The fourth qualifying squad of the 38th AIK International Tournament
Powered by Track featured the maximum number of 56 players, yet there were no changes to the leaderboard Thursday at Bowl-O-Rama in Stockholm, Sweden.
Patrik Nilsson (pictured above and right) of Sweden set the pace with 1252 and an average of 208.67. Nilsson had games of 159, 237, 201, 202, 229 and 224 to move into 43 place in the overall standings with four of the 23 qualifying squads in the books.
His compatriots Dennis Andersson (1219, 54th) and Ingvar Sjögren (1211, 58th) were the only other players Thursday who surpassed the 1200-mark (200 average).
Swedish bowlers continued to lead the 146-player field from seven countries. Squad 2 leader James Gruffman (left), a one-time European Bowling Tour titlist, held onto the lead with 1465, an average of 244.17 for six games.
Isabelle Hultin is the best woman in the field so far with 1463, including eight pins handicap each game. Three-time EBT champion Peter Hellström (right), who led the opening squad with 1427, remained in third place.
Squad 3 leader Joakim Biehl stayed in fourth place with 1405 total, while Filip Wilhelmsson rounds out the top 5 with 1388.
Former Swedish youth national team member Kim Bolleby (left), now bowling for Thailand, is the best non-Swedish player in the field in sixth place with 1387.
Susanna Kiiskinen of Sweden currently holds the 74th and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1163.
Qualifying continues on Friday, December 29, with squad 5 scheduled to start at 6 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.
Joakim Biehl moves into fourth place at AIK International Tournament
James Gruffman averages 244 to take the early lead in Stockholm
2018 European Bowling Tour gets underway with AIK International Tournament
2018 European Bowling Tour Schedule of Events
38th AIK International – Qualifying Standings after Squad 4/23
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.