PBF 3rd Philippine International Open 2019
Aussie poised to retain title
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15th June, Manila: Reigning AMF World Cup champion, Sam Cooley of Australia is well poised to defend the Men's Open Masters title of the PBF 3rd Philippine International Open after winning Round 1 finals on Saturday.

Cooley got off the blocks brilliantly with a splendid 270 in his opening game to lead Singapore's Marcus Lim by 27 pins. Others with strong games were Hong Kong's Joshua Chow in third with 227, India's Dhruv Sarda in fourth with 224 and Bahrain's Abdulla Ali in fifth with 222.

The Aussie lost the lead after managing only 201 as Lim moved ahead with another strong game of 243. A second Singaporeanm, Basil Ng moved up to third with 232 ahead of Malaysia's Muhammad Syazirol in fourth and the Bahraini maintaining fifth.

Cooley bounced back with a stunning 268 to regain the lead and opening up a gap of 50 pins as Lim downed 200. Hong Kong's Alex Yu and Ng stayed close to the leading pair. Cooley and Ng were engaged in a battle for the lead as both exchanged lead in the next fourth games.

Sam Cooley winning the Men's Open Round 1 finals

But Cooley kept his momentum and composure to reel in 204, 258 and 223 in his last three games to win the round with a total of 1843. Ng also finished strongly with 212, 216 and 238 to share the lead with the Aussie.

2018 World Men Championships Trios silver medallist, Billy Muhammad Islam of Indonesia stormed home to snatch third spot with 1768 while a third Hong Kong national bowler, Ernest Kwok also stormed home to clinch fourth spot with 1706.

Lim completed the top five with 1684 after fizzling out in his last two games. Ali, Yu, Syazirol, Malaysia's Jonhathan Chan, Sarda and Hong Kong's Ivan Tse also advanced in sixth to 11th positions.

Singapore's Ahmad Safwan survived the cut to take up 12th position with 1617. 2019 Asian Youth triple gold medallist, Brandon Ong of Singapore missed the cut by three pins after finishing 13th position with 1614.

The top 12 finishers in this round advanced to Round 3 and will be joined by the top 6 local and top 6 overseas seeded qualifiers for another 8 games. The top 3 finishers at the end of Round 2 finals will advance to the stepladder shootout finals to determine the champion.

Round 1 Top 3, Basil Ng, Sam Cooley and Billy M. Islam

The Ladies' Open Masters Round 1 finals will be held after lane maintenance while the Men's and Ladies' Graded Masters finals will be staged later this evening.

The third edition of the new PBF Philippine International Open is sponsored by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and other sponsors including Boysen Paints, Smart Communications, MVP Foundation, Cafe Puro, Prima Pasta, The City Bowling Shop, Jollibee, The Bowler and Timberpro.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Manila, Philippines.

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