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Morgan, Afifah, Lavoie lead Day 9 at AIK International Tournament

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Hadley Morgan of England, Malaysia’s Syaidatul Afifah and Francois Lavoie of Canada led squads 13, 14 and 15 on day nine qualifying and found their way on to the leaderboard at the 38th AIK International Tournament Powered by Track.

Morgan (pictured right and above), who won his lone European Bowling Tour title in the 2016 International Wroclaw Open, entered the tournament in the last squad on Thursday, 15th overall, and posted the highest six-game block of the day, averaging 243 for a 1458 total, just seven pins short of the lead.

The Englishman jumped into third place and is the best non-Swedish bowler in the 373-player field from 19 countries.

Squad 2 leaders James Gruffman (left) and Isabelle Hultin (right) held onto the lead with 1465 and 1463, respectively, posted on December 26. Hultin, who is the top female bowler in the field, received eight pins bonus each game, an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Malaysian women dominated squad 14 Thursday afternoon as Afifah, and PWBA champions Siti Safiyah and Sin Li Jane, who won the Team gold medal at the World Championships last month, took the top three spots.

Afifah (left) averaged 230.50 for 1383 scratch, including a 290 game, to tie Singapore’s Shayna Ng at 1431. Ng ranks fifth and Afifah sixth due to the higher last game rule, 245-221 in Ng’s favor.

Safiyah (right), silver medalist in all-events at the World Championships, totaled 1413 to leap into 10th place, just 12 pins short of the top 8, who will earn two byes and skip the semi-final round and the first round of the finals. Francois Louw of South Africa slipped to eighth place with 1425 (237.50).

Sin (left) climbed to 26th place with 1370 to position herself in the top 38, who will miss the semi-final round. Vasilis Stefopoulos of Greece currently holds 38th place with 1338 (223.00).

Swedes Dennis Eklund and Andreas Jonsson were second and third in squad 15 with 1412 and 1403 to move into 11th and 14th place, respectively.

Francois Lavoie (right) of Canada, who is looking for his third title on the European Bowling Tour, paced the first squad in Thursday (no. 12; squad 12 was canceled) with 1399 to take 15th place in the overall qualifying standings.

The 24-year-old right-hander had a career year in 2017, winning gold in doubles at the World Games, back-to-back titles on the 2017 European Bowling Tour and his third title on the PBA Tour before he capped off the year with victory in Masters at the World Bowling World Championships.

Singapore’s Bernice Lim (left) was just four pins behind Lavoie with 1395, including handicap, to finish the day in 17th place.

Syafiq Ridhwan (right) of Malaysia started squad 14 with a bang, rolling the second 300 game of the tournament (Lukas Sevelin of Sweden had the first in squad 8), but had to settle for 43 place with 1331 total.

Ridhwan’s compatriot Rafiq Ismail (left) holds the 74th and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1302 or an average of 217.

Qualifying continues on Friday, January 5, with squads 16-20 scheduled to start at 8 and 11.30 a.m., 3, 6.30 and 10 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 28-lane 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 15/23

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.

300 games (2) – Lukas Sevelin, Syafiq Ridhwan.

Herbert Bickel

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