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Darren Ong wins qualifying in The H.H. Emir Cup 2017


Darren Ong of Singapore added four-game series of 1003 and 998 to win the qualifying of The H.H. Emir Cup 2017 and to lead the top 32 of 84 bowlers from 16 countries into Sunday’s finals at the Qatar Bowling Center in Doha.

Ong, who was the lone player who surpassed the 2000 mark, toppled 2001 pins, an average of 250.13, including games of 180, 278, 289 and 256 (1003), 267, 246, 267 and 218 (998).

Places 2 to 6 belonged to Malaysian bowlers. Adrian Ang was 13 pins off the pace for the lead to finish qualifying in second place with 1988.

Natasha Roslan was the best of 15 women in the field in third place with 1979, including eight pins women’s handicap each game. Ahmad Muaz was fourth with 1968, immediately followed by Syaidatul Afifah and Radin Arifah in fifth and sixth place with 1967 and 1956, respectively, both scores including handicap.

Rounding out the top 8 were 2016 European Bowling Tour point ranking winner Richard Teece of England and Thailand’s Surasak Manuwong, who were tied at 1952, an average of 244.

The top eight foreigners will be joined in the first round of the finals by the top 8 local bowlers and the top 16 bowlers from the mixed pool (foreign and local bowlers).

Ghanim M Aboujassoum was the best Qatari with 1881 (235.13), including games of 259, 238, 195 and 277 (969), 259, 236, 204 and 213 (912). Hamad Al-Zoqari took the 8th and last spot in the local pool with 1701 (212.63).

Francois Louw of South Africa, who won the 9th Kingdom International Open in Dec. 2015 in Saudi Arabia for his first career World Bowling Tour title, lead the mixed pool with 1945 (243.13), including games of 256, 213, 244 and 297 (1010), 277, 279, 178 and 201 (935).

Joel Tan of Singapore and Malaysia’s Esther Cheah tied for the last spot to advance at 1890. The tie will be broken in a one-ball roll-off. Tan rolled the first of three perfect games in this tournament in the third game of squad 6.

Two-time PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi (1920; 23rd overall) in the first game of squad 10 and multiple Asian champion Michael Mak in the second game of squad 10 had the others. Mak missed the cut in 38th place with 1872.

According to their positions in the local, foreign and mixed pool, the 32 finalists will be seeded in four groups to bowl seven games of round robin match play.

The H.H. Emir Cup 2017, the opening event of the 2017 Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Tour season, will be held from February Feb. 27 through March 5 at the Qatar Bowling Center, a 32-laner in Doha, Qatar.

Players will compete for total prize money of 58,200 U.S. Dollar, $43,800 less than last year’s prize fund of $102,000. The Emir Cup will pay a $10,000 first prize, $6,000 for second place and $3,500 apiece for third and fourth place.

Opposite to the previous years, the Emir Cup will not award a World Bowling Tour or Professional Bowlers Association title. However, the top 16 Asian men will be awarded Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Tour ranking points (no extra finals to be played).

Qualifying (eight games, including the two highest four-game series; unlimited re-entries) ran over six days including 10 squads featuring four games each. Women receive eight pins handicap each game.

Total 32 players advance to the finals on Sunday, March 5, including the top 16 players with the highest 8-game totals plus the next eight foreign bowlers and the next eight local bowlers.

Those 32 will be split into four groups of eight players, who will bowl seven games of round robin match play. The winner of each match receives 3 points while loser gets zero points. Each tie will be broken in one-ball roll-offs. The top 4 of each group will advance to single-elimination finals in bracket system.

In bracket play, matches will consist of two games with the highest pinfall advancing. The field will be trimmed to eight, four and then two players, who will determine the champion.

The H.H. Emir Cup 2017 – Final Qualifying Standings

Total 32 players advance to the finals on Sunday, March 5, including the top 8 local bowlers (places 1-8), the top 8 foreign bowlers (places 8-16) and the top 16 from the mixed pool (places 17-32).

300 games (3) – Joel Tan, Mika Koivuniemi, and Michael Mak.

Herbert Bickel

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