22nd June, Macau: Elias R.J. Halabi of Aruba won his first international title after he triumphed in the Youth Masters finals of the 2017 Macau China International Open while 2016 ABF Tour China winner, Mi Zhong Li of China took the Senior Masters crown.
Halabi got off the block with a superb 246 in his opening game to lead Macau's Chiu Hou Leong by 19 pins. But his lead was short-lived as Shaun Wee of Singapore rolled the tournament's fifth 300 in the second game to take over the running.
Wee continued his blistering pace with 255, 215 and 243 to stay in the lead for the next three games as Halabi kept pace with 226, 215 and 256 to trail by 17 pins. The Singaporean stumbled to a low 141 and the Arubian youth took advantage to move into the lead.
Wee bounced back with 267 in the seventh game to regain the lead albeit just four pins ahead as Halabi responded with 243. The leader struggled big time in his final game, failing to make four spares to end with 154.
Halabi finished with 208 to snatch victory with 1814 while Wee settled for second with 1764. Last year's first runner-up and 2017 Asian School Championships Doubles gold medallist, Ivan Tse of Hong Kong stormed home with 269 to clinch third spot with 1725. Chiu needed to double in his final frame of the last game but managed only fourth place with 1721.
Justin Widjaja of Indonesia completed the top five with 1716. Halabi took home MOP$3,000 (approx. US$350) as champion with Wee taking home MOP$1,500 in addition to the MOP$5,000 perfect game prize. Tse earned MOP$1,000 as second runner-up.
Meanwhile, 2016 ABF Tour China leg champion, Mi Zhong Li of China comfortably took the Senior Masters title with 1865 leading from start to finish. 2015 and 2016 Senior Masters champion, Vong Vang Ip of Macau finished second with 1740, 125 pins adrift.
Bobby Ho Po Hei of Hong Kong, who trailed Mi for the first four games, settled for third position with 1698 while Xie Cheng Jie of China amd Lo Tim Fat rounded out the top five finishers. Mi pocketted MOP$3,000 for his effort. The first and second runner-ups picked up MOP1,500 and MOP$1,000 respectively.
There are five squads remained for qualifying today and the Men's Open Masters Round 1 finals will be contested tomorrow at 9.00am, the Women's Open Round 1 at 2.30pm and the Graded Masters finals at 7.00pm.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Macau, China.