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Sean Rash wins qualifying at WBT Thailand; leads 42 bowlers into finals


Sean Rash, United States, averaged 251.11 for nine games to win the qualifying of the World Bowling Tour Thailand 2017 an to lead the top 39 players plus three players of the Desperado Squad into the finals Thursday and Friday at the Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl Paragon in Bangkok, Thailand.

The 12-time PBA champion and former Player of the Year (pictured above) posted the highest three-game series of 792 and added 748 and 720 to pace the 142-player field from 25 countries with 2260 pinfall total.

Ryan Lalisang (left) of Indonesia, who led the standings since the first day, slipped to second place with 2244 (249.33). Two-time PBA Player of the Mika Koivuniemi of Finland posted 764 and 719 to his previous high series of 749 to leap into third place with 2232.

18-time PBA champion and former PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes (right), United States, slipped two spots to fourth place with 2223 and was followed by Irish two-hander Chris Sloan, who was one pin back in fifth place with 2222.

Diana Zavjalova (left) of Latvia was the best of 21 women in the field in sixth place. The two-time USBC Queens champion toppled 2147 pins, an average of 238.56, and added eight pins handicap each game for 2219 total.

Rounding out the top 7 was 4-time PBA champion and 214 Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent, United States, who totaled 2218, an average of 246.44. The top seven and the best Thai bowler, Yannaphon Larp-apharat (right; 2217), received two byes and will be seeded into the fourth round Friday morning.

The second-best Thai Surasak Manuwong (2180), who was seeded ninth, and qualifiers 10-24 earned one bye. Michael Mak (left) of Hong Kong missed the top 7 by two pins in 10th place with 2216. Eight-time PBA titlist Bill O’Neill, United States, took the 24th and last place with 2169 or an average of 241.

The first round of the finals, second overall, features qualifiers 25 through 37 plus the next two Thais and the top 3 players of the one-game Desperado Squad. Sharon Limansantoso (right) of Indonesia led the group with 2168 and Shalin Zulkifli of Malaysia took the last with 2156 (239.56), both including handicap.

Annop Arromsaranon (left; 2154), gold medalist in singles at the Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games last month, and Badin Lerdpiriyasakulkit (2123) got the wild cards for the local bowlers.

Mike Chan (259) of Hong Kong, Syaffique Ikhwan (258) of Malaysia and Hassan Alshaikh (246) of Saudi Arabia posted the three highest games in the Desperado Squad to secure the last spots for the finals.

The World Bowling Tour Thailand 2017 tournament will be held from Sept. 30-Oct. 6 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 125,660 U.S. Dollar. The winner will walk away with 1 million Baht or roughly $29,812 and will be awarded a World Bowling Tour title and a Professional Bowlers Association title, if won by a PBA member.

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 will survive the qualifying (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 receive two byes and players ranked 9-24 get one bye. Bowlers ranked 25-42 advance to the second round to bowl six games from scratch with the top 10 advancing to Round 3.

Those 10 and qualifiers 9-24 bowl 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 8) for the stepladder finals.

In the first round, the No. 6, 7 and 8 seed will square off. The winner takes on No. 4 and 5 seed in the second match. The winner of that match bowls the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinal. The winner meets the No. 2 seed in the semifinal. The winner advances to the championship match in which the top-seeded player must be defeated twice to win the title.

The WBT Thailand event is the 4th tournament on the 2017 World Bowling Tour. The World Bowling 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 award a PBA Tour title if the winner is a PBA member who doesn’t accept handicap pins.

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. “Majors” award double points.

The top three men and top three women in the annual points list will compete in the season-ending World Bowling Tour Finals, which will be held November 19th at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, in conjunction with the PBA World Series of Bowling IX (Nov. 7-19, 2017).

The last WBT event this season is the PBA World Championship November 13-19, also at the National Bowling Stadium.

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.

Photos courtesy of Asian Bowling Federation (ABF).

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WBT Thailand 2017 – Standings after Qualifying and Desperado Squad

Total 42 players advance to the finals. Top 7 plus the top local bowler (seeded 8th) earn two byes. The next local bowler (seeded 9th) plus qualifiers 10-24 receive one bye. Qualifiers 25-37 plus another two local bowlers (seeded 38th & 39th) and the top 3 of the Desperado Squad (places 40-42) advance to second round. (f) indicates female bowler (scores include 8 pins handicap each game)

Herbert Bickel

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