Sabine Leutwiler, Harry Mickelson claim the titles in Alsace Senior Open 50+


    2015 ISBT #3



    Sabine Leutwiler of Switzerland and American Harry Mickelson (pictured, l-r) claimed the women's and men's titles in the Alsace Senior Open 50+, which concluded Sunday, April 12, at Cristal Bowling in Wittelsheim, France.

    89 men and 20 women took part in the third stop on the 2015 International Seniors Bowling Tour. The format for the tournament was two blocks of six games qualifying with the lowest block optionally being replaced by a better re-entry score.

    For those not able to qualify through the main leaderboard, there were additional opportunities through Turbo games and a Desperado Squad. 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 ladies.

    To encourage bowlers to participate in the earlier squads, for the first time, an extra prize fund was included based on the standings at the end of Friday qualifying. The three highest men and women at that time would receive additional prize money.

    The opening squad on Thursday lunchtime saw American Ed Roberts take an early lead with a strong 1483 six game block including age bonus, just ahead of Alain Aubert of France.

    Top woman was Lisbeth Neilson of Denmark with 1153. In the second squad, scoring was not as high for the men, with Andre Phillippe, France, winning with 1308. Belgium's Yvette Murrath had a good series to finish with 1306 in the ladies section.

    Three squads were held on Friday, the first being comfortably won by Ron Oldfield, England, with 1469, ahead of Roberts. Murrath again led in the ladies section. Her 1190 now put her at the top of the overall standings.

    In the second squad, two lefthanders dominated. Andre Geelen, Belgium, had 1470, with Bigi Manico, Switzerland, having a huge 1410 in the ladies section. The last squad of the day late in the evening was led by Claude Escarguel, France, with 1289, with Nadine Robert, France, being top woman with 1161.

    At the close of Friday, the winners in the early bird prize fund were now decided. Ed Roberts, Andre Geelen and Alain Aubert cashed in the men's section, with Yvette Murrath, Angie Brown of England and Nadine Robert receiving extra prize fund in the women's section.

    Saturday was the final qualification day, and the first squad saw Loris Masetti, Italy, at the top with 1368. Brown had another solid block of 1217 to move into second place in the women's overall standings.

    The next squad was the largest of the tournament, with 69 bowlers spread across the 36 lanes of Cristal Bowling. Defending men's champion Carlo Greulich, Germany, hit the biggest qualifying score of the tournament with 1558 including seven pins bonus per game (252.67 scratch), with Roberts again in a second place position.

    Martina Beckel, Germany, who won the women's title in the second stop this season in Osnabrück, Germany, took top honors in the women's section with 1354.

    The final squad saw 60 bowlers trying to either make the qualifying positions or gain a top eight positions in the men's section to miss the first finals round. Greulich again led the way with 1463, and Manico had another big block of 1314 to leap into the women's qualification lead.

    The final qualification positions showed Greulich had a slender lead with 3021 over Roberts, with Oldfield some way back in third position. Eighth place and the last bowler to skip the first finals round was Klaus-Uwe Lichka, Germany, with 2799. Last qualifier in 32nd place was Wolfgang Emmerich, Germany, with 2615.

    2015ISBT03WomenFinalists.jpgIn the ladies section, Manico had a huge lead with 2724, being almost 200 pins ahead of Beckel. Brown was the last qualifier in sixth place with 2437. Pictured left are the women's finalists.

    Two male and one female finalists were included from the Turbo section, which left two male and one female place to be filled from the Desperado squad.

    Ten men entered the Desperado competition, and after a slow start, the strikes started flowing. Uwe Tscharke, Germany, struck out from the 5th frame to win with 260, with fellow German Werner Laun second on 249. Marianne Pelz, Germany, had a slow start, but a run of 6 strikes from the 5th frame made her top of the three ladies with 237.

    Sunday morning saw the start of the finals for the men, with all scores resetting to zero.

    The men who qualified from 9th to 32nd together with the turbo and desperado qualifiers bowled five games in the first final round. The top 16 progressed to the second final round, where they would be joined by the top eight qualifiers.

    2015ISBT03MenFinalists.jpgIan Buckland, England, was the leader after this first finals round with 1176, closely followed by Hermann Wimmer, Germany, and Harry Mickelson, United States, who made the qualifying cut in 26th place. The last qualifier into the second final round was Frank Lindsay, England, on 1094.

    The top eight from qualifying now joined for the second final round, again of five games. Greulich maintained his impressive form, winning the round with 1295, a 252 average. Last qualifier for the final was Lischka on 1160. Pictured right are the men's finalists.

    The men's final stated with Greulich maintaining his lead with 744 over the first three games. Games four and five brought a slight reduction in his scoring pace allowing the others to close the gap slightly.

    At the start of the final round of matches, Greulich had a two-pin lead over Oldfield, with Mickelson a single pin further behind. The final round pitched the top two in the standings against each other, so it looked like their match would decide who would be the overall winner.

    2015ISBT03Top3.jpg In a low scoring game, Greulich won by a narrow eight-pin margin, however down on the end lanes, Harry Mickelson was having his best game of the final, finishing with a 269 scratch score. This leapt him past both Carlo Greulich and Ron Oldfield to emerge as the men's winner.

    The ladies final saw Turbo qualifier Sabine Leutwiler take an early lead and then continue to score well, finally finding the form which had escaped her during qualifying. No-one came close to overtaking her and she finished some 125 pins clear of Yvette Murrath in second place, with Marianne Pelz just behind in third place.

    The picture shows the top three men and women. Back row from left to right: Greulich, Mickelson and Oldfield. Front row: Murrath, Leutwiler and Pelz.

    ISBTLogo_small.jpg The next stop is a return to Euro Bowling in Deurne, Belgium for the Euro 50+ Senior Open. The tournament runs from the May 27-31, 2015. Full details are available at the ISBT website.

    Courtesy of Tony Brown.


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