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Finland’s Tomas Kayhko falls three pins short of the lead in Ireland


Despite shooting five games between 257 and 279 in the seventh qualifying squad Thursday evening at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin, Tomas Kayhko of Finland fell three pins short of the lead in the 29th Irish Open Championships.

Kayhko (pictured above) started his run at the lead with back-to-back 279 games but managed only 174 in game three. He rebounded with 592 for the last three games sandwiching 278 between a pair of 257 games to finish in second place with 1524 total and an average of 254 for six games.

Ireland’s Chris Sloan (right) continued to lead the field of 130 players from 16 countries with 1527 (254.50 avg.). The runner-up in the 52nd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup and Kayhko are the only players who surpassed the magic 1500-mark (250 average).

Kayhko’s compatriot Petri Keituri and defending Irish Open champion Paul Moor (left) of England led the sixth squad with 1460 and 1434 to finish the third day of qualifying in third and fourth place, respectively.

Squad 1 leader Barry Foley (right), Ireland, slipped three spots to fifth place with 1421 and was followed by Ryan Press of Northern Ireland, who led squad 5 with 1419, including a high game of 290, to improve his previous high series (134) by 78 pins to move into sixth place.

Squad 2 leader Hadley Morgan (left) of England, who won his first European Bowling Tour title in the 10th International Wroclaw Open last season, slipped to seventh place with 1406.

His fellow countryman Adam Michaels became the eighth player who cracked the 1400-bar using high games of 288 and 268 for 1402. Former world and European champion Tore Torgersen (right) of Norway, who won his fourth career European Bowling Tour in the 2014 Norwegian Open fell one pin short of the 1400-mark to overtake ninth place with 1399.

Rounding out the top 10 was Santtu Tahvanainen (left) of Finland with 1394. Keira Reay (below right) of England led the first squad on Thursday, fourth overall, with 1390, including 48 pins handicap, and is the best of 25 women in the field in 11th place. 2016 EBT point ranking leader Richard Teece of England sits in 12th place with 1381.

As qualifying has reached the halfway mark, Bard Jensen of Norway holds the 53rd and last place to advance with 1214 and an average of 202.33.

Qualifying continues on Friday, January 20, with squads 8, 9, 10 and 11 scheduled to start at 8 a.m., noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The 29th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm is the second tournament on the 2017 European Bowling Tour and the first of four “EBT Satellite” events this season, the lowest of five EBT tournament categories.

The Irish Open takes place from January 15-22 at 18-lane Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin, Ireland, and offers total prize money of 20.000 Euro with 5.000 Euro going to the winner, 2.500 to the runner-up and 1.500 and 1.250 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively.

Low to cash is 32nd place, worth 120 Euro. The tournament also offers a high performance bowling ball for the first 300 game, High Game awards for men and women as well as extra prizes for the top woman and the top 4 seniors (must be born on Jan. 1, 1967, or earlier), who have their own shoot-out finale.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) starts on Sunday, Jan. 15, and concludes Saturday, Jan. 21, with squad 14 followed by the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7.30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

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 62 athletes will advance to the finals, including the top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing of squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top four qualifiers receive two byes while qualifiers 5-8 earn a first-round bye. The remaining 54 finalists bowl three games, starting from scratch, with the top 28 advancing to the second round.

32 players bowl another three-game block, starting from scratch, after which the field is cut to the top 12. Those 12, seeded 5-16, and the top four qualifiers, seeded 1-4, bowl four rounds of single-elimination match play with the two-game total determining the winner.

In each round, the highest seeded player bowls the lowest seeded player, the second highest seeded player bowls the second lowest seeded player, and so on. The field is trimmed to eight, four and then two players who bowl for the title and the 5.000 Euro top prize.

The 2017 European Bowling Tour features 11 tournaments in 9 countries including two “Platinum”, two “Gold”, three “Bronze” and four “Satellite” events (no silver tournament this season), which offer total prize fund of roughly 500.000 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 11th EBT Masters in February 2018 in Tilburg, Netherlands.

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29th Irish Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 7/14

Top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing of squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

Herbert Bickel

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