8th September, Bangkok: Rafiq Ismail and Siti Safiyah Amirah of Malaysia along with Ahmad Muaz and Natasha Roslan outshone the Koreans in the Men's and Women's Open Round 2 finals at the 46th MWA-Singha Thailand International Open.
Muaz took the early lead with a stunning 279 opener for a gap of 20 pins followed by of two Korea National Sports University bowlers, Shin Sung Min and Ryou Ho Jun in second and third. But Muaz had a moderate 211 to slip down to sixth.
Singapore's Timothy Tham, who started off with 248, added 258 in his second game to move into the lead with Shin trailing in second by one pin. Muaz bounced back with an identical 279 to regain the lead at the halfway mark.
25th Asian Championships Team gold medallist, Michael Mak of Hong Kong took over second spot with a sizzling 268 and 256 after a 232 opener. Mak's team-mate and desperado squad qualifier, Keith Mark moved up to third as Shin slipped down to fourth.
Whilst Muaz led for the next two games with 239 and 218, it was the left-handed Rafiq Ismail who had 255 and 258 in the fourth and fifth games to move within one pin of Muaz. Ismail rounded off a superb finals with 279 to win with 1504.
Muaz finished strong with 239 to claim second position with 1465 while a third Korean, Park Dong Hyuk stormed home to clinch third position with 1408. Singapore's best was Mike Ong Jing Long taking up fourth with 1398 followed by Mark completing the top five with 1391.
A fourth Korean, Won Jong Hyeok was the cut in 14th position tieing with Moon Ha Yeong in 13th on 1301. Tham, who was in the first half of the field most of the way, missed the cut by 10 pins after disasterous 173 and 183 in his last two games to end in 15th position.
Meanwhile in the women's division, Siti Safiyah Amriah, like her male counterpart, ended the round in style with 280 in her final game to win the round with 1412. KNSU's Oh Hyun Ji led for three games before Siti Safiyah took over the lead atfer the fourth game.
Oh did finish well with 259 to snatch second position with 1362. Natasha Roslan, who led for one game, settled for third position with 1326. Charmaine Chang of Singapore survived the cut in 10th position with 1240.
31st SEA Games triple gold medallist, Cherie Tan of Singapore disappointingly missed the cut by five pins after ending in 11th position with 1235. So did her team-mate, New Hui Fen also missing by 21 pins in 13th position.
The top 14 men and top 10 women will be joined by the top 3 local and top 3 overseas qualifiers from the overall qualifying standings in both the Men's and Women's Open will contest another 6 games in Round 3 finals after lane maintenance. The top 6 men and top 6 women will advnace to the Stepladder shootout finals to determine this year's champions.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Bangkok, Thailand.
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