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Defending champion Jason Belmonte shoots into lead in Malmö, Sweden

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The leaderboard of the Storm Lucky Larsen Masters in Malmö, Sweden, got a whole new look as five players moved into the top 10 in Friday’s Squads 26-29 at Baltiska Bowlinghallen.

For the first time since Sunday, Aug. 26, there is a new leader at the European Bowling Tour “platinum” tournament as four-time PBA Player of the Year, Jason Belmonte (right and featured photo), shot 1497 for his six games in a high-scoring Squad 27 to lead a field of 378 players from 25 countries.

The two-hander from Down Under, who is targeting his 19th PBA and third EBT title, averaged 249.50, including games of 256, 276, 227, 279, 223 and 236.

12-time PBA champion and 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year, Sean Rash (left) leaped from 155th to third place with 1444, including five games between 269 and 226 and a low game of 215. Thirteen players, including Belmonte and Rash, surpassed the 1300-mark in squad 27 alone.

Previous leader Jimmy Mortensen of Denmark slipped to second place with 1451. Joining Belmonte, Mortensen and Rash in the elite 1400-club were Swedes Jesper Svensson and William Svensson, who slipped to fourth and sixth place with 1411 and 1407, respectively, and fifth place Teemu Putkisto (right) of Finland, who led squad 29 with 1408.

Putkisto’s fellow countryman Pyry Puharinen was mere 12 pins back to tie Peter Hellström of Sweden at 1396. Hellström ranks seventh due to the higher last game (253 to 234) which breaks all ties in qualifying. Heading into the final qualifying day Puharinen rounds out the top 8 who will receive two byes for Sunday’s finals.

The Finns pushed back four-time PBA champion Anthony Simonsen (left), USA, to ninth place. The two-hander, who won his first EBT title in the 30th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm and finished second in the Brunswick Euro Challenge, led squad 28 with 1383, including a pair of 278 games.

Simonsen is one of four multiple winners in 2018, who are in contention for PBA Player of the Year. All four, Belmonte, Simonsen, EJ Tackett (28th, 1337) and Andrew Anderson (39th, 1317) compete in Malmö.

Anderson (right), who moved into the top 46 in squad 27 who will survive the qualifying cut, but missed the top 33, who will get a first-round bye for the finals, by 13 pins.

Five more players of squad 27, who positioned themselves in the top 33 were: Bill O’Neill, USA (12th, 1373), Yannaphon Larp-apharat, Thailand (left; 13th, 1369), Daniel Fransson, Sweden (25th, 1338), Niko Oksanen, Finland (31st, 1335) and Joachim Karlsson, Sweden (32nd, 133).

Syafiq Ridhwan (right) of Malaysia led the morning squad 26 with 1347, including six games between 246 and 203, to finish the penultimate qualifying day in 21st place. PWBA champion Daria Pajak of Poland was second with 1316, good for 40th place overall.

Jenny Wegner (left) of Sweden, who won her first EBT title in the Brunswick Euro Challenge in March, was the best woman on Friday after finishing second to Simonsen in squad 28 with 1337, including 48 pins handicap, an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events. Wegner is the third-best of 55 women in 26th place.

With another four squads to come on Saturday, Jörgen Roos of Sweden holds the 46th and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1306 and an average of 217.67.

Qualifying concludes on Saturday, September 8, with squads 30-33 scheduled to start at 8 a.m., noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The Storm Lucky Larsen Masters is the 9th stop of the World Bowling Tour 2018 and the 10th stop of the European Bowling Tour 2018. The tournament is a WBT “tier 2” event and second and last EBT “platinum” event this season, the highest of the five EBT categories (platinum, gold, silver, bronze and satellite).

The second Storm Lucky Larsen Masters will be held from August 25 to September 9 at Baltiska Bowlinghallen, a 22-laner in Malmö, Sweden and offers an increased total prize fund of 1.038.000 Swedish Kronor (SEK), or approximately 98.600 Euro, with 150.000 SEK (€14.250) going to the winner, 110.000 SEK to the runner-up and 80.000 and 60.000 SEK to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively. Low to cash is 60th place worth 3.500 SEK or 333 Euro.

All rounds can be watched live on SolidSport, featuring four different cameras covering 16 lanes. For more information, click here.

Qualifying of the Storm Lucky Larsen Masters (six-game series, unlimited re-entries) runs from Saturday, August 25, through Saturday, September 8, with the last qualifying squad 33 scheduled for 8 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). There will be no Desperado Squad this year.

Women receive 8 pins handicap each game throughout the entire tournament, an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events. Maximum score is 300.

Total 60 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, September 9, including the top 46 qualifiers, top 7 from an “Early Bird” competition (squads 1-16), top 2 senior bowlers (born in 1968 or earlier), top 2 U21 bowlers (born in 1997 or later), all not among the top 46, plus one player each from Turbo 4, 5 and 6 ranking (highest scores in game, 4, 5 and 6 (no extra entry fee required).

The top 8 qualifiers receive two byes for the finals, while qualifiers 9-33 get a first-round bye.

The other 27 players bowl four games from scratch before the field is cut to the top 11 who join qualifiers 9-33 in the second round featuring another four-game block from scratch. The top 16 meet qualifiers 1-8 in the third round to bowl eight games starting from scratch. The top 4 advance to the stepladder finals.

The 2018 European Bowling Tour features 12 tournaments in 10 countries including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, two “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which offer total prize fund of roughly 625.000 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 12th EBT Masters July 8, 2019 at Bowling Chamartín in Madrid, Spain.

The World Bowling Tour 2018 currently features also twelve stops, one each in Germany, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and Hong Kong and seven stops on U.S. soil. More events may be added, at least 3 months’ notice provided.

The Storm Lucky Larsen Masters is the 9th stop of the WBT 2018 and one of the tier 2 events this season. WBT tier 2 events award bowlers with four times the number of base WBT Rankings points (tier 1 six times and tier 3 two times).

The World Bowling Tour is sanctioned by World Bowling, the governing body for the sport of bowling. The tour is the premier international bowling series that is hosted in numerous, unique cities around the globe.

Due to an agreement between World Bowling and the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), World Bowling Tour tournaments will award a PBA Tour title if the winner is a PBA member (who doesn’t accept handicap pins). However, when an event is U.S. based and not a PBA event (such as the New Mexico Open), no PBA title can be granted.

Men and women compete for points to earn places on the World Bowling Tour rankings. The points system is based on a continuous two-year cycle, where points include every event from the previous two year format.

The top three men and top three women in the annual points list will compete in the season-ending World Bowling Tour Finals (date and venue tba).

World Bowling provides governance to international bowling and is made up of 134 bowling international federations. For more information on the World Bowling Tour, click here.

The 10th stop of the 2018 World Bowling Tour season is the WBT/PBA World Bowling Tour Thailand, a tier 2 event, which will be held Sept. 22-28 at Blu–O Rhythm & Bowl Ratchayothin in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Storm Lucky Larsen Masters – Standings after Qualifying Squad 29/33

Total 60 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, September 9, including the top 46 qualifiers, top 7 from an “Early Bird” competition, top 2 senior bowlers, top 2 U21 bowlers, all not among the top 46, plus one player each from Turbo 4, 5 and 6 ranking.

300 games (1) – Gaëtan Mouveroux.

Herbert Bickel

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