9th September, Kuching: Topseed, Cheah Yung Ren of Malaysia captured the Open Masters title of the Sarawak International Open Bowling Championships 2023 after narrowly defeating compatriot, Ahmad Azriq Izamuddin, 184-171 in the Last Man Standing title match.
Ahmad Azriq started off well with a strike in his opening frame as Cheah converted two 3-pin spares. An unfortunate big 5-pin split in the third frame from Ahmad Azriq gave Cheah a slight edge. Ahmad Azriq bounced back with a double in the fourth and fifth frames to draw level.
The Malaysian youngster was delt with another 5-pin split in the seventh frame forcing Ahmad Azriq to trail Cheah by 31 pins when Cheah rolled a double in the fifth and sixth frames. Although Cheah failed to convert a simple 3-pin spare, Ahmad simply had no answer to mount any fight-back.
The 27-year-old insurance broker went on to clinch the match and took home the top prize of RM20,000 (approx. US$4,280) as champion. Ahmad settled for RM10,000 as first runner-up and Tsen Fan Yew of Malaysia pocketed RM5,000 as second runner-up.
In the first Last Man Standing match, Cheah shot 189, second-seed Hairon Wang of Singapore managed only 157 to bow out and took home RM2,500 as third runner-up. Ahmad topped the match with 190 while fourth-seed Tsen rolled 186 to advance to the next match.
The second match was a much closer affair and needed the final frame to decide who would advance to the title match. Cheah prevailed with 197 and Ahmad Azriq again topped the match with 202. Tsen was eliminated with 192.
In the earlier 8-games Masters finals, the champion topped the field of 60 finalists with 1877, just 15 pins ahead of Hairon Awang in second with 1862, thanks to a 16-pin handicap per game he received as a senior.
Ahmad Azriq edged Tsen by 1 pin to finish third with 1816 while Tsen made the cut for the Last Man Standing finals in fourth position with 1815. Ex-international Muhd Nur Aiman of Johor, Malaysia missed the cut by 20 pins in fifth with 1795.
The Guest of Honour, Yang Berhormat Dato Gerald Tentap Jabu, Assistant Minister for Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development, Sarawak was on hand to present the prizes to winners of the Open, Classified and Youth U25 division winners.
Prior to the title match, Mr Sunny Si, President of Amateur Bowling Association of Sarawak (ABAS) gave his closing remarks followed by YB Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu delivering his speech. The Guest of Honour and distinguished guests then witnessed the exciting title match, which was live streamed.
The championship concluded with a victory banquet hosted by ABAS at Megalanes Sarawak, E-mart Baru Kawa for guests, team officials, coaches and participants whilst the band, At Adau entertained all present with their traditional Sarawak music.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Kuching, Sarawak.
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