Strong finish propels Pasi Uotila into the lead as qualifying gets underway at Ballmaster Open


    2016 European Bowling Tour #1

    Three-time Ballmaster champion from Finland averages 232.33 to lead the 113-player field after day one



    2015EBT14OskuPalermaa.jpgThree-time Ballmaster Open champion Pasi Uotila (pictured above) from Finland finished his qualifying series with three consecutive games over 250 to take the early lead in the 46th Brunswick Ballmaster Open Tuesday at Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland.

    Uotila, who won the prestigious tournament in 2000, 2004 and 2009 and is one of just five multiple winners, started the first of 18 qualifying squads with 233 and 231 before he suffered a low game of 158. He rebounded with 256, 258 and 258 to lead the 113-player field from Finland, Germany and Russia after day one qualifying with 1394 total and an average of 232.33.

    2015BWCJoonasJehkinen.jpgThe former national team member was followed by three current Finnish national team members. 13-time European Bowling Tour titlist and 5-time PBA champion, Osku Palermaa (above right), used four games between 249 and 231 and low games of 216 and 197 to take over second place with 1369.

    Third and fourth place belonged to one-time EBT champions Jari Ratia and Joonas Jehkinen (left). Ratia moved into third place with 1356, including high games of 267 and 258, and Jehkinen finished the day in fourth place with 1350, including 278, the highest game of the tournament so far.

    2015WWCMastersSannaPasanen.jpgJoakim Westlin of Finland sandwiched high games of 237, 215, 245 and 252 between low games of 190 and 195 to lead squad 2 on Tuesday evening and to overtake fifth place in the overall standings with 1334, an average of 222.33.

    Finnish national team member Sanna Pasanen (right) was the best of 11 women on day one qualifying with 1324 total, including 48 pins women's handicap, good for eighth place.

    With just two of 18 squads in the books, Mikko Pietila of Finland held the 44th and last place to advance to the finals with 1152 or an average of 192. For the records, the score to make the cut in 44th place in last year's Ballmaster Open was 1342 (223.67 average).

    2015BallmasterLogo_small.jpg Since its inception in the year 2000, the European Bowling Tour kicks off with Brunswick Ballmaster Open in Helsinki, Finland. The 46th edition of Europe's most prestigious bowling tournament will kick off the 17th EBT season from Tuesday, December 29, 2015 through Sunday January 10, 2016 at 36-lane Tali Bowling Center.

    The BBO is the first of three "EBT Platinum" events this season, the highest of the four EBT categories, and offers total prize money of 103.300 Euro, including all extra prizes, with 13.000 Euro going to the winner, 9.000 to the runner-up and 6.000 and 4.000 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively. Low to cash is 54th place, worth 1.000 Euro.

    Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) starts on Dec. 29 with squads 1 & 2 and concludes Jan. 9 with squad 18 followed by the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad slated for 8 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET - one hour ahead of CET).

    Women will receive 8 pins handicap each game (up to 292 - maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

    Total 54 players - the top 44 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-8 who are not among the top 44 and the top 4 from the Desperado Squad - qualify for the finals. There is no bonus for the qualifying leaders this year.

    All 54 finalists bowl two blocks of five games with the top 12 advancing to the round robin match play portion. Those 12 bowl further 11 games of round robin match play (no position round) with the previous pinfall total carried over. During match play, players receive 30 bonus pins for winning a match and 15 pins each in the event of a tie.

    The top 4 players after 21 games including bonus pins determine the champion in a traditional stepladder final. The No. 4 seed meets the No. 3 in the opening match. The winner takes on the No. 2 seed for the right to bowl the top seed for the title and the 13.000 Euro top prize.

    Whether the 46th Brunswick Ballmaster Open will offer a World Bowling Tour and Professional Bowlers Association Tour title is still pending as World Bowling, bowling's governing body, has not yet published a schedule for the 2016 WBT season.

    2016EBTLogo_small.jpg After the withdrawal of the Russian Open and the cancelation of the Istanbul Open, the 2016 European Bowling Tour currently consists of 16 tournaments in 11 countries featuring three "Platinum" events, three "Gold", four "Silver" and six "Satellite" events. All tournaments together offer total prize fund of roughly 850.000 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 12 men and top 12 women, who will compete in the 10th EBT Masters February 27, 2017, at Dolfijn Bowling in Tilburg, Netherlands.

    Photos by Seija Lankinen.


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    2016 Brunswick Ballmaster Open - Qualifying Standings after Squad 2/18

    Top 44, top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-8 who are not among the top 44 and the top 4 from the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals on Sunday, Jan. 10.