16th July, Hong Kong: 2017 World Championships Trios gold medallist, Eric Tseng of Hong Kong took over the lead of the Men's Open Masters qualifying standings at the 45th Hong Kong International Open with a record-breaking 1503 pinfalls.
Tseng, who was seeded second in the local seeded pool, made several attempts without much progress. But the Hong Kong national bowler finally found his way to reel in 242, 253 and 247 for a promising 742 series.
The leader then followed it up with an even higher series of 761 with 279, 247 and 235 to take his six-games aggregate total to 1503. First perfect gamer and ex-international, Wicky Yeung settled for second with 1471 while Lau Kwun Ho, who won the 2017 World Championships Doubles silver medal with Tseng, occupied third spot with 1448.
A former Hong Kong national team member, Rickle Kam improved his earlier attempts but missed the top bracket by 12 pins for that crucial bye and to automatically advance to Stage 2 Masters finals. The top three advance automatically to Stage 2 Masters finals.
In the overseas pool, Enzo Hernandez of Philippines took over top spot with an impressive 1466 six-games total pushing second perfect gamer and overnight leader, Timothy Tham of Singapore into second position on his 1448.
India's Dhruv Sarda finished third with 1440. Again the top three qualifiers in the overseas pool will earn the bye and skip Stage 1 Masters finals. 2019 Thailand Open first runner-up, Billy Muhammad ISlam of Indonesia headed the mixed pool with 1302. The cut in tenth position in the mixed pool went to Hong Kong's Joshua Chow with just 1268. Last year's cut was 1309 and with two days left for qualifying, it may well reach the 1300-mark.
In the Women's division, 2019 Asian Youth Team gold medallist, Charmaine Chang of Singapore moved into the lead with 1317 while 2019 Philippine Open first runner-up, Lara Posadas-Wong and Alexis Sy of Philippines finished second and third with 1274 and 1269 respectively. Like the men, the top three overseas qualifiers will skip Stage 1 Masters finals.
In the local front, overnight leader, Joey Yip remained in the lead with 1253. 2017 World Championships Singles bronze medallist, Chan Shuk Han, who is already seeded as top local qualifier, made second spot with 1239. Jackie Sun occupied third spot with 1221.
Iliya Syamin of Singapore headed the mixed pool with 1119 while the cut in ninth position is a moderate 1028. Last year's cut was 1277 and with the two days of qualifying remaining, it will likely reach at least 1250-mark.
The final qualifying rounds for the Hong Kong Cup and Youth 15 & Under will end at 8.30pm squad. Their Masters finals will be contested tomorrow morning while qualifying for the rest of the divisions will end July 18.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong.