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Georgos Stefanidis rises to the top at Sofia International Open


The leaderboard of the 8th Sofia International Open 2017 got a whole new look as six players moved into the top 19 in Monday’s squads 9-12 at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Starting the the third qualifying day in 10th place with 1239, Georgos Stefanidis (pictured above) of Greece improved by 127 pins to rise to the top leaderboard with 1366 total and an average of 227.67 for six games.

Stefanidis started the morning squad with a huge 289 game, the highest game of the tournament so far, and added 222, 211, 204, 213 and 227 to overtake his compatriot Vasilis Stefopoulos (right) by 53 pins.

Stefopoulos slipped to fourth place with 1312 as squad 11 leaders Tomas Käyhkö of Finland and Vladyslav Ialovega of Ukraine moved into second and third place in the standings.

Käyhkö (left), a former European Youth Champion, started his set with 236, 207, 226 and 256 averaging over 230 for the first four games. After a 186 in game five, Käyhkö mad a run at the lead but fell six pins short with 249 and 1360 total. Ialovega used high games of 233, 239 and 246 to edge out Stefopoulos by one pin with 1313.

Day one leader Mehmet Kaya (right) of Turkey fell to fifth place with 1307 and was followed by Roman Ilyin of Ukraine in sixth place with 1294. The top six from squads 1-16 will earn automatic berths into Sunday’s finals.

Alexey Parshukov (left) of Russia, who led squad 10 with 1287, including a high game of 255, missed the top 6 by mere seven pins to sit in seventh place. The top Bulgarian bowler, Georgi Dimov, slipped four spots to eighth place with 1266.

Teemu Putkisto (right) of Finland pace the last squad on Monday, 12th overall, with 1259 after finishing with 235 and 236 to move into 9th place. Rounding out the top 10 was Victor Dumitrascu of Romania, who is the best of four bowlers who scored 1255, due to the highest last game (233).

Mariana Meteksinova of Bulgaria was the best of 17 women in the 122-player field from 14 countries in 18th place with 1221, including eight pins handicap each game. Kenny Kishimoto, one of four bowlers from Peru, holds the 44th and last spot to advance with 1149 or an average of 191.50.

Qualifying continues Tuesday, Oct. 24, with squads 13-16 scheduled to start at 10 a.m., 2, 6 and 9.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET).

The 8th Sofia International Open 2017, a popular but non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 21-29 at bowling center Joy Station, a 20-laner in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. The tournament offers total prize fund of 55.000 Euro with 7.000 Euro going to the winner and a last-to-cash payout of 350 Euro for 56th place.

Qualifying of the Sofia Open starts on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST), and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, with the final squad 35 scheduled for 9.30 p.m. Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300).

Total 56 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, Oct. 29, including top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad. Top 8 qualifiers will earn two byes and qualifiers 9-16 receive a first-round bye.

The other 40 players will advance to the first of four 4-game rounds (rounds 1-3 starting from scratch). The field will be trimmed to 36, 20, and then 10 players who will determine the finalists in the last four-game round with the pinfall from Round 3 being carried forward. The top 4 after eight games will bowl for the title in a traditional stepladder final.

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8th Sofia International Open 2017 – Qualifying Standings after 12/35 Squads

Top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

Herbert Bickel

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