15th December, Seberang Prai: 2017 second runner-up and 2018 AMF World Cup champion, Sam Cooley of Australia amassed a stunning six-game total of 1542 to lead the Mixed Open qualifying leaderboard of the 47th Penang Pesta International Bowling Championships.
In his first attempt since arriving here yesterday, Cooley took to the lanes at Penang Megamall to reel in 286, 268 and 247 for a sizzling three-game series of 801. He made another attempt but could not repeat his form and managing only 649.
The Aussie returned today to post another superb 741 series from 278, 230 and 233 to take over the lead of the overseas pool dislodging overnight leader, Kim Do Hee of Ulsan City Hall Bowling Team. Kim had led with 1452.
Koreans showed their mighty power as Park Dae Hee occupied third spot with 1428 while 2014 World Men's Championships Masters gold medallist, Kang Hee Won of Team Ulju, Korea finished fourth with 1417. A fourth Korean, Hwang Se Ra made up the top five with 1398.
The only other qualifier surpassing the 1500-mark was 2017 Thailand Open champion and ex-Malaysian national, Zulmazran Zulkifli, who headed the local pool with 1520. The 34-year-old, who turned two-hander after sustaining wrist injury and unable to bowl in his usual style, downed 780 and 740 for the lead.
Syafiq Ridhwan, who was picked for the Philippines 30th SEA Games but had to be replaced due to a minor back injury he suffered while competing in the 25th Asian Championships in October. Syafiq has since recovered to post 1454 for second spot.
Penang's Muhammad Hariz Adlan did well to finish third with 1426, 35 pins ahead of last week's 20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars first runner-up, Muhammad Syazirol, who missed the top bracket in fourth with 1391.
Recent second runner-up at the 20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars, Nur Syazwani Sahar headed the mixed pool with 1312 while the cut in 25th position went to Musharraf Hossain Ahmed of Bangladesh with 930.
The top 3 qualifiers in the local pool and top 3 qualifiers in the overseas pool will earn a bye and advance to Round 2 finals. Local pool qualifiers positioned 3 to 13, overseas pool qualifiers positioned 3 to 13 together with qualifiers positioned 1 to 25 in the mixed pool will contest the 10-game Round 1 finals on December 17.
The top 18 with the highest pinfalls at the end of Round 1 finals will be joined by the six seeded qualifiers for another 10 games in Round 2 on December 18. The top 3 finishers will then proceed to the Stepladder shootout finals to determine the champion.
Philippines 30th SEA Games Mixed Doubles gold and Masters silver medallist, Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia will be defending the title for the second time after having won it in 2017 and 2018. Qualifying will end tomorrow.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Seberang Prai, Malaysia.
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