6th Kingdom International Open

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Big win for Swede

21st December, Riyadh

Qatar Open first runner-up, Martin Larsen of Sweden came off with a big win in the 6th Kingdom International Open after defeating top seed, Yousif Falah of Bahrain in the second deciding match.

No. 2 seed, Larsen had led the first match going into the final frame but rolled a big split in the final frame to end with 200. All Yousif needed was to mark his final frame to take the match and the title but he too encountered a split to hand the match to the Swede, 192-200 forcing a second the deciding match.

The Bahraini and current Asia Ranked No. 1 was lined up well on the even lane but struggled on the odd lane and had four splits in the title match as Larsen had a double strike early in the match and late double in frames eight and ninth to seal the victory and the title, 200-159.

The champion had dispatched third seed and 2012 EBT winner, Dominic Barrett of England, 223-212 in the second match to face Yousif.

border Martin Larsen with the trophy and cheque

Barrett out-classed No. 4 seed, Tommy Jones of USA and No. 5 seed, Andrew Frawley of Australia, 279-239-189 to advance before going down to Larsen.

"This is probably one of the biggest win in my career and more than made up for the disappointment last week," said Larsen, who finished second to Mika Koivuniemi in the Qatar Open.

"I was matched up well on both the lanes and I wasn't having any problems with the even lane except I didn't make good shots and the release wasn't good enough. I could see that Yousif was struggling on the odd lane but he did bowl great in the earlier Final Round."

"I'm glad I decided to come to Saudi Arabia after the Qatar Open and it will be a good Christmas for me and my family," added the Swede, who won the top prize of US$25,000.

Yousif, who topped the 8-game Final Round with 1907, settled for US$13,000 as first runner-up. Barrett finished third with 1871 and remained third to earn US$8,500 while Jones and Frawley took home US$5,000 and US$4,500 respectively.

Indonesia's Ryan Lalisang, who missed the stepladder finals by 21 pins, earned US$3,500. Japan Cup Round 1 and Qatar Open champion, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland finished seventh for US$3,400 and added another US$2,000 and US$1,000 as the top qualifier and block winner.

border Top 3 winners, Yousif, Larsen and Barrett

Semi-final Round leader, Bill O'Neil of USA managed only ninth position behinde Basel Al Anzi of Kuwait in eighth. Michael Tsang of Hong Kong completed the top 10.

HRH Prince Abdulrahman Bin Mussad Al Saud, President of the Hilal Football Club and brother of HRH Prince Abdul Hakim, gave away the prizes to the winners together with Mr Faisal Al-Nasser, Vice President of Youth and Sports Ministry.

50 bowlers participated in the 6th edition of the Kingdom International Open at Universal Bowling Center. The top 16 Asians qualified for the final leg of the ABF Tour and the top 16 men qualifiers for the Tournament of Champions will be decided.

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American PBA pro takes pole

20th December, Riyadh

PBA pro, Bill O'Neil of United States, took pole position in the Semi-Final Round of the 6th Kingdom International Open ahead of Martin Larsen of Sweden in second and Basel Al Anzi of Kuwait third.

Larsen, who topped both his two blocks of qualifying round in Squad B, got off the mark with a sizzling 246 to lead four-time PBA champion, O'Neil by 1 pin, who rolled 245.

The 32-year-old winner of the Alka Seltzer Plus Gold Cheetah Championship two weeks ago, knocked down back-to-back 245 to take over the running from the Swede in the second game. The American kept his blistering pace with 240 and 222 to open up a gap of 79 pins at the halfway mark.

But a poor 169 in the sixth game from O'Neil saw Larsen regaining the lead after the Swede fired 244 and 234 in game 5 and 6.

border Bill O'Neil leading eleven others into the Final Round

Although O'Neil bounced back with 269 in the seventh game, Larsen responded with 278 to hold a 13 pin lead over his nearest rival. O'Neil closed out the semi-final stronger with 247 to take pole position with 1857 while Larsen managed 211 to settle for second spot with 1834.

Basel Al Anzi ended with a big game of 267 to snatch third spot with 1786 from Bahrain's Yousif Falah in fourth with 1782.

Hong Kong's Michael Tsang, Australia's Andrew Frawley, Saudi's Ahmad Al Hadyan and a second Hong Kong national, Rickle Kam finished fifth to eighth positions. Prince Abdul Hakim sealed his place in the next round with 1639 in ninth.

There was a keen tussle for the remaining places amongst, Kuwaitis Aseel Al Roomi and Jassem Darwish, Qatar's Hassan Ibrahim, Saudi's Mohammed H Alnajrani and Prince Mohammed Al Saud.

Poor games from Aseel and Hassan saw the duo dropped out of contention.

border Prince Abdul Hakim making the cut in 9th position

Alnajrani survived with 1636 in 11th, Indonesia's Ryan Lalisang shot 239 to make the cut in 10th while Jassem missed the cut in 12th.

Saudi's Moeedh Saad Qahtani stormed home with 232 and 259 in his last two games to edge Prince Mohammed by 2 pins and earned the best Saudi finisher to book his place in the Final Round. American PBA pro, Josh Blanchard ended in a disappointing 17th position behind Hassan and Aseel.

The top 11 plus the best Saudi would be joined by the four seeded qualifiers, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, Tommy Jones of USA, Dominic Barrett of England and the best Saudi qualifier, Bader Al-Shaikh for the 8-games Final Round. The top 5 at the end of the finals will advance to the stepladder finals playoffs.

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Bahraini tops special squad

19th December, Riyadh

Mohammed Janahi of Bahrain topped the special qualifying squad to leapfrog from 23rd to 11th in the overall standings of the 6th Kingdom International Open on Wednesday evening.

Janahi got off the mark with a cracking 278 to lead a field of 26 in this special squad staged to allow the players to improve their lower 6-game series to make the Semi-Final Round.

The 34-year-old Bahraini never looked back thereafter rolling 226, 227, 174, 196 and 195 to end the block with 1296. His improved series added to his other best 6-game series of 1261 gave him a 12-game tally of 2557 to move from 23rd to 11th in the overall standings.

2006 Doha Asian Games Doubles gold medalist, Bader Al-Shaikh, who was already the best Saudi qualifier in fourth before this special squad, made sure he retained his spot by improving from 2480 to 2529 with 1272.

border Mohammed Janahi in action during the special squad

Andrew Frawley of Australia, Prince Mohammed Al Saud and Mohammed H Alnajrani of Saudi Arabia completed the top 5 in this squad and also improve their total to make the Semi-Final Round in 14th, 22nd and 25th positions respectively.

Two-time PBA Player of the Year and newly-crowned Qatar Bowling Open champion, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, American PBA pro Tommy Jones and EBT winner, DOminic Barrett will advance into the Final Round on Friday with Bader Al-Shaikh.

Debutant Joshua Chow of Hong Kong was the cut at 28th position with 2319 thanks to his improved series in the special squad. Ahmad Al Hadyan took 32nd position as the fourth Saudi qualifier with 2297.

Qatar's Khaled Al Dosseri, who beat Ahmad by 2 pins, had to give away his spot and failed to make the cut. Positions 5 to 28 plus the four Saudi qualifier positioned 29 to 32 will contest the 8-games Semi-Final Round tomorrow.

The top 11 plus the best Saudi will then advance into the Final Round together with the four seeded qualifiers for another 8 games on December 21. The top 5 finishers will proceed to the Stepladder final playoffs.

border Bader Al-Shaikh confirming his top Saudi spot

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Finn advances in pole

18th December, Riyadh

Overall first block leader, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland advanced into the Final Round of the 6th Kingdom International Open in pole position after ending the second block by a dominant margin.

Koivuniemi, who won back-to-back titles at Round 1 of the Japan Cup and the 12th Qatar Bowling Open last week, firmed up his pole position by rolling 1438 in the second block for a 12-game tally of 2883.

The two-time PBA Player of the Year and owner of 11 PBA titles, finished 129 pins ahead of his nearest opponent and fellow-PBA pro, Tommy Jones of United States in second on a total of 2754.

Judging by his recent form, Koivuniemi looked the firm favourite to win his third consecutive title. 2012 EBT winner, Dominic Barrett of England snatched the third spot from American PBA pro, Bill O'Neil in this block to earn the crucial bye into the Final Round with 2738.

border Mika Koivuniemi strolling into top spot

O'Neil settled for fourth in the block with 2721 but has to give up his place in the overall standings to best Saudi qualifier, Bader Al Shaikh, who earned that fourth spot with 2480.

Another American PBA pro and winner of four PBA titles, Josh Blanchard finished sixth overall with 2715.

Squad B leader, Martin Larsen of Sweden took seventh spot with 2692 followed by Kuwait's Aseel Al Roomi in eighth position with 2689. 2012 Sinai Open and ABF Tour Egypt champion, Yousif Falah of Bahrain took ninth spot with 2568.

Debutant, Rickle Kam of Hong Kong jumped from 14th to ninth overall with 2566 ahead of JAB's Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia, who dropped one spot from 10th to 11th with 2526. Best Saudi in the first block, Prince Abdul Hakim Al-Saud dropped to 17th position.

The cut at 28th position was Ammar Y. Tarrad of Saudi Arabia with 2283 while Rushaidan Al Rushaidan, Yasser A Abualreesh, Adnan Debas and Abdulla O Almoudi occupied positons 29 to 32 as the top 4 best Saudi outside the top 28.

There will be a special qualifying round of a 6-game block at 6.00pm local time tomorrow for those who did not make the cut so that they can improve their lower 6-game block and make the Semi-Final Round on December 20.

border Top 4 qualifiers, Jones, Koivuniemi, Barrett and Bader

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Swede snatches top spot

18th December, Riyadh

Overnight Squad B leader, Martin Larsen of Sweden snatched top spot in the final game of the second block to inch closer to the top 3 spot of the overall qualifying standings at the 6th Kingdom International Open.

Larsen began the second block where he left off last night with 227 in his opening seventh game but his 18-pin lead over 20-year-old Aseel Al Roomi was reduced to just 1 pin after the Kuwaiti youngster rolled 244.

Aseel took over the running with 212 in the eighth game to lead the Swede by 1 pin and continued with good pace thereafter to remain in the lead with 234, 193 and 218 in the next three games for a 7 pin cushion.

Larsen ended the block with 257 for a second block of 1333 to add to his first block score of 1359 for a 12-game tally of 2692. Aseel finished strong too with 247 but settled for second with 2689 despite a higher second block series of 1348.

border Martin Larsen in action during the second block

Asia Ranked No. 1, Yousif Falah remained third in this squad with 2568 ahead of two Kuwaitis, Basel Al Anzi and Jassem Darwish fourth and fifth positions with 2455 and 2440 respectively.

Bahrain's Mohammed Sultan hauled himself up from 10th overnight to sixth on 2430 with a much improved second block series of 1273. The top Saudi in this squad was Salman M Alshahri in eighth position with 2386.

Based on average with the two squads combined, Larsen's 224.33 average still put him fifth in the overall standings. The cut at 28th position is 188.00 average from Rushaidan Al Rushaidan of Saudi Arabia.

Squad A wil resume with their second block later today and the combined overall standings can determine the top 4 qualifiers for Final Round and the positions 5 to 28 for the Semi-Final Round.

border Aseel Al Roomi mainting good form to finish second

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Swede takes second squad

17th December, Riyadh

Martin Larsen of Sweden took the second squad of the opening block of the 6th Kingdom International Open but failed to make the top 4 in the overall qualifying standings late Monday evening.

Mohammed Alnajrani of Saudi Arabia opened account with a superb 247 to lead Kuwait's Basel Al Anzi by 14 pins as 20 players took to the lanes at Universal Bowling Center for the opening block.

Last week's Qatar Open third runner-up, Martin Larsen moved into the lead after rolling two consistent games of 223 and 247 followed by a second Kuwaiti, Aseel Al Roomi in second, 11 pins adrift.

But the Swede's lead was reduced to just 1 pin at the halfway mark as he managed only 193 while Aseel followed up with 203 after a big game of 266 in the second with current Asia No. 1, Yousif Falah of Bahrain third another 1 pin away

border Martin Larsen topping Squad B in the first block

The Kuwaiti youngster continued his blistering pace with 235 and 232 to lead Larsen by 8 pins going into the sixth and final game.

Larsen ended the block much stronger with 238 to take the squad with 1359. Aseel settled for second despite rolling 212 for 1341. Yousif recovered to end in third spot with 1315. Early pace-setters, Basel Al Anzi and Ahmed Al Awadhi rounded up the top 5 with 1233 and 1218.

After both the squads were combined the top spot went to Qatar Open champion, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, who remained in the lead with 1445 followed by American PBA pros, Bill O'Neil and Tommy Jones in second and third with 1435 and 1402 respectively.

Prince Abdul Hakim took fourth spot as the best Saudi finisher with 1278 and could earn a bye for the Final Round. Squad B winner, Larsen settled for fifth spot, 16 pins ahead of another American PBA pro, Josh Blanchard in sixth with 1343.

Aseel finished seventh ahead of EBT winner, Dominic Barrett of England, Yousif Falah and Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia completing the top 10.

border Aseel Al Roomi putting a superb performance in the first block

The current cut at 28th position is held by Bahrain's Masoud Saberi with a score of 1136 (or 64 under). The bowlers will resume with their second block of 8 games to determine the qualifiers for the Semi-Final Round.

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Trio stamps their mark

17th December, Riyadh

Newly-crowned Qatar Open champion, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland and American PBA pros, Bill O'Neil and Tommy Jones stamped their mark at the opening block of the 6th Kingdom International Open qualifying rounds on Monday.

Fresh from his victory in Doha two days ago, it was another day at the office for the 45-year-odl Finn as he rolled 1445 in the opening block of the 6-games qualifying round to top Squad A.

Bill O'Neil of United States, who won his fourth PBA title at the Alka Seltzer Plus Gold Cheetah Championship two weeks ago, settled for second in the squad with 1435 after leading the field before the final game.

O'Neil's countrymen, Tommy Jones, who was the third bowler to surpass the 1400-mark with 1402, finished third while a third American PBA pro, Josh Blanchard took fourth position with 1343.

border Mika Koivuniemi eyeing for a third consecutive title

2012 EBT winner, Dominic Barrett of England rounded up the top 5 with a total of 1334. Prince Abdul Hakim Al Saud, proprietor of the venue, Universal Bowling Center was the top Saudi in this squad with a scoreline of 1278.

JAB's Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia finished seventh with 1256 followed by 2006 Doha Asian Games Doubles gold medalist, Bader Al Shaikh of Saudi Arabia eighth with 1223.

Debutant, Rickle Kam of Hong Kong and Saudi's Amro Al Amari completed the top 10 in a field of 30 bowlers with 1212 and 1209 respectively.

Squad B will take to the lanes at 6.00pm local time for their first block of 6 games. Squad B will resume with their second block at 1.00pm tomorrow and Squad A at 6.00pm. Two special squads will be staged to provide participants their last chance to make the cut for the Semi-final round.

The top 3 plus top Saudi qualifiers in the overall standings after two blocks will earn a bye and advance into the Final Round. Qualifiers in positions 5 to 28 plus another four Saudi qualifiers will bowl in the Semi-final round on Thursday, December 20.

border Bill O'Neil of USA settling for second after leading game 5

The top 11 plus the top Saudi finishers in the Semi-final round together with the top 4 seeded qualifiers will bowl another 8 games in the Final Round on Friday, December 21. The top 5 will advance to the Stepladder playoffs.