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Obara, Matsunaga triumph in Chunichi Cup 2017 Tokai Open


Teruyuki Obara of Kanagawa and Hiromi Matsunaga of Fukuoka captured the men’s and women’s title in the Japan Professional Bowlers Association’s Chunichi Cup 2017 Tokai Open, Sunday, July 16, at Hoshigaoka Bowl in Aichi, Japan.

In the men’s title match, Obara (left and above) closed with nine consecutive strikes to shut out Toshifumi Kojima (right) of Okayama, 270-234. It was the sixth career title for the 43-year-old lefthander, who ended a 16-year title drought. His last title came in the 2001 Tokai Open.

In a low-scoring women’s finale, Matsunaga (left and above), a 33-year-old right-hander, pulled away with three strikes in frames seven through nine to defeat three-time JPBA champion Misa Domoto (below right), 33, of Shizuoka, 193-165.

Matsunaga, who won the JPBA women’s Triple Crown in 2014 (led the Women’s Tour in Points, Average and Earnings), earned her 13th career title and the second in the Tokai Open after 2014. The champions each received the 1.5 million Japanese Yen or approximately $14,323.

Both events, men and women, offered 5.5 million JPY each and were held as separate tournaments at the same time in the same venue. The men’s Tokai Open drew 200 players, 140 pro and 60 amateurs, while the women’s event featured 136 players, 96 pros and 40 amateurs.

Men and women were split into two squads to roll 10 games of qualifying. The 32 men from each squad advance to the quarterfinals. The top 4 squad leaders received one bye. The 18 women from each squad advanced to the semi-finals.

In the quarterfinals, the 56 men were split into 14 groups with four players each to bowl three games. In each group, the player with the highest three-game total and the player with the highest 13-game total (accumulated score of qualifying and quarterfinals) advance to the semi-finals.

The remaining 36 men and 36 women were split into 12 groups to bowl four games in the semi-finals with each group leader advancing to round robin. Those 12 were split into four groups with the top 4 after four games advancing to the modified stepladder finals.

All four finalists met in a one-game shootout match with the two highest scores advancing to the title match.

Kojima, a 33-year-old right-hander of Okayama, whose lone JPBA title came in the 2011 Tokai Open, left no doubt that he would go to the men’s title match as he reeled off five consecutive strikes in frames 2 to 6 to win the playoffs with 232.

Kojima’s fellow one-time JPBA titlists Shuichi Heki (left), 33, of Kagoshima and southpaw Naoyuki Iguchi (right), 40, of Tokyo, struggled, each leaving three open frames, while Obara threw three strikes in a row in frames seven through nine to escape with a 198-193-180 victory. Heki finished third and Iguchi fourth.

Fresh off a second-place finish in the 33rd Rokko Queens Open earlier this month, Matsunaga, who was the JPBA women’s point ranking leader in five of the past six years (2011-2014, 2016) started the women’s playoffs with a strike and two single-pin spares and then went off the sheet for 269.

Domoto used a five-bagger mid game to take the second spot for the TV finals with 233. Two-time JPBA champion Nao Ohishi (left), 30, of Yamagata and Mayumi Naitoh (right), 32, of Saitama, who was looking to win her first title, failed to advance and had to settle for third and fourth place with 194 and 181, respectively.

The next event on the Japan Professional Bowlers Association schedule is the Sky-A Cup 2017 Pro Bowling Rookie Cup for women August 1-2 at Sport Urawa Kokusai Bowl in Saitama, Japan.

Results and photos courtesy of JPBA Media Relations.

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JPBA Chunichi Cup 2017 Tokai Open – Men’s Division

Hoshigaoka Bowl in Aichi, Japan (July 13-16, 2017)

Championship Round:
1. Teruyuki Obara, Kanagawa, 468 (2 games), 1,500,000 JPY
2. Toshifumi Kojima, Okayama, 466 (2 games), 750,000 JPY
3. Shuichi Heki, Kagoshima, 193 (1 game), 400,000 JPY
4. Naoyuki Iguchi, Tokyo, 180 (1 game), 330,000 JPY

Playoff Results:
Shootout Match: Kojima (232), Obara (198), Heki (193), Iguchi (180);

Heki and Iguchi eliminated.
Championship: Obara def. Kojima, 270-234.

JPBA Chunichi Cup 2017 Tokai Open – Women’s Division

Hoshigaoka Bowl in Aichi, Japan (July 13-16, 2017)

Championship Round:
1. Hiromi Matsunaga, Fukuoka, 462 (2 games), 1,500,000 JPY
2. Misa Domoto, Shizuoka, 398 (2 games), 750,000 JPY
3. Nao Ohishi, Yamagata, 194 (1 game), 400,000 JPY
4. Mayumi Naitoh, Saitama, 181 (1 game), 330,000 JPY

Playoff Results:
Shootout Match: Matsunaga (269), Domoto (233), Ohishi (194), Naitoh (181);
Ohishi and Naitoh eliminated.
Championship: Matsunaga def. Domoto, 193-165.

Herbert Bickel

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