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Swedes Elofsson, Olsson new leaders in Sofia International Open


2015EBT03MatthiasOlssonIn a hard fought battle for the lead in squad 19, Anton Elofsson topped fellow Swede Mattias Olsson by five pins to surge into the lead in the qualifying of the 7th Sofia International Open 2016 Wednesday at bowling center Joy Station in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Olsson (right) took a commanding lead with games of 265 and 246, but Elofsson, who started with 219 and 220 narrowed the gap to 18 pins in game three (220-182). In a low-scoring fourth game, the Swedes almost matched each other (167-168) before both closed strong.

Elofsson (pictured above) topped Olsson in both games, 248-235 and 244-233, to lead the field of 137 players from 19 countries with 1334 total and an average of 222.33. Olsson moved into second place in the standings with 1329 (221.50).

2016SIOHadleyMorganThe duo also sits atop a separate leaderboard which will include all squads contested on Wednesday and Thursday. The top 2 players will earn automatic berths into Sunday’s finals in case they don’t finish in the top 44. If they will make the cut, the automatic spot goes to the next qualifier in order.

2016SIOZoranBanjacDefending champion Hadley Morgan (left) of England, who led squad 18 with 1279, fell from first to third place with 1321. He was followed by Zoran Banjac (right) of Croatia in fourth place with 1312.

2016SIOVictorDumitrascuRounding out the top 5 was Victor Dumitrascu (left), who became the fourth player in this year’s event who surpassed the 1300-mark. The Romanian started squad 17 with a big 258 game and added five games between 204 and 222 for 1307 total and an average of 217.83.

2016SIOYavorMilanovThe best Bulgarian bowler in the field, Yavor Milanov (right), slipped four spots to 10th place with 1283. His fellow countrywoman Didi Ilieva (below left) was the best of 17 women in 17th place with 1255, including 8 pins handicap each game.

2016SIODidiIlievaStefanos Kazandzis (below right) of Greece paced squad 20, the last squad on Wednesday with 1222, good enough for 27th place in the overall qualifying standings.

2016SIOStefanosKazandzisWith 20 out of 35 squads completed, Georgos Panagopoulos of Greece holds the 44th and last place to advance with 1184 or an average of 197.33.

Qualifying continues Thursday, Nov. 3, with squads 22-25 scheduled to start at 10 a.m., 2, 6 and 9.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET). Squad 21 has been canceled.

2016SofiaOpenLogoThe 7th Sofia International Open 2016, a popular but non-European Bowling Tour event, will be held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6 at bowling center Joy Station, a 20-laner in 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. 29, at 10 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST), and runs through Saturday, Nov. 5, with the final squad 35 scheduled for 9.30 p.m. Central European Time (CET). 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, Nov 6, 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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7th Sofia International Open 2016 – Qualifying Standings after 21/35 Squads

Top 44 qualifiers, top 6 from squads 1-16, top 2 from squads 17-25, and top 4 of the Desperado Squad will advance to the finals.

Herbert Bickel

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