21st April, Riyadh
Shaker Al-Hassan brought home an emphatic victory over fellow-countryman, Naif Oqab in an all-UAE finals to capture the Masters title of the 2nd Saudi International Bowling Championship at Universal Bowling Centre.
Second-seed Shaker Al-Hassan, who had earlier edged topseed, Naif in Round 8 by just 8 pins on a two game total of 448-440 to move into the finals and become the topseed in this new elimination format used for the first time.
All was not lost for Naif after going down to the champion when he was matched against Filipino, Paeng Nepomuceno in Round 9 and to have a possible rematch with his teammate. Nepomuceno had earlier, dispatched Egyptian Mahmoud Mazloum, 423-390 in Round 8 to advance into Round 9.
Naif made amends from his earlier defeat to Shaker when he emerged victorious over the four-time World Cup champion, Nepomuceno. Naif made amends from his earlier defeat to Shaker when he emerged victorious over the four-time World Cup champion, Nepomuceno. Naif won the first game impressively, 256-208 and narrowly edged the Filipino, 217-215 to have another crack at the title.
But Lady Luck was not on the youngster's side when it needed only one match for his opponent to deny him the title.
"It would be better to face Naif again if he could beat Paeng in Round 9 and I'm glad he did," said the 39-year-old member of the UAE national team. "We have met many times over the years of competition and sometimes I win and sometimes he wins.
"He (Naif) knocked me out of the Prince Cup not so long ago and now I've knocked him out in Round 8," added the 2002 Asian Championship Singles gold medalist.
"Last year I won the Dubai Open and the Abu Dhabi Open, back-to-back. So I hope to carry this form into the Kuwait Open next week. This victory also erased the disappointment in my last two outings in Malaysia and Thailand where I came home empty handed.
Shaker took home a whopping US$30,000 top prize for his efforts while Naif settled for US$18,000 for finishing second. Nepomuceno was richer by $12,000 as Mohmoud Mazloum won $10,000 for fourth spot.
HRH Prince Sultan Bin Fahad, President of the Genral Youth Affairs was on hand to present souvenirs to sponsors and winners. A special souvenir was also presented to HRH Prince Hosam Bin Saud, Chairman of the main sponsor, Zain.
President of Asian Bowling Federation, Sheikh Talal Al-Sabah witnessed the exicting finals with the president of Bahrain Bowling Federation, Abdulla Yousif Al-Dosery and president of Egyptian Bowling Federation, Major General Hanafy Mahmoud Reyad.
20th April, Riyadh
Topseed, Naif Oqab of UAE crusied through three knockout rounds of the 2nd Saudi International Bowling Championship as American Tim Mack made a comeback from losing in Round 2 to progress into Round 5.
The interesting new knockout format introduced this year certainly prove popular as it turned out after several rounds of extremely confusing encounters for the bowlers who made this stage.
Round 1 started off with the top 22 plus top 2 local finishers from the 6-game Masters semifinals played yesterday to join the top 8 seeded players from the week long qualifying rounds. The topseed matched up against the lowest seed and so on.
Most impressive winner in Round 1 were topseed, Naif Oqab of UAE after he defeated Yousef Akbar of Saudi Arabia, 513-372 to move into the Round 2 winner's pool so was leader of the semis, Tim Mack of USA beating India's Shaikh Abdul Hameed, 479-392.
Second-seed, Shaker Al-Hassan was equal to the task after he dispatched the youngest Saudi Faisal Tariq Sugati, 497-307 as four-time World Cup champion, Paeng Nepomuceno of the Philippines ousted young Kuwaiti, Jassim Darwish, 420-391.
Round 2 saw higher seeded winners of Round 1 being matched against the lower seeded winners in the Winners' Pool while the higher seeded losers were matched against the lower seeded losers in the Losers' Pool.
The biggest and most impressive winner was southpaw, Paeng Nepomuceno with literally the whole Filipino population in Riyadh firmly supporting their sporting idol. Paeng triumped over another leftly Phoemphun Yakasem of Thailand, 524-450.
Topseed, Naif Oqab turned in another superb performance to beat Fahad Al-Emadi of Qatar, 472-366 while American Junior Team USA member, Josh Blanchard ousted favourite, Mubarak Al-Muraikhi, 489-405 to advance into the next round.
Tim Mack suffered a set back going down to Qatar's Khalid Al-Dosari, 422-457 as Round 1 losers Andres Gomez of Colombia and Argentinian Lucas Legnani made comebacks with victories over their opponents.
Another great comeback was local youngster, Bader Al-Sheikh turning the table against a 76-pin deficit in the first game with a 279 in the second to clinch victory over Suadi Yasser Abdulreesh, 450-442.
Round 3 comprised of lower seeded winners from Round 2 pitched against losers from the same round to provide a chance for them to move back into the top half of the winners' pool in Round 4.
Notable victors were Prince Mohammed Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia winning 480-434 against the Colombian Andres Gomez and Egypt's Mohmoud Mazloum beating Qatar's Yousef Al-Jaber, 472-425.
In Round 4, topseed, Naif Oqab went from strength to strength this time posting yet another impressive victory over Qatar's Khalid Al-Dosari, 524-357. Tim Mack made further amends to record another victory over Shaikh Abdul Hameed of India, 439-421.
The roof of the Universal Bowling Centre almost came down as Filipino supporters again cheered on their idol, Paeng Nepomuceno taking out American Patrick Healey, 475-435. Shaker Al-Hassan silenced the local Saudi supporters as he beat Bader Al-Sheikh, 499-344.
The knockout rounds will resume with Round 5 where the higher seeded winners from Round 4 will await the winners of matches of lower seeded winners from Round 4 against the higher seeded losers' pool. The lower seeded losers were eliminated from the competition.
19th April, Riyadh
Globe-trotting American, Tim Mack put in a convincing display by scoring a perfect game en-route to take pole position in the semifinals of the 2nd Saudi International Bowling Championship at Universal Bowling Centre on Saturday evening.
Tim Mack couldn't ask for a better start when he chalked up 12 consecutive strikes in the opening game in the semifinals for positions 9 to 44 qualifiers plus four local Saudis. With 2152 pinfalls brought forward from the 9-game qualifying rounds, Mack immediately grab the lead from fellow-countrymen, Josh Blanchard.
The American bowled consistently with 215, 195, 254, 245 and ended with a superb 286 for a 6-game total of 1496. With a total of 3648, Mack led the field with a whopping 192 pins from Blanchard in second with 3456.
"I feel great with that perfect start and I'm very satisfied with my game today," said Mack after the semifinals. "It has been a great week of bowling too and I qualified with three back-to-back 700 series so was today.
"But tomorrow is a different ball game in the knockout stage as it will be very challenging. It would be great to win but anything can happen. It was also fortunate that I changed the surface of my ball for this week. This is the same ball I use in Finland when I hit a perfect game to win a motorbike in January.
Bowling for the first time in Asia and in Saudi Arabia, the 20-year-old Josh Blanchard was equally convincing but had to settle for second. The member of the the Junior Team USA had won 7 gold and 3 silver medals in the 2007 National Championship.
"I bowled well today as I had to slow down my feet in my approach and it paid off," said Blanchard from Upland, California. "I hope I can do the same in tomorrow Round 1 knockout stage.
Talal Towereb, a bank officer with HSBC in Jeddah, was Saudi and Asian best performer finishing third with 3409. Towereb, who has been a member of the Saudi national team since 1997 also finished third in the 2002 World Cup.
"I knew I will do well here as I have been able to keep my swing consistently high which helps me to carry the pins," said the Masters champion of the 2001 Arab Games. The Saudi also bagged Masters gold medals at the 2000 and 1999 GCC Championships.
USA's Patrick Healey and Egypt's top male bowler, Mahmoud Mazloum rounded up the top 5 in fourth and fifth positions scoring 3388 and 3371. Eric Tseng of Hong Kong was unlucky to miss out the cut despite finishing 23rd and having to surrend his place to two Saudis.
The top 24 will join the top 8 from the qualifying rounds to advance into the Round 1 knockout stage where the topseed, Naif Oqab of UAE will meet the 24th-seed, Yousef Akbar of Saudi Arabia. Second-seed will face the second lowest seed, third seed vs third lowest seed and so on in the 2-game total pin count.
The field of 32 will then be cut off to 16 followed by the quarterfinals, semifinals and finally the title match to decide this year's champion. The top 16 Asian will also make the cut for the second leg of the ABF Tour Saudi on April 22nd.
15th April, Riyadh
Asian Indoor Games Singles gold medalist, Naif Oqab of UAE, topped the 2nd Saudi International Bowling Championship qualifying leaderboard underway at Universal Bowling Centre
Naif Oqab, who surprised a strong field of top Asian bowlers in the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in Macau by capturing the Singles gold medal, chalked up 795, 736 and 714 for a 9-game total of 2245 to lead the qualifying table.
Top local title contender Doha Asian Games Doubles gold medalist, Hassan Al-Sheikh of Suadi Arabia, finished a creditable second with a total of 2190 while ABF Tour Thailand leg semifinalist, Shaker Al-Hassan of UAE claimed third spot with just 3 games based on average.
American globe-trotter, Tim Mack impressed with 748, 703 and 701 to finish fourth on a total of 2152 while Saudi's Majid Saleh Al-Aslani rounded up the top 5 with 2121. Qualifying continues until April 18.
The top 7 plus the top local qualifer will advance straight into the Round 1 finals while players from positions 9 to 44 plus 4 top local qualifier will move into the semifinal round. The semifinalists will bowl 6 games with pins carried forward from their qualifying total.
The top 22 plus 2 local bowler at the end of the 6 games will advance into Round 1 finals together with the top 8 from the preliminary qualifying rounds for a game knockout matchplay where the topseed will meet the lowest seed, second seed with the second lowest ans so on.
Winners will advance to the top 16 knockout and the loosers will also advance to the loosers knockout round to determine final finishing positions. The field of 16 will be cut down to top 8 quarterfinals, top 4 semifinals and finally the title match and the third and fourth place playoffs.