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South Africa’s Francois Louw moves into fourth place in Odense

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Francois Louw of South Africa averaged 225 in the seventh qualifying squad of the Odense International Thursday afternoon at Odense Bowling Center in Odense, Denmark, to jump into fourth place in the overall standings with 1351 six-game total.

Louw, a frequent competitor on the European Bowling Tour and currently the no. 7 in the men’s point ranking, had games of 231, 247, 274, 182, 199 and 218 to set the pace in the lone squad on Thursday (squad 8 has been canceled).

Lars Nielsen (left) of Denmark, leads the qualifying since the very first squad with 1399 and an average of 233.17. His compatriots Mikael Brændeskov and Thomas Larsen, a four-time European Bowling Tour champion, sit in second and third place with 1397 and 1366, respectively.

Louw was followed by three bowlers from the Qatar national team. Ghanim Aboujassoum (right), who improved his score for the third consecutive day, became the eighth player who surpassed the 1300 mark. Aboujassoum used five games between 236 and 214 and a low game of 181 for 1309 to leap two spots into seventh place.

By virtue of finishing 1, 2 in the standings of squads 5-7, Louw and Aboujassoum are automatically qualified for Sunday’s finals, if they drop out of the top 24 in the remaining five squads. If they stay in the top 24, the automatic spot goes to the next qualifier in order.

Next in line is Jassim Al Muraikhi (left), who chalked up 1299, including a 278 game, to move into ninth place. Hazeem Al Muraikhi was 12 pins behind to take 12th place with 1287.

The No. 24 score to beat to advance is currently 1222, an average of 203.67, set by Søren Aahman of Denmark.

Qualifying continues on Friday, September 1, with squads 9 and 10 scheduled to start at 4 and 8 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The Odense International 2017 is the ninth stop of the 2017 European Bowling Tour and the second of three EBT “Satellite” tournaments this season, the lowest of the five EBT categories. The tournament will be held from August 27 through September 3 at 20-lane Odense Bowling Center in Odense, Denmark.

Players compete for total prize money of 113.000 Danish Kronor (DKK) or roughly 15.190 Euro with 25.000 DKK (3.360 Euro) going to the winner, 12.000 DKK to the runner-up and 6.000 apiece to the third and fourth place finishers. Low to cash is 32nd place worth 1.800 DKK or 242 Euro.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) got underway on Sunday, August 27, and concludes Saturday, Sept. 2, with squad 13, followed by the ultimate one-game Desperado Squad. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Total 32 players qualify for the finals, including the top 24 players from the overall qualifying standings, the top two players each from a separate leaderboard of squads 1-4 and 5-8, who are not among the top 24, one player each from the Turbo 1 and 2 list and the top 2 players of the Desperado Squad.

The Turbo 1 and 2 winners are the players with the highest score in the fifth (Turbo 1) and sixth (Turbo 2) game in any of the qualifying series (optional; extra entry fee required).

The top 10 qualifiers receive bonus pins for the first round of the finals as follows:
Qualifying winner: 140 pins; 2nd place: 120; 3rd place: 100; 4th place: 80; 5th place: 60; 6th place: 50; 7th place: 40; 8th place: 30; 9th place: 20; and 10th place: 10.

All 32 finalists bowl six games. The top 16 with the highest six-game total including bonus pins and women’s handicap advance to the second round with the total pinfall carried forward.

Those 16 bowl an additional four games to cut to the top 8 who will be seeded 1-8 for the match play finals featuring one-game rounds. In each round, the highest seeded player selects his opponent, then the second-highest seeded player, and so on.

The four winners of the Round of 8 plus two “lucky losers” (the two highest scoring players of the four losers) advance. The three winners of the Round of 6 plus one lucky loser go to the semifinals. The winners of that round bowl for the title.

The 2017 European Bowling Tour features 11 tournaments in 9 countries including two “Platinum”, two “Gold”, one “Silver”, three “Bronze” and three “Satellite” events, which offer total prize fund of roughly 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 11th EBT Masters February 12, 2018 in Tilburg, Netherlands.

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2017 Odense International – Standings after Qualifying Squad 8/13

Top 24 players, the top two players each from a separate leaderboard of Squads 1-4 and 5-8, who are not among the top 24, one player each from the Turbo 1 and 2 list and the top 2 players of the Desperado Squad advance to the finals on Sunday, Sept. 3.

Herbert Bickel

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