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Rafiq Ismail posts big numbers to lead Round Three at PBA/WBT Thailand

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Closing games of 290 and 286 propelled Rafiq Ismail of Malaysia into the third round lead in the PBA/WBT Thailand tournament at Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl Paragon in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday.

The gold medalist in masters (right) at the 2018 Asian Games, who started with games of 201, 237, 244 and 199, toppled 1457 pins, an average of 242.83. Ismail leads the top 12 players into a fourth round clash with the top 8 qualifiers on Friday morning at 10 a.m. Indochina Time (ICT).

Japan Professional Bowling Association star Shota Kawazoe (left) hit 1400 on the nose to finish the round in second place, with Kyle Troup United States in third place with 1381. Troup (right) won his third PBA title in the last World Bowling Tour event, the Storm Lucky Larsen Masters, earlier this month.

Defending champion Yannaphon Larp-apharat (left) of Thailand advanced in sixth place with 1352.

Three-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association Player of the Year Liz Johnson (right) was the lone woman who survived the third cut in seventh place with 1330, including 48 pins handicap.

Greg Young (left), United States, who rolled the fifth 300 game of the tournament in the closing game of round two earlier on Thursday to barely make the second cut with 1254, improved by 39 pins to advance in 10th place.

Finland’s two-handed star Osku Palermaa (right), who owns five PBA titles along with 13 wins on the European Bowling Tour, had four games between 197 and 201 and high games of 224 and 252 to take the 12th and last place to advance with 1274 (212.33).

Chris Barnes, USA, who was looking for his 20th career PBA title, led the second round with 1346, with Palermaa in second at 1334, but was eliminated in round three after closing his series with 179 and 1267 to miss the cut by seven pins.

As pinfall is dropped for tomorrow’s fourth round, the remaining 20 players, including four women, will start the last six-game block before the cut to the TV finals from scratch. The top 7 plus the next Thai bowler will bowl for the title in the stepladder finals scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ICT.

The PBA/World Bowling Tour Thailand 2018 tournament, a World Bowling Tour Tier 2 event, will be held September 22-28 at Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl inside the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall in Bangkok, Thailand.

The tournament offers total prize fund of 4.215 million Baht or approximately 136,000 U.S. Dollar. The winner will walk away with 1 million Baht ($32,258) and will be awarded a World Bowling Tour title and a Professional Bowlers Association title, if won by a PBA member (women only if they don’t accept handicap pins).

In the 2017 WBT Thailand finale, Yannaphon Larp-apharat doubled in the 10th frame to defeat two-handed lefty and 2016 WBT Thailand winner, Jesper Svensson of Sweden, 212-202, to become the first bowler from Thailand to win a PBA title.

All players must bowl nine games of qualifying in three-game blocks with unlimited re-entries. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game. All ties will be broken by a one-ball roll-off.

Total 42 bowlers survived the qualifying portion (Round 1), including the top 7 qualifiers, the two highest Thai bowlers outside the top 7 (ranked 8 & 9), the next 28 qualifiers (ranked 10-37), the next two Thai bowlers outside the top 37 (ranked 38-39) plus the top 3 of the one-game Desperado Squad (ranked 40-42).

Players ranked 1-8 received two byes and players ranked 9-24 got one bye. Bowlers ranked 25-42 advanced to the second round to bowl six games from scratch with the top 10 advancing to Round 3.

Those 10 and qualifiers 9-24 bowled another six games from scratch. The top 12 bowlers meet the top 8 qualifiers in Round 4. The remaining 20 players bowl another six-game block from scratch to cut to the top 7 plus the next Thai bowler (ranked 8th; if there is any in the fourth round) for the TV stepladder finals.<

Qualifiers 6, 7 and 8 meet in the opening stepladder match. The winner takes on no. 4 and 5 in the second match. The winner bowls no. 3 with the winner advancing to the semi-final match against no. 2. The winner of that match meets the top-seed in the championship match and must defeat him or her twice to win the title and the first-place check.

The World Bowling Tour 2018 has recently added another PBA Tour event to its schedule, which now features 13 stops, one each in Germany, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and Hong Kong and eight stops on U.S. soil.

The PBA-WBT Thailand is the 10th stop of the WBT 2018 and one of the tier 2 events this season. WBT tier 2 events award bowlers with four times the number of base WBT Rankings points (tier 1 six times and tier 3 two times).

The World Bowling Tour is sanctioned by World Bowling, the governing body for the sport of bowling. The tour is the premier international bowling series that is hosted in numerous, unique cities around the globe.

Due to an agreement between World Bowling and the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), World Bowling Tour tournaments will award a PBA Tour title if the winner is a PBA member (who doesn’t accept handicap pins). However, when an event is U.S. based and not a PBA event, no PBA title can be granted.

Men and women compete for points to earn places on the World Bowling Tour rankings. The points system is based on a continuous two-year cycle, where points include every event from the previous two year format.

The top three men and top three women in the annual points list will compete in the season-ending World Bowling Tour Finals, presented by PBA, which will be held at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, January 6, 2019.

World Bowling provides governance to international bowling and is made up of 134 bowling international federations. For more information on the World Bowling Tour, click here.

The 11th stop of the 2018 World Bowling Tour season is the FloBowling PBA Fall Swing Tulsa Open, a tier 2 event, which will be held at The Lanes at Coffee Creek in Owasso, Okla., USA, October 14-20.

Photos courtesy of Asian Bowling Federation (ABF).

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WBT Thailand 2018 – Round Three Results

Top 12 advance to fourth round. (F indicates female bowler (receive 8 pins handicap each game)

WBT Thailand 2018 – Round Two Results

Top 10 advance to third round. (F) indicates female bowler (receive 8 pins handicap each game)

300 games (1) – Greg Young.

Herbert Bickel

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