22nd November, Palembang: Francois Louw remained unchallenged as the South African retained his lead in the Men's Top 24 qualifying round of the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup while Kelly Kulick of USA snatched pole in the Women's division.
As expected after four exceptional qualifying rounds, Louw got off the block with two superb games of 224 and 226 but was unable to pull away from his nearest rival, Oliver Morig after the German downed 248 and 209.
The South African struggled in his next two games with 173 and 149 allowing Morig to narrow the deficit to 122 pins midway in the round. Korea's Lee Wanhee was consistent in the first half to stay in third while Ireland's Christopher Sloan gradually moved up the table to fourth.
After another low game in the 29th, Louw recovered with 232, 207 and 221 to round off another good day with a 1602 8-game series and a total of 7122 to remain in pole position for the next round.
Sloan finished the strongest in the field of 24 with 209, 258, 258 and 246 for the highest 8-game series of 1892 to snatch second position with 6996. Morig dropped to third with 6959 and Lee fourth with 6856.
Defending champion, Sam Cooley retained fifth position with 6852 despite knocking down a respectable 1737 series. Indonesia's Ryan Lalisang, who was fourth yesterday, slipped down to sixth with 6843. Czech Republic's Jaroslav Lorenc also retained seventh position with 6713.
Kuwait's Jasem Alsaaqer, who was hovering below the cut, stormed home with 242 in his final game to clinch the eighth and final position with 6710 to advance to the next round. Bermuda's David Maycock missed the cut by a distant 67 pins ending in ninth with 6643.
Meanwhile, overnight leader Natasha Roslan of Malaysia and Kelly Kulick of USA had a keen tussle for the lead throughout the 8-games block. Roslan remained in the lead at the start of the round but was quick to hand the lead over to Kulick after two lack-luster games of 169 and 187.
The American rolled 223 and 236 to move ahead of the Malaysian and held the lead after another game. Roslan recovered with two better games of 235 and 228 to retake the lead. Again her lead lasted only one game.
Kulick regained the lead with 243 and 223 but the gap between the two was only seven pins. Roslan again retook the lead before the final game but the American prevailed with a stronger 219 to clinch pole position with 6725.
Roslan settled for second position with 6710, just four pins adrift while two-time champion, Aumi Guerra of Dominican Republic kept her third spot with 6514. Australia's Rebecca Whiting, who was in ninth position overnight, made the biggest leap from ninth to fourth with 6495.
Brazil's Stphanie Martins, Russia's Maria Koshel and Korea's Jeon Eunhee finished fifth, sixth and seventh positions with 6468, 6417 and 6365 respectively. Venezuela's Karen Marcano clinched eighth position with 6351.
Finland's Sanna Pasanen missed the cut by a distant 72 pins with 6279 despite finishing strongly with 246 and 212 in her last two games. The best country award appears to be Australia especially with Cooley in fifth in the men's side and Whiting in fourth in the women's side.
The only other country which can challenge for the Bent Petersen trophy is Korea, with Lee in fourth in the men's division and Jeon in seventh position in the women's division. The top 8 men and top 8 women will contest the Top 8 Round-Robin Matchplay finals tomorrow.
Players will be awarded an additional 30 pins bonus for a win and 15 pins bonus for a tie. They will bowl seven matches with the eighth position-round match to dtermine the top 4 men and top 4 women proceeding to the stepladder finals.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Palembang, Indonesia.
South African cruises into next round
Consistency pays off for Malaysian
Malaysian regains lead after third block
Another stellar run by South African
Overnight leader builds up big lead
American takes over lead after second block
Malaysian tops Women's first block
South African leads opening block
QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup officially opens