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Martin Paulsson wins Qualifying in Sofia International Open


Martin Paulsson of Sweden led a field of 230 bowlers, 291 men and 39 women, from 28 countries to win the qualifying in the 8th Sofia International Open 2017 with 1408 total and an average of 234.67 for six games.

By virtue of finishing in the top 8, Paulsson (pictured above) received two byes for Sunday’s finals at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Remaining in second through fifth place were Georgos Stefanidis of Greece (1366), Finns Teemu Putkisto (1363), Tomas Käyhkö (right; 1360) and Ramon Hilferink of the Netherlands (1358).

Juhani Tonteri (left) tied Hilferink at 1358 by leading the penultimate squad 34 on Saturday afternoon and was ranked sixth overall due to Hilferink’s higher last game (245-222).

Alexandru Arbanas of Romania slipped to seventh place with 1355 while Brandon Roberts of England, who was second to Tonteri with 1351, took the eighth and last place to earn two byes.

Christopher Sloan (right) of Ireland, who led squad 32 with 1302, missed the top 8 by just one pin to lead the group of players (9-16) who earned one bye with 1350. Samantha Hannan (below left) of England was the best woman in the field in 14th place with 1331, including handicap.

16th place and the last bowler to skip the first round of the finals was Roman Ilyin of Ukraine with 1320.

England’s Jo Allsebrook and Peter Stevenson paced squads 33 and 35 with 1319 and 1305, respectively, to finish qualifying in 17th and 21st place.

Georgi Dimov (right) of Bulgaria was the best bowler from the host country as he hit the cut with 1266 and an average of 211.00. Defending champion Ghislaine Stigter-van der Tol was the first player out with 1257, but used a 232 game to qualify through the Desperado Squad.

The top 44 will be joined in the finals by 12 more players, who bowled their way into the finals through early bird and desperado squads.

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 ran through Saturday, Oct. 28, and concluded with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300).

Total 56 players advanced 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 – Standings after Qualifying and Desperado Squad

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 (places 53-56) advance to the finals.

Herbert Bickel

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