44th MWA-Singha Thailand International Open
Korean retains pole position
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12th April, Bangkok: Overnight leader, Lee Won Seok of Korea shot his second perfect game during the second block to remain in the lead of the Men's Open Masters qualifying standings at the 44th MWA-Singha Thailand International Open.

Lee, who had a 75 pin cushion from a 1249 first block series, added a second 5-game series of 1236 to lead the field with a total of 2485 including a 278 game in the ninth and his second 300 in the tenth game in Squad D.

The 21-year-old Korean National Sports University student, who won the Men's Grade A Masters finals two days ago, finished 163 pins ahead of Youth Under-21 and Men's Grade A Masters champion, Park Geon Ha in second with 2322.

Squad C leader and top local qualifier, Atchariya Cheng took third spot overall with 2225. Singapore's Darren Ong Wei Siong, who was second to Cheng, totaled 2214 for fourth position while 2017 PBA-WBT World Bowling Tour Thailand champion, Yannaphon Larpapharat of Thailand rounded out the top five with 2202.

Overall and top overseas qualifier, Lee Won Seok

The top three overseas pool qualifiers, Lee, Park and Ong and Atchariya, Yannaphon and 2014 Asian Games Singles bronze medallist, Sithiphol Kunaksorn were the top three local pool qualifiers and will skip Round 2 finals.

Squad B winner, Hsien Chin-Liang headed the mixed pool with 2201 ahead of Joshua Chow of Hong Kong, Lin Pai-Feng of Chinese Taipei and Basil Ng of Singapore completing the top 10. The cut in 26th position went to 2017 SEA Games Team gold medallist, Muhd Jaris Goh of Singapore with 2097, averaging 209.7.

Meanwhile in the Ladies' Open division, Singapore's Cherie Tan led from start to finish in Squad C in the second block to top the field and the overseas pool with 2314. 2017 World Championships Team gold medallist and Squad A leader, Esther Cheah finished second overall with 2264.

Debutant, Lee Sim Gyeol of Korea, who was second to Cheah in Squad C, took third spot with 2170. 2016 Thailand Open Ladies' Open Masters champion, Yanee Saebe led the local pool with 1990 ahead of Natthida Sertluecha in second with 1897 and Kantaporn Singhabuboha in third with 1857.

The top three overseas pool and top three local pool qualifiers will also skip Round 2 finals. Singapore's Shayna Ng missed the top bracket by 8 pins to head the mixed pool with 2162. Her team-mate, Bernice Lim, Siti Safiyah of Malaysia and New Hui Fen of Singapore rounded out the top 10.

Squad C leader and top qualifier, Cherie Tan

The cut in 22nd position went to Kim Ju Hyeong of Korea with 2025, averaging 202.5. The bowlers will resume with their third and final block of five games tomorrow, divided into four squads. A one-game desperado squad only for the Men's Open division will be contested at the end of the third block.

The top four finishers will join Men's Open qualifiers positioned 7 to 26 for a six-game Round 2 finals on April 14, with the top 14 finishers advancing to Round 3 joined by the six Men's Open seeded qualifiers for another six games.

Ladies' Open qualifiers positioned 7 to 22 will contest the six-game Round 2 finals with the top 10 advancing to Round 3 joined by the six seeded Ladies' Open qualifiers for another six games. The top 6 men and top 6 ladies will proceed to the stepladder finals.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Bangkok.

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