16th June, Hong Kong: 2019 Asian Junior Masters gold medallist, Alex Yu of Hong Kong led from start to finish to win the Men's Open Stage 1 finals of the 46th Hong Kong International Open while defending champion, Iliya Syamim of Singapore snatched top spot in the Women's division.
Men's Open defending champion and newly-crowned Malaysian Open winner, Rafiq Ismail of Malaysia set a cracking pace with a 277 opener followed by Chinese Taipei's Chen Te Shuan in second, just one pin behind.
Yu, who posted a decent 246 in his first game, added a sizzling 267 to take over the running as Ismail shot 235 to slip behind the Hong Kong national youth. Yu extended his lead to 23 pins after another scitilating 278 in his third game.
Jason Sin of Hong Kong had started well with 266 and 234 in his first two games and added another superb game of 268 to take up second spot. Chen kept pace in third and Ismail slipping down to fifth behind his compatriot, Tun Hakim.
There was hardly any contenders who can get near the leader as he reeled in 255, 257, 234, 288 and 246 to comfortably win the stage with 2071 total pinfalls. Sin trailed the leader in second all the way to end in second with 2008.
Ismail bounced back to clinch third position with 1997 while Chen and Hakim completed the top 5 with 1984 and 1973 respectively. Ex-international youth, Boco Wong made the cut for Stage II by finishing 18th with 1906.
Hong Kong national bowlers, Ivan Tse, Michael Mak, Jason Leung and Lau Kwun Ho all made the cut except four-time Hong Kong Open winner, Wu Siu Hong, who ended in a disappointing 24th position.
In the Women's division, there was a keen tussle for the lead between defending champion, Iliya Syamim of Singapore and Gigi Leung of Hong Kong. Syamim had led the field up to the halfway mark ahead of Leung.
Leung took over the running after the fifth game and was looking good to win the stage. But the Singaporean ended with a sizzling 278 to snatch the win with 1879. Leung managed 212 to settle for second with 1836.
Kelly Chan of Hong Kong did well to claim third position with 1812 while Agnes Chang of Hong Kong and Lou Si Hang of Macau rounded out the top 5 with 1806 and 1771 respectively. Grace Ip Shing Yan of Hong Kong made the cut for the next stage in 15th position with 1668.
The top 18 Men and top 15 Women will be joined by the six seeded qualifiers from the general quaalifying standings for another 8 games in Stage II commencing tomorrow morning at 9.00am local time.
The top 6 men aand top 6 women with the highest pinfalls at the end of the stage will proceed to the Stepladder Shootout Finals, scheduled for 1.30pm.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong.
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