26th May, Singapore: Singapore national bowlers, Basil Low and Amanda Ng grabbed the early lead in the Men's and Women's Open Masters qualifying standings at the 43rd Singapore International Open underway at Orchid Bowl @ Orchid Country Club.
Basil Low, who was promoted to the national rank from the development squad after winning the Asian Youth Games Masters gold medal in 2009, will be hoping to end a four-year break since a Singaporean had won the coveted Men's crown.
Ex-national, Lee Yu-Wen took the 2006 title after Singapore's seasoned campaigner and veteran, Jack Wong won it a year ago in 2005. Since then, PBA pro, Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, Hussain Al-Suwaidi and Shaker Al-Hassan of UAE all triumphed in the next three years.
American PBA pro and Samho Cup champion, Tim Mack is the only bowler who had won the Singapore Open title three times in 2004, 2001 and 2000. The championship is Mack's favorite championship and will be hoping to bag the title for the fourth time.
Low's 4-game effort of 857 has put the 17-year-old in the lead but with so many days left for qualifying, his grip on pole position may not last. Newcomer, Kelvin Koh finished second with 852 ahead of national youth, Ng Tiac Pin in third with 831.
Singapore's most successful kegler, Remy Ong has yet to win the elusive title despite showing great form when he captured the 2009 Qatar Open crown and most recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Open in April this year. Ong is sixth in the standings with 752.
Meanwhile, only a handful of women has taken to the lanes for their qualifying rounds but the early leader is national bowler, Amanda Ng after posting 830. National youth rookie, Kristel Oh and Teo Li Ying claimed second and third with 815 and 764.
Sabeena Saleem of India was the only foreign women who has made her attempt and her 801 effort put her in pole position in the overseas pool.
Suresh Elangowan topped the Youth Boys division with 870, the highest 4-game total of the tournament thus far. Marc Wee Ming Lei and ex-national youth, Shaun Lau second and third with 831 and 822 respectively.
2007 Singapore Open Youth Girls champion and two-time first runnerup, Gina Lim of Singapore topped the Youth Girls table with a superb 861 to lead Joan Tan Lu Yun and Tan Yan Ling in second and third with 841 and 803.
Qualifying continues until June 3 and the majority of the overseas competitor are expected to arrive May 30 and 31 which will give the local bowlers stiffer competition and driving the qualifying higher.