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Rob Thurlby leads penultimate qualifying day at 30th Irish Open


Rob Thurlby of England led the fourth qualifying day of the Irish Open Tenpin Bowling Championships 2018 Friday at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin with 1478 total and an average of 246.33 to move into second place in the overall standings.

The two-time European Bowling Tour champion (pictured right and above) had games of 219, 268, 279, 227, 268 and 217 in the first of four squads on Friday, 8th overall, to leap 58 spots improving his previous high series by 231 pins. He received a 100 Euro bonus for winning the squad.

Barry Foley (left) of Ireland continued to lead the 181-player field from 17 countries with 1509 total and an average of 251.50, including a perfect game, one of seven 300 games in this tournament so far. Foley, the 2013 Irish Open champion, posted the third-highest 1472 series in squad 10 to earn his second 100 Euro bonus.

Steve Gastmans of Belgium and Patrick Meka of the Netherlands slipped to third and fourth place with 1469 and 1443. Meka’s compatriot Ramon Hilferink (right) closed squad 9 with 248, 258 and 267 to win the squad and to jump into fifth place with 1436 total (239.33).

Andy Jones of England, who was next to Thurlby in squad 8 with 1436, sits in sixth place due to the lower last game (246), which breaks the tie. Stephen Joyce of Ireland was just one pin behind Hilferink to move into seventh place with 1435. Rounding out the top 8 was Alan Bride of Ireland with 1430.

Einar Mar Björnsson (left) of Iceland led the last squad on Friday (#11) with 1420, including a high game of 278, to move into 12th place in the standings. Defending champion Tore Torgersen of Norway posted 1368 in squad 9, good for 32nd place.

2017 Irish Open runner-up Keira Reay of Scotland is the best of 34 women in 33rd place with 1367, followed by Professional Women’s Bowling Association champion and 2017 PWBA Rookie of the Year, Daria Pajak (right) of Poland, who is 37th with 1362.

Eoin McLoughlin (left), Ireland (25th, 1382), Pierre Paugnat (below right), France (39th, 1361) and Glenn Richardson, England (81st, 1264) brought the number of 300 games to seven.

Niklas Jannik Sörensen of Denmark holds the 53rd and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1319 or an average of 219.83, including handicap.

Qualifying commences Saturday, January 20 with squads 12-14 scheduled to start at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and concludes with the Desperado Squad slated for 7.30 p.m.

The 30th Irish Open Championships in association with Storm is the third tournament on the 2018 European Bowling Tour and the first of three “EBT Satellite” events this season, the lowest of five EBT tournament categories (platinum, gold, silver, bronze and satellite).

The Irish Open takes place from January 15-22 at 18-lane Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin, Ireland, and offers total prize money of 20.000 Euro with 4.000 Euro going to the winner, 2.000 to the runner-up and 1.500 and 1.250 to the third and fourth place finishers, respectively.

Low to cash is 36th place, worth 120 Euro. The tournament also offers a high performance bowling ball for the first 300 game, high game awards for men and women, extra prizes for the top woman and the top 4 seniors (must be born on Jan. 1, 1968, or earlier) as well as a 100 Euro bonus for each of the 14 squad winners.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) started on Sunday, Jan. 14, and concludes Saturday, Jan. 20, with squad 14 followed by the one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7.30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (up to 292 – maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Total 62 athletes will advance to the finals, including the top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing including squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top four qualifiers receive two byes while qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye. The remaining 54 finalists bowl three games, starting from scratch, with the top 28 advancing to the second round.

32 players bowl another three-game block, starting from scratch, after which the field is cut to the top 12. Those 12, seeded 5-16, and the top four qualifiers, seeded 1-4, bowl four rounds of single-elimination match play with the two-game total determining the winner.

In each round, the highest seeded player bowls the lowest seeded player, the second highest seeded player bowls the second lowest seeded player, and so on. The field is trimmed to eight, four and then two players who bowl for the title and the 4.000 Euro top prize.

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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2018 Irish Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 7/14

Top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-4 and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad advance to the finals. The top four qualifiers receive two byes, qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye.

300 games (7) – Aidan Byrne, Teemu Putkisto, Paul McCauley, Barry Foley, Eoin McLoughlin, Glenn Richardson, Jean-Pierre Paugnat.

Herbert Bickel

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