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Stuart Williams takes commanding lead in San Marino Open


Stuart Williams of England raced into a big lead Friday evening at Rose’n Bowl in Serravalle, San Marino, as the six-time European Bowling Tour titlist fired a 1592 series in the 17th qualifying squad at the San Marino Open.

Williams (above), who won the Viper Open in 2011 for his lone PBA title, averaged 265.33, including games of 265, 280, 278, 279, 254 and 236, to overtake previous leader and fellow PBA champion Osku Palermaa (right) of Finland by 101 pins.

Palermaa, who slipped to second place with 1491, was followed by Lucas Legnani (left) of Argentina, who used high games of 268, 277 and 279 to lead squad 16 with 1484 en route to leap into third place in the overall qualifying standings.

Sweden’s Jenny Wegner (right) and Mattias Wetterberg fell two spots to fourth and fifth place, respectively. Wegner, the 2016 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup champion is the best of 24 women in the 198-player field from 29 countries with 1476, including 48 pins handicap, with Wetterberg four pins behind at 1472.

Francois Louw (left) of South Africa posted 1464 in the first squad on Friday, 15th overall, to win his second squad after squad 11 and to improve his previous high score by 22 pins. Louw closed his series with 280 and back-to-back 257 games to leap two spots into sixth place.

Rounding out the top eight, who will bypass the first two rounds of the finals, were Vassilis Stefopoulos of Greece and Peter Hellström (right) of Sweden with 1463 and 1460, respectively.

2016 European Bowling Tour point ranking leader Richard Teece of England (11th; 1448) and Sweden’s Pontus Andersson (12th; 1447) and Martin Larsen (13th; 1446) moved into the group of players who will earn a first-round bye (places 9-16).

Richard’s brother Ray Teece and Georgios Stefanidis (left, r-l) of Greece achieved perfection the fourth game of squad 17 bringing the number of 300 games in this tournament to nine. While Stefanidis moved into 25th place with 1412, Ray Teece finished with 1247 sitting in 76th place with 1301.

With three more qualifying squads to go on Saturday, the score to make the first cut is 1383, an average of 230.50, set by Antonino Fiorentino (right) of Italy.

Qualifying continues Saturday, July 15, with squads 18, 19 and 20 scheduled to start at 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. and concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad slated for 10 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The Storm San Marino Open is the 6th stop of the 2017 European Bowling Tour and the first out of two EBT “Gold” tournaments this season.

The 13th edition will be held July 8-16 at 18-lane Rose’n Bowl in Serravalle, San Marino and offers total prize fund of 62.100 Euro with 8.000 Euro going to the winner, 5.000 to the runner-up, 3.300 to the third and 2.400 to the fourth place finisher.

Qualifying of the San Marino Open (six-game series, unlimited re-entries) runs from Saturday, July 8, through Saturday, July 15, with the last qualifying squad 20 scheduled for 7 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). The qualifying winner will receive a 1.000 Euro bonus.

Qualifying concludes with the one-game Desperado Squad scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (maximum is 300) throughout the entire tournament, a standard for women on the European Bowling Tour. The top three women based on the final standings will receive 500, 350 and 200 Euro bonuses, respectively.

Total 48 players will advance to the finals on Sunday, July 16, including the top 35 qualifiers plus the top 3 from the squads conducted on July 8-9, the top 3 from the squads conducted on July 10-11, the top 4 from the squads conducted on July 12-13, and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top 8 qualifiers receive two byes and qualifiers 9-16 get a first-round bye. The other 32 players will bowl four games from scratch to cut to the top 16, who will meet qualifiers 9-16 in the second round. Those 24 bowl another four games from scratch to cut to the top 10, who will join the top eight in a six-game round before the cut to the top 4.

The four finalists will determine the winner in an eliminator-format finals which will feature three one-game rounds. All four players bowl the opening game, with the lowest-scoring player being eliminated. In the two rounds to follow, the same “low man out” format applies, with pinfall carrying over. The last man standing will be declared the champion.

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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13th Storm San Marino Open – Qualifying Standings after Squad 17/20

Top 35 qualifiers plus the top 3 from the squads conducted on July 8-9, the top 3 from the squads conducted on July 10-11, the top 4 from the squads conducted on July 12-13, and the top 3 from the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

300 games (9) – Anton Ahlgren, Martin Paulsson, Markus Jansson, Robin Persson, Osku Palermaa, Daniel Fransson, Rodolfo Madriz, Georgios Stefanidis, Ray Teece.

Herbert Bickel

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