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Squad 5 leader Björn Lindqvist cracks top 8 at AIK Stockholm

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The top 8 players after qualifying at the 38th AIK International Tournament Powered by Track will earn two byes and skip the semi-final round and the first round of the finals.

Björn Lindqvist (pictured above) led squad 5 Friday at Bowl-O-Rama in Stockholm, Sweden, averaging 231.17 for six games to move into seventh place in the standings. The Swede started his first attempt with back-to-back 230 and added 211, 248 and 213 before he closed with his high game of 255 for 1387.

Lindqvist tied Kim Bolleby, a member of Thailand’s national team, who ranks sixth as he finished his 1387 series in squad 2 with 259, which breaks the tie.

The top 5 spots belong to Swedish bowlers. James Gruffman (left), who is looking to win his second European Bowling Tour title, leads the 193 bowlers from seven countries with 1465 and an average of 244.17.

Isabelle Hultin, the best woman in the field so far, sits in second place with 1463, including eight pins handicap each game. Three-time EBT champion Peter Hellström is third with 1427 and is followed by Joakim Biehl in fourth place with 1405 and Filip Wilhelmsson in fifth place with 1388.

Richard Dahllöf of Sweden currently rounds out the top with 1384 or an average of 230.67.

Lindqvist (left) out averaged his nearest competitor in squad 5 by more than 15 pins. Andreas Jonsson, Sweden, toppled 1295 pins to take 29th place.

Jonsson was followed by his compatriot Andreas Kleinschnittger, who totaled 1278 to sit in 37th place, just one pin above the cut line for the top 38 (Andreas Andersson, Sweden, 1277), who will miss the semi-final round.

Caroline Jonsson of Sweden currently holds the 74th and last place to advance from the overall leaderboard with 1202 or an average of 200.33, including handicap.

Qualifying continues on Saturday, December 30, with squad 6 scheduled to start at 1.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET).

The 38th AIK International Tournament Powered by Track, which will be held from December 26th through January 7th at 28-lane Bowl-O-Rama in Stockholm, Sweden, is the season-opening event of the 2018 European Bowling Tour.

A newcomer on the Tour, the “silver” level tournament offers total prize money of 475.000 Swedish Kronor (SEK), roughly 48.000 Euro or 57,000 U.S. Dollar, including extra prizes for women, seniors, juniors and under 200 average bowlers.

The champion will walk away with the 60.000 SEK top prize (6.070€ / $7,195), with 30.000 SEK going to the runner-up and 20.000 SEK to the third place finisher. Low to cash is 56th place, worth 4.500 SEK (455€ / $540).

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) begins Tuesday, Dec. 26, with squads 1 & 2 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 7, with squad 23.

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

Total 100 players will advance, including the top 74 in the overall qualifying standings, the top 4 “early birds” (squads 1-3), top 4 women, top 4 juniors (born in 1997 or later), top 4 seniors (born in 1968 or earlier) and top 4 bowlers with a certified average under 200, who are not among the top 74, plus the top 3 players each from Turbo G5 (highest qualifying game #5) and Turbo G6 (highest qualifying game #6).

The top 8 qualifiers go directly to Final Round 2, while qualifiers 9-38, the four “early birds” and the Turbo G5 and G6 leaders advance to Final Round 1. The remaining 56 finalists meet in the semi-final round on Saturday evening, Jan. 6, to bowl six games starting from scratch with the top 12 advancing to Final Round 1 on Sunday morning, Jan. 7.

Final Round 1 and 2 are also six-game rounds beginning from scratch (no carryover pins), which trim the field to 32 and then 16 players. Round 2 pins carry over to the finals.

Final Round 3 and 4 are four-game rounds after which the field is cut to the top 8 and then three players, who determine the champion in a stepladder final. No. 3 takes on no. 2 for the right to bowl the top-seed for the title.

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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38th AIK International – Qualifying Standings after Squad 5/23

Players with position, country and 6-game total; women’s scores including 8 pins handicap each game. Top 74 qualifiers plus another 26 players will advance.

Herbert Bickel

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