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Malaysians Siti Safiyah, Rafiq Ismail shoot into lead at Brunswick Euro Challenge


Siti Safiyah and Rafiq Ismail of Malaysia overtook previous leader Annop Arromsaranon of Thailand by ten and five pins to take over the lead in the qualifying of the 15th Brunswick Euro Challenge in Thursday’s squad 9 at Dream-Bowl Palace in the Greater Munich area in Germany.

Safiyah (right and featured photo), who won the gold medal in the 2017 World Championships team event with the Malaysian women, rolled games of 267, 218, 233, 267, 258 and 244 for 1487 pinfall, an average of 248.83, and added eight pins handicap each game to lead the 285-player field from 35 countries with 1535 total.

Ismail (left) had the field-best 255 average, including games of 236, 245, 289, 224, a near-perfect 299 and 237, but had to settle for second place with 1530.

Jesper Svensson (right) of Sweden, who at the age of 23 owns eight European Bowling Tour titles along with seven Professional Bowlers Association titles, led squad 11 with 1527 (254.50) to move into third place in the overall standings. The two-handed lefty five games between 248 and 268 and a low game of 227.

Annop Arromsaranon (left) of Thailand, who led the field since the opening day, slipped to fourth place with 1525. Annop is followed by Shayna Ng of Singapore and Adrian Ang of Malaysia in fifth and sixth place with 1514. Qualifying ties are broken by the highest last game.

Anggie Ramirez Perea of Colombia and Emil Ågren and Sweden also joined the 1500-club on Thursday. Ramirez toppled 1465 pins (244.17) and added 48 pins handicap to leap into seventh place with 1513 total.

From left: Anthony Simonsen, Osku Palermaa, Kim Bolleby and Jason Sterner.

Ågren (right), who rolled one of seven 300 games on Thursday, finished three pins back in eighth place with 1510. Ågren, his fellow countrywoman Jenny Wegner, Ireland’s Christopher Sloan, Osku Palermaa of Finland, Kim Bolleby of Thailand, USA’s Anthony Simonsen and Jason Sterner brought the number of 300 games to nine.

The cut to make the top 12, who will earn a first-round bye for the finals, is up to 1495 and an average of 249.17, while the cut to make the top 50, who will advance to the finals through the overall qualifying standings, surpassed the 1400-mark. Tony Wong of Hong Kong holds the 50th and last spot to advance with 1417 and an average of 236.17.

Qualifying continues on Friday, March 16, with squads 12, 13 and 14 starting at noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Central European Time (CET).

The 15th Brunswick Euro Challenge is the fourth stop on the 2018 European Bowling Tour and the first of two EBT “Platinum” events this season, the highest of the five EBT tournament categories (platinum, gold, silver, bronze and satellite).

The BEC, which is also the curtain-raiser to the World Bowling Tour 2018, will be held from March 10-18 at Dream-Bowl Palace in Unterföhring in suburban Munich, Germany, the biggest bowling center in Europe with 52 lanes.

Almost 400 players from 38 countries are expected to compete for total prize fund of 105.000 Euro with 11.500 Euro going to the winner, 8.500 Euro to the first runner-up and 5.500 Euro to the third place finisher. Low to cash is 64th place, worth 800 Euro.

Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (up to 292 – maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events. The top three women after qualifying receive 1.200, 700 and 500 Euro bonuses, respectively.

Qualifying kicked off Saturday, March 10, and runs through Saturday, March 17, with the final Squad 18 slated for 8 p.m. Central European Time (CET). Qualifying concludes with the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad at 11.30 p.m.

Total 64 players qualify for the finals on Sunday, March 18, including the top 50 in the overall qualifying standings, the top 5 each from a separate leaderboard of the squads conducted March 13-14 and 10-11, and the top 4 of the Desperado Squad.

The top 12 qualifiers receive a first-round bye. The other 52 players bowl six games scratch to cut to the top 16 who will join the top 12 qualifiers in round two. Those 28 bowl another six games scratch after which the field is trimmed to the top 8 for match play.

Round two pinfall will be carried forward. During the seven games of match play, players receive 30 bonus pins for winning a match and 15 pins each in the event of a tie.

The top 3 players with the highest 13-game total, including bonus pins, will determine the champion in a stepladder final. The No. 3 seed bowls the No. 2 seed and the winner of the semifinal match takes on the No. 1 seed for the title and the 11.500 Euro top prize.

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.

The World Bowling Tour is sanctioned by World Bowling, the governing body for the sport of bowling. The tour is the premier international bowling series that is hosted in numerous, unique cities around the globe.

Due to an agreement between World Bowling and the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), World Bowling Tour tournaments will award a PBA Tour title if the winner is a PBA member who doesn’t accept handicap pins.

The World Bowling Tour 2018 consists of ten stops in Germany, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Hong Kong and the United States of America (5).

Men and women compete for points to earn places on the World Bowling Tour rankings. The points system is based on a continuous two-year cycle, where points include every event from the previous two year format. “Majors” award double points.

The top three men and top three women in the annual points list will compete in the season-ending World Bowling Tour Finals (date and venue tba).

World Bowling provides governance to international bowling and is made up of 134 bowling international federations. For more information on the World Bowling Tour, click here.

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2018 Brunswick Euro Challenge – Qualifying Standings after Squad 11/18

Top 50 qualifiers, top 5 from March 13-14 squads (places 51-55), top 5 from March 10-11 squads (places 56-60) and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals on Sunday, March 18.

300 games (9) – Adrian Ang, Christoph Schurian, Jenny Wegner, Christopher Sloan, Osku Palermaa, Anthony Simonsen, Kim Bolleby, Jason Sterner, Emil Ågren.

Herbert Bickel

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