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Kayhko, Stefanidis, Stefopoulos add their names to the leaderboard in Bulgaria


Tomas Kayhko of Finland and Greek bowlers Georgos Stefanidis and Vasilis Stefopoulos moved into the top 10 in the qualifying of the 9th Sofia International Open 2018 Thursday at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Kayhko (right, and featured photo) averaged almost 240 for six games in the penultimate squad Thursday, 24th overall, to beat out Stefanidis for the daily high series, worth 100 Euro, by just two pins. Kayho rebounded from a slow start (188) with 229, then he averaged 271.67 for the next three games (269, 267 and 279) before he closed with 204 and 1436 total to leap into fifth place overall.

Stefanidis led the first squad on Thursday and 22nd overall (squad 21 scheduled to start at 1 a.m. has been canceled) with 1434, including closing games of 279, 236 and 269, to finish the day in sixth place.

Stefopoulos (right) was the front runner in squad 25 to position himself in ninth place with 1423, including high games of 279 and 267 and finishing with back-to-back 238.

The top 8 qualifiers will miss the first two rounds of the finals, while qualifiers 9-16 will bypass the first round. With nine squads to come, the score to make the cut for the top 8 is 1431 (238.50) and for the top 16 is 1397 (232.83).

Alexey Parshukov (left) of Russia remained in the pole position and continued to lead the field of 161 bowlers from 24 countries with 1522 and an average of 253.67, which he has posted in squad 3 on the first day of qualifying.

German junior national team member Sidney Schroschk (right) stayed in second place with 1486 and was followed by Mehmet Kaya of Turkey in third place with 1432 and Alexey Drozhbin of Russia in fourth place with 1446.

Jenny Wegner (left) of Sweden, who won her first European Bowling Tour title in the Brunswick Euro Challenge in March, is the best of 21 women in the field in 10th place with 1418, including 48 bonus pins, an equality handicap provided to women.

Otso Ari Kahila (right) of Finland paced squad 23 with 1383, including six games between 258 and 213. Kahila, who has a high series of 1399, slipped to 15th place.

Jan Macek (left), Czech Republic, was the fifth player in the 9th edition of the Sofia International Open to achieve perfection. He rolled games of 216, 300, 195, 237, 213 and 202 for 1363 total to leap into 38th place, 26 pins above the cut line.

Josefin Hermansson (right) of Sweden holds the last spot to advance from the overall leader board with 1337, including bonus pins, or an average of 222.83 scratch.

Qualifying continues Friday, Oct. 26, with squads 27-30 (squad 26 has been canceled) scheduled to start at 9 a.m., 1, 5 and 9 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The 9th Sofia International Open 2018, a popular non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 20-28 at bowling center Joy Station, a 20-laner in Sofia, 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 started on Saturday, Oct. 20 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 27, with the final squad 35 scheduled for 9.30 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum score is 300).

Total 56 players advance to the finals on Sunday, Oct. 28, including top 44 qualifiers, top 6 of squad 1-16 standings, top 2 of squad 17-25 standings, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad. Top 8 qualifiers earn two byes and qualifiers 9-16 receive 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 determine the stepladder finalists in the last four-game round with the pinfall from Round 3 being carried forward. The top 4 with the highest eight-game total bowl for the title in a traditional stepladder final.

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9th Sofia International Open 2018 – Qualifying Standings after 26/35 Squads

Top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads conducted Oct. 20-23 and top 2 from squads conducted Oct. 24 & 25 who finish outside the top 44, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

300 games (5) – Mehmet Kaya, Alexandru Arbanas, Ramon Hilferink, Maksim Eremenko, Jan Macek.

Herbert Bickel

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