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Martin Paulsson shoots 1408 to take the lead in Sofia International Open


Martin Paulsson of Sweden powered his way into the lead in the 8th Sofia International Open 2017 averaging 234.67 for his six games in squad 28 Friday at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Paulsson (right), who won the gold medal in doubles with Mathias Årup at the 2010 Men’s World Championships in Munich, Germany, fired games of 202, 248, 207, 290, 244 and 217 to lead the field of 223 players from 28 countries with 1408 pinfall total.

Previous leader Georgos Stefanidis of Greece slipped to second place with distant 1366 and was followed by Teemu Putkisto and Tomas Käyhkö of Finland, who fell one spot to third and fourth place with 1363 and 1360, respectively.

Ramon Hilferink (right) of the Netherlands was 50 pins behind Paulsson with 1358 to leap into fifth place in the standings. Hilferink had games of 213, 229, 196, 219, 256 and 245.

Samantha Hannan (left) of England used high games of 248 and 256 to lead squad 30 and to move in 12th place in the standings with 1331, including eight pins handicap each game. Hannan is the best of 37 women in the field.

Frederik Øhrgaard (right) of Denmark led squad 29 with 1279 to take 25th place while defending champion Ghislaine Stigter van der Tol, Netherlands, sits in 38th place after leading squad 27 with 1251, including handicap.

Anton Sharov of Russia was the best of ten bowlers who registered for squad 31 at 1 a.m. on Saturday with 1159, an average of 193.17, good for 98th place overall.

Kevin Brockman of England improved his score by 27 pins to 1238 (206.33) only to hold the 44th and last spot to advance for the second consecutive day.

Qualifying continues Saturday, Oct. 28, with squads 32-35 scheduled to start at 10 a.m., 1, 5.30 and 9.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET) and concludes with the Desperado Squad slated for Midnight.

The 8th Sofia International Open 2017, a popular but non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 21-29 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 starts on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST), and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, with the final squad 35 scheduled for 9.30 p.m. Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300).

Total 56 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, Oct. 29, including top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad. Top 8 qualifiers will earn two byes and qualifiers 9-16 receive a first-round bye.

The other 40 players will 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 will determine the finalists in the last four-game round with the pinfall from Round 3 being carried forward. The top 4 after eight games will bowl for the title in a traditional stepladder final.

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8th Sofia International Open 2017 – Qualifying Standings after 31/35 Squads

Top 44 qualifiers, top 2 from squads 17-25 (places 45-46), top 6 from squads 1-16 (places 47-52), and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

Herbert Bickel

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