No changes atop the leaderboard at the Ballmaster in Sunday's "Senior" and "Veteran" squads


    2016 European Bowling Tour #1

    Two-time Ballmaster Open champion Kimmo Lehtonen paces the all-Finnish participants Sunday with 1325 to leap into 12th place; Juhani Tonteri continues to lead the 387-player field with 1396; No. 44 score to beat to advance is now 1222 (203.67 average)



    Two-time Ballmaster Open champion Kimmo Lehtonen (pictured above with fellow lefty, 93-year-old Aarne Pajunen, right) averaged over 220 in the second squad on Sunday, eighth overall, to leap into 12th place in the 46th Brunswick Ballmaster Open currently underway at Tali Bowling Center in Helsinki, Finland.

    2016EBT01KimmoLehtonen.jpgThe southpaw (left), who won the most prestigious tournament in Finland in the years 2002 and 2007, started squad 8 with games of 279, 232 and 246 (757). However, the former World Ranking Masters champion was unable to match the pace in the last three games (177, 211 and 180) and finished with 1325 and an average of 220.83.

    Sunday's "senior" (squad 7) and "veteran" squads (#8) were open to all athletes but offered extra prizes to the top three senior (50 years and older in 2016) and the top three veteran (60 years and older in 2016) bowlers.

    2016EBT01ToniToivonen.jpg2016EBT01TeemuRaatikainen.jpgBoth squads were an all-Finnish affair. Toni Toivonen (left) led squad 7 with 1265 while former national team player and coach, Teemu Raatikainen (right), was the best senior bowler with 1229. He received a Brunswick bowling ball. Toivonen finished the day in 29th place and Raatikainen was seven pins above the cut line in 41st place.

    With 8 of 18 squads in the books, Finnish bowlers hold the top 60 spots in the standings. Juhani Tonteri (below left), who had games of 268, 220, 195, 220, 270 and 223 in squad 3, continued to lead the field of 387 players from Finland (383 players), Estonia (2), Germany and Russia (1 each), with 1396 and an average of 232.67.

    2016EBT01JuhaniTonteri.jpg2016EBT01PasiUotila.jpgThree-time Ballmaster Open champion Pasi Uotila (right) was just two pins behind in second place with 1394 and was followed by Perttu Jussila, who was further two pins back in third place with 1392.

    Rounding out the top 5 were Finnish youth national team member Tomas Käyhkö in fourth place with 1375 and two-handed star Osku Palermaa in fifth place with 1369.

    2015BWCSannaPasanen2.jpgCurrent Finnish national team member Sanna Pasanen (right) was the best of 48 women in the field in 14th place with 1324 total.

    Harri Järvinen held the 44th and last place to advance to the finals from the overall qualifying standings with 1222 or an average of 203.67. German-Finnish Patricia Luoto is still the best of the four foreign bowlers in the field so far in 61st place with 1202, including handicap.

    After a two-day break, qualifying commences on Wednesday, January 6, with squads 9 and 10 scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET).

    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 8/18

    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.