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Jesse Ahokas rises to the top in qualifying at Brunswick Madrid Challenge

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The qualifying leaderboard at the Brunswick Madrid Challenge got a whole new look as six players moved into the top 10 in Friday’s Squads 11 to 14 at Bowling Chamartín in Madrid, Spain.

Jesse Ahokas (featured photo) of Finland averaged more than 242 for his six games in squad 12 to lead the 156-player field from 22 countries with 1453. Ahokas rolled games of 225, 226, 257, 246, 221 and a high game of 278.

His fellow countryman Jari Ratia (left) made a run at the lead in squad 14 but fell three pins short to move into second place with 1450. Ratia had games of 205, 238, 268, 245, 235 and 259.

Maria Jose Rodriguez (right) of Colombia is the best of 21 women in the field in third place with 1446 total. The Professional Women’s Bowling Association touring pro and long-time Colombian national team member posted games of 256, 242, 244, 227, 226 and 203 for 1398 scratch, an average of 233, and added eight pins handicap each game.

Previous leader Thomas Larsen of Denmark slipped three spots to fourth place with 1429 (238.17). Fellow European Bowling Tour champion Markus Jansson of Sweden, who started the day in third place with 1410, rolled the tournament’s second 300 game and a 289 last game in squad 13 but fell to fifth place with 1422.

Tomas Käyhkö (left) of Finland, who also toppled 1422 pins in squad 12, slipped to sixth place due to the lower last game (234), which breaks the tie.

Another EBT champion, Richard Teece of England fell from second to seventh place with 1416 and was followed by the best Spanish bowler, Javier Moreno in eighth place with 1405.

Former World Games champion Manuel Otalora (right) was second in squad 13 with 1403 to jump into ninth place in the overall standings. Nicole Sanders of the Netherlands, who won her first EBT title last season in the Scheveningen Dutch Open, led squad 11 on Friday morning with 1397, including handicap, to finish the day in 10th place.

Rodriguez and Sanders (left) are the only women in the top 36 heading into the final qualifying day. Ghanim Aboujassoum, one of eight bowlers from Qatar in the field, holds the 36th and last place to advance with 1333 and an average of 222.17.

Qualifying continues on Saturday, July 7, with squads 15-18 scheduled to start at 9 a.m., 1, 5 and 9 p.m. Central European Summer Time and concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad slated for 30 minutes past Midnight.

The VI Brunswick Madrid Challenge is the 6th stop of the 2018 European Bowling Tour season and the first out of two EBT “Bronze” tournaments this season. The tournament will be held from July 1-8 at 20-lane Bowling Chamartín in Madrid, Spain. Francois Lavoie of Canada is the defending BMC champion.

Players will compete for total prize money of 40.300 Euro with 6.000 Euro going to the winner, 3.000 to the runner-up and 2.000 to the third place finisher. Last-to-cash payout (48th place) is 300 Euro.

Qualifying gets underway on Sunday, July 1, and runs through Saturday, July 7, with the final squad 18 to start at 9 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). The qualifying winner earns a 750 Euro bonus. Qualifying concludes with the Desperado Squad slated for half past Midnight.

Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum score is 300), a standard on the European Bowling Tour. The top two women in qualifying (before Desperado Squad) earn 750 and 500 Euro, respectively.

Total 48 players qualify for the finals on Sunday, July 8, including the top 36 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 3 from the combined standings of July 1 squads and the top 5 of the squads conducted July 2 & 3, who were not in the top 36, plus four players from the Desperado Squad. The top 16 qualifiers receive a first-round bye and will be seeded 1-16 in match play.

The remaining 32 finalists will bowl six games from scratch with the top 16 advancing to match play, seeded 17-32.

In each round of match play, the highest seeded player will bowl against the lowest seeded player, the second-highest against the second-lowest, and so on. Match play rounds of 32, 16 and 8 consist of best-of-three games while semi-finals and finals will be decided in one game.

The field will be cut to 16, 8, 4 and then two players who will bowl for the title and the 6.000 Euro top prize.

The 2018 European Bowling Tour features 12 tournaments in 10 countries including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, two “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which offer total prize fund of roughly 625.000 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 Brunswick Madrid Challenge – Standings after Qualifying Squad 14/18

Total 48 players, including the top 36 players from the overall qualifying standings, the top 3 players from the combined standings of squads 1 & 2 (position 37-39) and the top 5 of squads 3-6 (position 40-44) who are not among the top 36, and the top four players of the Desperado Squad (position 45-48), will advance to the finals.

300 games (2) – Nasser Al Sahoti, Markus Jansson.

Herbert Bickel

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