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Brunswick Ballmaster Open prepares for 49th and 50th anniversary edition


Heading into its 20th anniversary season, the 2019 European Bowling Tour will feature 15 tournaments, including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, three “bronze” and three “satellite” events.

The 49th Brunswick Ballmaster Open is the second stop of the EBT 2019 and will be held from January 4-13 at renowned Tali Bowling Center, a 36-laner in Helsinki, the capital and largest city of Finland.

The longest-running and most prestigious tournament in Europe is one of two “gold” events, the second highest of five EBT categories.

In preparation for the 2019 event and the 50th anniversary tournament in 2020, Kai Virtanen, Managing Director of Oy Bowling Ab Company and the tournament director, has hired long-time Finnish Bowling Federation communications manager Seija Lankinen as the Brunswick Ballmaster Open press officer and tournament secretary.

Virtanen, a long-time Finnish national team member and World Games and World Cup champion, said: “Seija makes a great addition to our Brunswick Ballmaster Open team. She has a long history with the Brunswick Ballmaster Open and excellent contacts to bowling federations all over the world.”

As a member of bowling club Ballmasters, Lankinen has been involved in the Ballmaster Open since the ninth edition back in the year 1979. In 1986 she started to work for FBF at the event and later for Ballmaster Open tournament director, Kimmo Lehtonen.

“In the last years, I worked just for fun and love for the tournament,” Lankinen said. “When my contract with the Finnish Bowling Federation ended on May 30 this year, I approached Kai with the idea of working exclusively for Oy Bowling Ab and Ballmaster Open.”

After the conversation Virtanen made the decision to hire Lankinen from the beginning of September.

“We wanted to add more effort on the tournament immediately”, Virtanen explains the decision, “and we have even bigger plans for the 50th anniversary tournament in 2020. We are not only planning to upgrade from gold to platinum status, but we are planning to organize the richest bowling tournament in Europe ever. (editor’s note: platinum is the highest category on the European Bowling Tour, gold is the second highest)

“If you haven’t visited the Brunswick Ballmaster Open yet, the 2019 event is perfect for you to practice and see the legendary Tali Bowl before the 2020 anniversary event.”

What makes the BBO so special? “For me the Brunswick Ballmaster Open means much, much more than just work,” Lankinen stated. “This tournament has a special place in my heart and all the bowlers and spectators are more or less friends for me.

“I love the atmosphere during the BBO and I know the staff at Tali Bowl very well. I am really excited to be a part of this great event as an employee of Oy Bowling Ab. I’m looking forward to BBO 2019 and of course the 50th anniversary tournament in 2020.”

The Brunswick Ballmaster Open 2019 offers total prize money of 83.700 Euro, including all extra prizes, with 10.000 Euro going to the winner, 6.000 Euro to the runner-up and 4.000 Euro apiece to the third and fourth place finishers. Low to cash is 48th place, worth 800 Euro.

The tournament offers 3.000 Euro for the first 300 game, another 2.000 Euro for the winner of a roll-off featuring all players with a 300 game, or 5.000 Euro for the highest game, in case there will be no 300 game or just one.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) begins Friday, Jan. 4, with squads 1 & 2 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 12, with squad 16 followed by the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7 p.m. Eastern European Time (EET).

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 48 players qualify for the finals, including the top 40 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 2 from a separate leaderboard of squads 9-10 and the top 3 of squads 1-8, who are not among the top 40 plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad. The top 12 qualifiers receive a first-round bye.

The other 36 finalists bowl six games starting from scratch with the top 24 advancing to the second round. Those 24 join the top 12 qualifiers to bowl eight games starting from scratch.

The top 16 players will be seeded into two groups according to their positions in round two: Group A (1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 16) and Group B (2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14 and 15). Round 2 pins carry over. The group phase features seven games of round robin match play (no position round). During match play, players receive 30 bonus pins for winning a match and 15 pins each in the event of a tie.

The 15-game totals, including all bonus pins, will determine the top two players in each group who advance to the semi-finals (B1 vs. A2 and A1 vs. B2). The semi-final winners will bowl for the title (all one-game head-to-head matches).

For more information on the Brunswick Ballmaster Open, click here.

The 2019 European Bowling Tour features 15 tournaments in 12 countries, two each in Denmark, Germany and Sweden and one each in Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino and Spain.

The two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, three “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which will offer total prize fund of roughly 700.000 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 13th EBT Masters July 7, 2020, at Rose’n Bowl in Serravalle, San Marino.

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Herbert Bickel

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