Defending champion Hadley Morgan
of England finished the week-long qualifying of the 7th Sofia International Open
atop the 232-player leaderboard to lead the top 56 bowlers into the finals Sunday at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The defending champion (pictured above) paced the field from 28 countries with 1466 and an average of 244.33 for six games. William Svensson (right) of Sweden was the only other bowler who surpassed the 1400-mark. The 15-year-old Swede led squad 34 on Saturday evening with 1406, including games of 214, 237, 224, 206, 237 and 288, an average of 234.33, to rocket into second place.
Christoffer Jakobsson of Sweden, who led squad 32 on Saturday morning was a distant third with 1345, including high games of 255, 253 and 244. Santtu Tahvanainen (left) of Finland slipped two spots to fourth place with 1342.
Svensson was not the youngest squad leader as 14-year-old Ukrainian Nikolay Selin (right) paced squad with 1340. Selin had games of 235, 214, 234, 168, 226 and 215 for 1292, an average of 215.33 and received eight pins handicap per game to jump fifth place with 1340 total.
Anton Elofsson (left) of Sweden fell to sixth place with 1338 and was followed by compatriot Alfred Berggren, who used a near-perfect 299 game to move into seventh place with 1334.
Rounding out the top 8, who will miss the first two rounds of the finals, was Jesper Agerbo (right) of Denmark with 1332 or an average of 222.
Four-time European Bowling Tour titlist Ghislaine Stigter-van der Tol of the Netherlands was the best of 31 women in the field in 12th place with 1323, including 48 pins handicap.
Jari Ratia (left) of Finland took the 16th and last spot to earn a first-round bye with 1316 and an average of 219.33. The best Bulgarian bowler in the field from 28 countries was Yavor Milanov, who finished qualifying in 28th place with 1283 (213.83).
PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Brian Voss (right), United States, hit the cutoff number in 44th place with 1261 (210.17) thanks to the higher last game (257 to 244) which broke the tie with Plamen Stanchev of Bulgaria.
The top 44 qualifiers will be joined in the finals by another 12 players, among others Stanchev and the top 4 of the Desperado Squad.
The 7th Sofia International Open 2016, a popular but non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6 at bowling center Joy Station, a 20-laner in 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 ran from Oct. 29 through Saturday, Nov. 5 and concluded with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300).
Total 56 players advanced to the finals on Sunday, Nov 6, 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 earned two byes and qualifiers 9-16 received a first-round bye.
The other 40 players 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.
Defending champion Hadley Morgan takes commanding lead in Sofia
Four players add their names to the leaderboard in Sofia
Swedes Elofsson, Olsson new leaders in Sofia International Open
Defending champion Hadley Morgan back in the driver’s seat in Sofia
Croatia’s Zoran Banjac becomes first player to crack the 1300-bar in Sofia
Germany’s Karsten Aust takes over lead in 7th Sofia International Open
Bulgaria’s Dian Dinev takes early lead in 7th Sofia International Open
7th Sofia International Open 2016 – Preview
Hadley Morgan shoots 289 to win 6th Sofia International Open
7th Sofia International Open 2016 – Standings after Qualifying and Desperado Squad
Top 44 qualifiers, top 2 from squads 17-25 (places 45-46), top 6 from squads 1-16 (places 47-52) and top 4 of the Desperado Squad (places 53-56) advance to the finals.