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Ireland’s Chris Sloan wins qualifying of the 29th Irish Open


Chris Sloan of Ireland remained unchallenged in Saturday’s squads 12-14 en route to win the qualifying of the 29th Irish Open Championships and to lead a field of 62 bowlers, 54 men and eight women, into the finals at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin.

The two-handed player, who finished second in the 52nd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup in Shanghai, China, at the end of last year, averaged 254.50 in the second of 14 qualifying squads to pace the field of 194 players from 20 countries with 1527. Sloan had games of 259, 254, 199, 268, 268 and 279.

Tomas Kayhko (left) of Finland was the only other player who surpassed the 1500-mark in second place with 1524. His compatriot Santtu Tahvanainen (right) was third with 1499.

2016 women’s World Cup champion Jenny Wegner (left) rolled games of 236, 236, 204, 247, 258 and 256 to lead the final squad 14 on Saturday afternoon with 1437 scratch, an average of 239.50, and to jump into fourth place with 1485, including handicap.

The top 4 will miss the first two rounds of the finals and will be seeded 1-4 in the first match play round.

Qualifiers 5-8 Barry Foley (left), Ireland (1460), Petri Keituri, Finland (1460), squad 13 leader Pete Stevenson, England (1457) and Perttu Jussila, Finland (1446), bypassed the first round of the finals, which was contested on Saturday evening.

Defending Irish Open champion and all-time European Bowling Tour title leader Paul Moor (right) of England made the first cut in 11th place with 1434 and is still in contention to win his 18th career title.

Amandine Jacques (left) of France led the first squad on Saturday, 12th overall, with 1412 total, including handicap, to finish qualifying in 14th place. Patrick Jannik Sorensen of Denmark, who rolled the tournament’s first 300 game in squad 8 landed in 38th place with 1347.

Dutchman Jos Bakker took the 53rd and last place to advance with 1317 or an average of 219.50. Qualifiers 9 to 53 were joined in the first round of the finals by six players from squads 1-4 and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

Tournament manager Jason Byrnes, Ireland, led the “Desperados” with 235 and was followed by England’s Craig Barrett (232) and Glen Richardson (222). Richardson was the first player out in qualifying in 54th place with 1315.

Split into two squads, 54 players rolled a three series from scratch on Saturday evening to cut to the top 28. Jamie Bottomley of England paced the field with 729 and an average of 243, behind games of 237, 266 and 226.

Tournament manager Byrnes and Ben Gruisinga, Netherlands, tied for 28th place with 623 (207.67). Gruisinga defeated Byrnes in a 9th and 10th frame roll off to advance.

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) ran Jan. 15-21 and concluded with a 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 of squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top four qualifiers received two byes while qualifiers 5-8 earned 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 – Round 1 Results

Top 28 advance to the second round. Gruisinga def. Byrnes in a 9th and 10th frame roll off for 28th place.

29th Irish Open – Standings after Qualifying and Desperado Squad

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 (places 54-59), plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad (places 60-62) advance to the finals.

300 games (1) – Patrick Jannik Sörensen.

Herbert Bickel

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