qualifying

    The top 32 players advance to the second round.



    2012 Belgian Senior Open - Women's Qualifying

    The top 16 players advance to the second round.