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Ghislaine van der Tol averages over 250 to win the Qualifying in Dublin, Ireland

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Ghislaine van der Tol, Netherlands, averaged 251.67 Saturday at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin to win the qualifying of the Irish Open Tenpin Bowling Championships 2018 an to lead a group of 62 players into the finals.

Van der Tol (pictured right and above), the only woman who owns four European Bowling Tour titles, fired games of 298, 224, 233, 279, 242 and 234 in squad 12 for 1510 pinfall total and added 42 pins handicap (she received only two pins handicap for the 298 games) to lead the field of 189 players from 19 countries with record 1552 total.

Her compatriot Ramon Hilferink (left), who was in sixth place with 1436, improved by 91 pins in squad 13 to leap into second place with 1527 total and the field-best 254.50 average. Hilferink had games of 248, 234, 265, 268, 268 and 244.

Previous leader Barry Foley (right) of Ireland slipped to third place with 1509 total, including one of eight perfect games in the 30th anniversary edition of the tournament so far.

Nicola Pongolini (left) of Italy paced the final squad 14 with 1497 total to crack the top 4, who will receive two byes and will be seeded 1-4 in the first round of the match play finals. Pongolini had games of 246, 279, 223, 290, 224 and 235.

Qualifiers 5-8 will miss the first round of the finals, which will be contested in two groups on Saturday evening.

The group consists of Rob Thurlby, England (1478), Steve Gastmans, Belgium (1469), Lee Crocker (right), England (1445, including the 8th perfecto) and Patrick Meka, Netherlands (1443).

Joining van der Tol in the finals from the 35-player women’s field were Keira Reay, Scotland (40th, 1367); Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour Rookie of the Year 2017, Daria Pajak (left), Poland (45th, 1362); Sarah Flannery, Ireland (54th, 1341), who qualified from the separate leaderboard of squads 1-4; and Nicole Sanders, Netherlands (61st, 244), who qualified from the Desperado Squad.

Colm Cloake of Ireland took the 53rd and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1348 or an average of 224.67.

The 30th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm is the third tournament on the 2018 European Bowling Tour and the first of three “EBT Satellite” events this season, the lowest of five EBT tournament categories (platinum, gold, silver, bronze and satellite).

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 4.000 Euro going to the winner, 2.000 to the runner-up and 1.500 and 1.250 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively.

Low to cash is 36th 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, extra prizes for the top woman and the top 4 seniors (must be born on Jan. 1, 1968, or earlier) as well as a 100 Euro bonus for each of the 14 squad winners.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) started on Sunday, Jan. 14, and concluded Saturday, Jan. 20, with squad 14 followed by the one-game Desperado Squad.

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 advanced to the finals, including the top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing including 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 get 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 4.000 Euro top prize.

The 2018 European Bowling Tour features 13 tournaments in 10 countries including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, three “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which will offer total prize fund of more than 560.000 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.

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2018 Irish Open – Standings after Qualifying and Desperado Squad

Top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-4 (places 54-59) and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad (places 60-62) advance to the finals. The top four qualifiers receive two byes, qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye.


300 games (8) – Aidan Byrne, Teemu Putkisto, Paul McCauley, Barry Foley, Eoin McLoughlin, Glenn Richardson, Jean-Pierre Paugnat, Lee Crocker.

Herbert Bickel

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