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Joakim Biehl moves into fourth place at AIK International Tournament

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Joakim Biehl of Sweden out averaged his nearest competitor in the third qualifying squad by more than 12 pins and jumped into fourth place in the overall standings in the AIK International Tournament Powered by Track Wednesday at Bowl-O-Rama in Stockholm, Sweden.

Biehl (pictured above and right) used games of 236, 248, 246, 206, 233 and 236 for 1405 total, an average of 234.17, to become the fourth player in the 38th edition of the event who surpassed the 1400-mark.

Christoffer Landin, Sweden, was second in the last of the three “early bird” squads with distant 1329, good for 18th place overall. The top 3 “early birds” who will miss the cut to the top 74 will earn automatic berths into the semi-final round.

One-time European Bowling Tour champion James Gruffman (left) of Sweden continued to lead the 102-player field with 1465 and the field-best 244.17 average. His compatriots Isabelle Hultin (right) and Peter Hellström remained in second and third place with 1463 (including handicap) and 1427, respectively.

Filip Wilhelmsson, Sweden, slipped to fifth place with 1388 and was followed by Kim Bolleby (left), Thailand, in sixth place with 1387 and Richard Dahllöf, Sweden, in seventh place with 1384.

2008 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup champion Jasmine Yeong-Nathan of Singapore rounds out the top 8 with 1379, including handicap.

Qualifying continues on Thursday, December 28, with squad 4 scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Central European Time (CET).

The 38th AIK International Tournament Powered by Track, which will be held from December 26th through January 7th at Bowl-O-Rama in Stockholm, Sweden, is the season-opening event of the 2018 European Bowling Tour.

A newcomer on the Tour, the “silver” level tournament offers total prize money of 475.000 Swedish Kronor (SEK), roughly 48.000 Euro or 57,000 U.S. Dollar, including extra prizes for women, seniors, juniors and under 200 average bowlers.

The champion will walk away with the 60.000 SEK top prize (6.070€ / $7,195), with 30.000 SEK going to the runner-up and 20.000 SEK to the third place finisher. Low to cash is 56th place, worth 4.500 SEK (455€ / $540).

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) begins Tuesday, Dec. 26, with squads 1 & 2 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 7, with squad 23.

Women will receive 8 pins handicap each game (up to 292 – maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Total 100 players will advance, including the top 74 in the overall qualifying standings, the top 4 “early birds” (squads 1-3), top 4 women, top 4 juniors (born in 1997 or later), top 4 seniors (born in 1968 or earlier) and top 4 bowlers with a certified average under 200, who are not among the top 74, plus the top 3 players each from Turbo G5 (highest qualifying game #5) and Turbo G6 (highest qualifying game #6).

The top 8 qualifiers go directly to Final Round 2, while qualifiers 9-38, the four “early birds” and the Turbo G5 and G6 leaders advance to Final Round 1. The remaining 56 finalists meet in the semi-final round on Saturday evening, Jan. 6, to bowl six games starting from scratch with the top 12 advancing to Final Round 1 on Sunday morning, Jan. 7.

Final Round 1 and 2 are also six-game rounds beginning from scratch (no carryover pins), which trim the field to 32 and then 16 players. Round 2 pins carry over to the finals.

Final Round 3 and 4 are four-game rounds after which the field is cut to the top 8 and then three players, who determine the champion in a stepladder final. No. 3 takes on no. 2 for the right to bowl the top-seed for the title.

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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38th AIK International – Qualifying Standings after Squad 3/23

Players with position, country and 6-game total; women’s scores including 8 pins handicap each game. Top 74 qualifiers plus another 26 players will advance.

Herbert Bickel

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