4th November, Kuwait: 2019 Asian Championships Team gold medallist, Michael Mak of Hong Kong left it late till the final squad of the WBT-PBA 13th Kuwait International Open to earn third position in the overall standings.
Mak, who was in 49th position and out of the cut for the finals with his best attempt of 1287, took to the lanes in the last and final Squad 22. The 25-year-old Hong Kong national started off with a cracking 278 followed by 279, 268, 289 and 267 for a 5-game total of 1381.
His superb effort earned him two byes after moving into third in the overall standings. Mak's best performance in a World Bowling Tour was finishing as second runner-up in the 2013 PBA World Bowling Tour Thailand in Bangkok.
Overnight leader, Sam Cooley of Australia remained in the lead unchallenged with 1409 achieved in Squad 15 yesterday. Arnar David Jonsson of Iceland, who shot the tournament's 10th perfect game, also retained second spot with 1396.
Twice WBT-PBA winner, Thomas Larsen of Denmark slipped one spot down to fourth with 1375, followed by Stuart Williams of England in fifth with 1366. Nick Pate of USA, who is the PamAM top ranked player invited to compete in the WBT Finals here on November 7, clinched the sixth and last spot of the top bracket with an improved 1364.
2019 World Women's Championships Singles gold medalist and winner of the 2018 PBA-World Bowling Tour Thailand, earned seventh position as the top female qualifier not in the top 6. 2019 Asian Championships Trios silver medallist, Mostafa Almousawi took eighth position reserved for the top Kuwaiti qualifier not in the top 7.
The top 8 will automatically advance to Round 3 finals. Martin Larsen of Sweden, who was the cut in 43rd position with 1303, also left it late after shooting the tournament's 20th perfect game and improving with 1357 to leapfrog into ninth position.
Early leader, Ildermaro Ruiz of Venezuela completed the top 10 with 1354. Finland's Mika Koivuniemi, England's Dominic Barrett, Saudi Arabia's Khalid Albayudh and America's Brad Miller finished 11th to 14th positions respectively.
2019 World Women's Championships Team gold medallist, Maria Rodriguez and America's Liz Johnson earned the two spots, 15th and 16th reserved for the next two best female qualifiers not in the second bracket.
Qualifiers positioned 9 to 16 earned one bye and will automatically advance to Round 2 finals. First perfect gamer, Billy Mohammad Islam of Indonesia headed the third bracket in 17th position with 1342. The cut in 43rd position went to his compatriot, Fachri Ibnu Askar with 1309.
Tony Wong of Hong Kong, who already had two perfect games from his earlier attempts, added a third 300 in Squad 20 but failed to improve his 1304 and missing the cut for the finals by 5 pins. Seven perfect games were shot today.
Miller rolled the 14th 300, Tommy Jones of USA 15th, Osku Palermaa of Finland 16th, Tony Wong 17th, Saleh Khalid Habib of Kuwait 18th, AJ Johnson of USA 19th and Larsen 20th.
Qualifiers positioned 17 to 48 (32 qualifiers) will bowl 5 games in Round 1 finals with the top 8 advancing to Round 2 joined by qualifiers from the second bracket, positions 9 to 16.
They will bowl another 5 games and the top 8 with the highest pinfalls will advance to Round 3. They will be joined by qualifiers from the top bracket, positioned 1 to 8 for another 5 games in Round 3. The top 5 with the highest pinfalls at the end of the round will proceed to the Final Round shootout.
A PBA international title will be awarded to the champion if he is a member of the Professional Bowlers Associaition. The WBT-PBA 13th Kuwait International Open is a first-tier World Bowling Tour stop with guaranteed prize money of a total of US$218,000.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Kuwait.