45th Hong Kong International Open
Filipino, Singaporean wins Stage 1 finals
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19th July, Hong Kong: Newly-crowned Youth Open Masters champion, Merwin Tan of Philippines and Charmaine Chang of Singapore won the Men's and Women's Open Stage 1 Masters finals of the 45th Hong Kong International Open on Friday evening.

After having bowled eight games in this morning's Youth Open Masters finals for his third Youth titles so far this year, Tan set a cracking pace with 267 in his opening game to trail local seeded qualifier, Tony Wong of Hong Kong by one pin.

The 20-year-old Filipino, who also bagged the 2019 Asian Youth Championships Singles gold medal in Kuching, Malaysia in April, added 246 in his second game to take over the running. Thailand's Atchariya Cheng also did well with 257 and 247 to move into second spot as Wong slipped off with just 198.

Tan was on a hot roll reeling in 214, 224, 234, 244 and 259 in his next five games to open up a huge gap of 131 pins over Cheng, as the Thai continued to trail the leader. Tan wrapped up Stage 1 finals victory with 248 and a total of 1936.

Open Masters Stage 1 winners, Merwin Tan and Charmaine Chang

Cheng also ended strongly with 246 to seal second spot with 1803 while Mohammad Hafiz Zainuddin of Malaysia stormed home with two massive games of 279 and 268 to snatch third position with 1793. India's Dhruv Sarda and Enzo Hernandez of Philippines completed the top five with 1745 and 1731 respectively.

2019 PBF Philippine Open Youth Open champion, Jordan Dinham of Philippins made next stage in 18th position with 1621. Defending champion, Wu Siu Hong of Hong Kong missed the cut by 7 pins finishing in a disappointing 19th position.

Meanwhile, 2019 Asian Youth Championships Team gold medallist, Charmaine Chang led a Singapore clean sweep of the top three positions winning the Stage 1 finals with 1863. Defending champion, Yanee Saebe of Thailand led in the first two games before Chang rolled 255 and 244 in the second and third games to take over the lead.

The Singaporean never look back since then adding 204, 224, 258, 238 and 248 for a well-deserved victory. Team-mate, Iliya Syamim, who trailed the leader since game four, settled for second position with 1738, 125 pins adrift.

Men's Open Masters Stage 1 Top 3, Atchariya Cheng, Merwin Tan and Hafiz Zainuddin

Ex-international, Tracy See made it a one-two-three finish for Singapore in third position with 1727. 2015 Asian Youth Singles gold medallist, Nora Lyana Natasia of Malaysia and 2019 PBF Philippines Open first runner-up, Lara Posadas-Wong rounded out the top five with 1724 and 1712 respectively.

Mades Arles of Philippines, who survived a one-game roll-off to break the tie for the last qualifying position in the Mixed pool, again survived the stage by finishing in the cut in 15th position with 1566.

Newcomer and three-time DHC Japan Cup Women champion, Miku Urano of Japan missed the cut in 16th position by 18 pins with 1548. The top 18 men and top 15 women will advnace to the Stage 2 Masters finals scheduled for tomorrow.

They will be joined by the top 6 seeded qualifiers (top 3 local and top 3 overseas) in their respective divisions for another eight games in Stage 2. The top 6 men and top 6 women with the highest total pinfalls will proceed to the Stepladder Shootout finals.

Iliya Syamim, Charmaine Chang and Tracy See finishing one-two-three

Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong.

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