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Sloan, Hansen add their names to the leaderboard in Sofia, Bulgaria


Christopher Sloan of Ireland and Carsten Warming Hansen of Denmark both posted 1350 series Thursday’s at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria, to move into the top 8 in the 8th Sofia International Open 2017.

Hansen (right), the 2017 European Bowling Tour point ranking leader rolled games of 224, 226, 247, 196, 234 and 223 in squad 24 to move into fifth place in the standings.

Sloan (left), who bowls with two hands, tied Hansen one squad later behind games of 254, 248, 219, 191, 200 and 238. Hansen fell back into sixth place due to Sloan’s higher last game, which breaks the tie.

Georgos Stefanidis (right) of Greece, who had a 1366 series in squad 9, continued to lead the 193-player field from 27 countries. Stefanidis was followed by a pair of Finnish bowlers, Teemu Putkisto and Tomas Käyhkö, in second and third place with 1363 and 1360, respectively.

Alexandru Arbanas of Romania remained in fourth place with 1355. Kevin Karlsson of Sweden, who was second to Hansen in squad 24 with 1338, leaped into seventh place.

Rounding out the top 8, who will earn two byes at the end of the qualifying, was Alexey Parshukov (left) of Russia also with 1338 but the lower last game than Karlsson (235 to 211).

Karsten Aust (right and above) of Germany led the first squad on Thursday, 22nd overall, with 1332, including a huge 289 game to tie Stefanidis for the tournament’s high game. Aust moved into eighth place and leads the group of eight players who will earn a first-round bye.

Also in this group was Ian Robinson of Sweden, who became the 15th player who surpassed the 1300 mark as he toppled 1302 pins in squad 24 to take 15th place. Andrii Shovkun (left) of Ukraine led a low-scoring squad 23 with 1190, good for 55th place.

With 163 men and 30 women having completed at least one six-game qualifying block, Kevin Brockman of England holds the 44th and last spot to advance with 1211 and an average of 201.83.

Qualifying continues Friday, Oct. 27, with squads 27-30 scheduled to start at 10 a.m., 2, 6 and 9.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET) and squad 31 at 1 a.m. on early Saturday morning.

The 8th Sofia International Open 2017, a popular but non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 21-29 at bowling center Joy Station, a 20-laner in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. The tournament offers total prize fund of 55.000 Euro with 7.000 Euro going to the winner and a last-to-cash payout of 350 Euro for 56th place.

Qualifying of the Sofia Open starts on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST), and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, with the final squad 35 scheduled for 9.30 p.m. Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300).

Total 56 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, Oct. 29, including top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad. Top 8 qualifiers will earn two byes and qualifiers 9-16 receive a first-round bye.

The other 40 players will advance to the first of four 4-game rounds (rounds 1-3 starting from scratch). The field will be trimmed to 36, 20, and then 10 players who will determine the finalists in the last four-game round with the pinfall from Round 3 being carried forward. The top 4 after eight games will bowl for the title in a traditional stepladder final.

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8th Sofia International Open 2017 – Qualifying Standings after 26/35 Squads

Top 44 qualifiers, top 2 from squads 17-25 (places 45-46), top 6 from squads 1-16 (places 47-52), and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

Herbert Bickel

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