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Brunswick Euro Challenge breaks tour record, celebrates founder’s legacy


Brunswick Bowling Products has officially concluded another successful year of the Brunswick Euro Challenge, topping off this year’s record-setting entries with a celebration of the tournament’s founder, Bill Hartofillis, who is celebrating his 40th year with the company.

The 2018 Brunswick Euro Challenge broke its tour record for the second year in a row with a staggering 1,279 entries. The week-long competition welcomed bowlers from 36 different countries and witnessed 24 perfect games.

Featured photo courtesy of Marco Pietschner.

“Overall, we had a very high scoring pace. The cut for the top 50 was 1,440 in a six-game series,” said Martin Knöbl, tournament organizer and co-owner of Dream-Bowl Palace. “We’re proud to have been able to hold the tournament here, and we look forward to the next three years!”

In January of 2018, Dream-Bowl Palace and Brunswick Bowling extended their partnership into 2021. Dream-Bowl Palace’s size and centralized location in suburban Munich have made the center a perfect host for the tournament.

With another record-setting year on the books, Brunswick Bowling is celebrating the legacy of the tournament and also the man known as the “father” of Euro Challenge — Bill Hartofillis (pictured left with former Brunswick Bowling President, Brent Perrier, left).

Hartofillis, a Brunswick Distributor with Balkan Bowling & Billiard Supplies, had been working with the Brunswick team to bring the Euro Challenge to life since 1998. Back then, he envisioned a tournament that would welcome talent from across the continent, and his passion led Brunswick Bowling to introduce one of Europe’s most prestigious bowling events.

“Finally, five years after that initial vision came to me, we had the first Euro Challenge in Thessaloniki, Greece, in March of 2004,” said Hartofillis (right, with 2004 BEC winner Britt Brøndsted). “It was a 20-lane, state-of-the-art Brunswick Bowling center, and we had almost 400 entries! We knew that we’d put together something special.”

For those attending Euro Challenge, the talent the tournament attracts is certainly a large part of the draw, but Hartofillis feels that a big part of the tournament’s magic isn’t just its high level of competition, but its heart.

“The love the organizers have for this tournament, especially the management team of Brunswick, is truly special,” said Hartofillis.

“Every year, the company’s president or CEO and all of the management team from the USA attends. I love seeing this tournament grow each year, and it’s a wonderful time for me to see all of my bowling friends competing. Before coming to Dream-Bowl Palace back in 2012, we were in Paris, France, for 2007 and 2008, but because the tournament has continued to grow, we have needed to keep moving to bigger centers.”

“The Euro Challenge is an incredible event that showcases our love of the game,” said Brunswick Bowling CEO Corey Dykstra (left). “It’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate the talented bowlers who join us year after year, along with the evolution we’re seeing in the industry. Being in this competitive atmosphere and watching people battling it out on the lanes reminds us of one of the main reasons we’re in this business — to support the growth and passion of bowlers everywhere.”

For Hartofillis and the rest of the Brunswick team, expectations are high for the next chapters of the tournament.

“After seeing the excitement from our new CEO Corey Dykstra, I feel that Brunswick will keep innovating the tournament to make it not only the best tournament in Europe, but in the world. I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” said Hartofillis.

The Brunswick Euro Challenge is one of the largest bowling events in Europe, attracting a mix of promising amateur players and PBA stars from Europe, Asia and the U.S. The tournament was the fourth stop in the 2018 European Bowling Tour (EBT) and only one of two EBT Platinum tournaments.

From left: Anthony Simonsen (2nd), Brunswick Euro Challenge Champion Jenny Wegner and Yannaphon Larp-apharat (3rd). Photo Marco Pietschner.

This year’s bowlers were competing for a total prize purse of €105.000 (approximately $124,420), and the champion of this year’s tournament was Jenny Wegner of Sweden, who took home €11.500 as her grand prize.

To learn more about the Brunswick Euro Challenge, please click here.

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Herbert Bickel

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