16th August, Kaohsiung: Left-handers dominated the Men's Open Round 1 finals of the 19th Kaohsiung International Open as Singapore's Alex Chong won the round ahead of Macau's Lee Tak Man in second and Hong Kong's Ernest Kwok in third.
2018 East Asian Championships triple bronze medallist, Kwok opened account with a splendid 257 to lead compatriot, Jimmy Cheung by nine pins with 2017 ABF Tour Chinese Taipei winner, Atchariya Cheng of Thailand in third.
Chong, who also started off well with 237 added a stunning 278 to take over the running with the Thai moving up to second and Kwok slipping down to third. The Singaporean southpaw extended his lead to 39 pins despite posting a moderate 214 in the third game.
Cheung regained second spot while a second Singaporean lefty, Eugene Yeo made up grounds to third. Yeo fired a sizzling 268 to move into the lead at the halfway mark followed by Chong in second. Cheung slipped down to third as Lee, who also posted a big game of 279, took up fourth.
Chong fought back to regain the lead after a fifth game of 236. Yeo trailed in second with 2018 ABF Tour Thailand champion, Lin Pai-Feng of Chinese Taipei occupying third. Kwok and Lee took up the minor places.
As the Taiwanese stumbled to a lowly 186 in the sixth game, the first five positions were occupied by left-handers with Chong in the lead followed by Yeo in second, Hong Kong's Mike Chan in third, Atchariya and Chueng in fourth and fifth and Lee in sixth.
Chong went on to roll 221 and 246 in his last two games and ended the round with 1886. Lee stormed home with 234 and 247 to snatch second spot with 1815 and Kwok recovered with a superb 268 to clinch third position with 1810.
Lefties took up the next four positions with Chan in fourth with 1800, Yeo slipping down to fifth with 1786, Cheung in sixth with 1782 and Atchariya in seventh with 1768. Hong Kong's two-hander, Oscar Poon clinch his place in Round 2 finals in 18th position with 1608.
Chinese Taipei's Tsao Wen-Pin missed the cut by 5 pins after finishing 19th position with 1603 so did 2019 Asian Youth Masters gold medallist, Xavier Teo of Singapore in 20th position by seven pins.
The top 18 advanced to Round 2 finals joined by the six seeded qualifiers for another 8 games tomorrow afternoon. The top 6 finishers at the end of Round 2 will proceed to the Stepladder shootout finals.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei.