21st December, Seberang Prai: Malaysian National youth and top-seed, Izz Naqiuddin Putera nrrowly defeated challenger, Wan Muhd Naqib of TWF Shaklee, Kedah, 237-231 in the all-Malaysian stepladder final match to emerge as champion of the 49th Penang Pesta International Open Bowling Championships.
Both contenders started off with spares in the opening frame of the final match. Both then matched strikes for strikes in their next four frame with nothing seprating the duo. Naqiuddin added two additional strikes in the sixth and seventh frames while Naqib managed only a spare in his sixth frame and suffered a split in the seventh.
And when Naqib missed a costly single pin in the eighth frame, the tie was sealed and dusted. Although Naqib struck in the ninth, tenth and 11th frame to end with 231 with an 8-pin handicap, Naqiuddin did not need to spare his final frame to win the match and clinched the title.
Naqiuddin pocketed the top prize of RM30,000 (approx. US$6,440) as champion. Third-seed Naqib, who thrashed second-seed, Matthew Ong Tzi Ming of Sunway Megalanes, 265-238 in the semi-finals, settled for RM20,000 as first runner-up.
Ong picked up RM10,000 for his effort as second runner-up. In the earlier 8-games Masters finals, Naqiuddin topped the field with 1868 pinfalls followed by Ong in second with 1802. Naqib finished third with 1795 to make up the top 3 proceeding to the stepladder finals.
Azriq Izam of Kuala Lumpur missed the cut by 17 pins after finishing fourth with 1778. Newly-crowned Mixed Grade A champion, Ezzat Ezani of Kedah rounded out the top 5 with 1776. Joint top qualifier, Muhammad Syazirol and member of the Malaysian National squad, who was at one stage in the top 3, fizzled off to end in seventh with 1738.
Hazel Chew Si Min of Bowling Is Science, Singapore was the best women finisher in eighth position with 1730 and was awarded as Women Champion, RM3,000 and a trophy. A total of 104 bowlers participated in this year's Mixed Open division.
They bowled two blocks of 6-games qualifying rounds over two days. The top 48 with the highest pinfalls made the cut for today's final. A victory banquet will be hosted by Penang Tenpin Bowling Association which will be held at the Ballroom of Cititel Hotel Penang at 8.00pm.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Seberang Prai, Malaysia.