Maiden win for Malaysian and Korean

24th March, K.Lumpur: Malaysian national bowler, Zandra Aziela and Korea's Joung Seong Joo took their maiden win after capturing the Ladies' and Men's Open Masters titles of the 30th Malaysian International Open Bowling Championship which concluded Saturday evening.  Zandra, who finished second in the Mlo Junior All Stars in December last year, made amends by winning her first-ever international title after defeating Daphne Tan of Singapore, 224-197 in the ladies' stepladder finals.

The top-seed started off the deciding match with a double strike which clearly put pressure on her opponent when she had an open frame in the second. Despite responding with three strikes, Zandra pulled away with a turkey from the sixth frame onwards to cruise to a convincing victory.

Daphne, who finished fifth in the semifinals, had earlier edged out Zandra's teammates Siti Safiyah Amirah and Zatil Iman, 203-183-192 in the second stepladder match. The Singaporean outclassed defending champion, Diandra Asbaty of USA and sixth-seed, Esther Cheah, 246-211-158 in the first match.

In the men's division, Korean national bowler, Joung Seong Joo proved too strong for his challenger and 2006 Milo Junior All Stars champion, Jason Belmonte of Australia, 250-225 to claim his first-ever international open title.

The top-seed set a blistering pace and never gave his opponent any chance at all to settle down with six strikes in a row. The champion acheived the amazing feat using his "spare" ball but a small mistake in the seventh frame saw the ball going into the gutter.

Despite the poor shot, Joung manage to spare on his second throw and went on to cruise to a comfortable victory while the Aussie never really got into his stride. Belmonte had earlier put an end to Malaysia's hope of a place in the final when he eliminated Alex Liew and another Korean, Choi Bok Eum, 266-235-187.

Liew moved into the second match after he ousted teammate and fourth-seed, Daniel Lim and sixth-seed, Wu Siu Hong of Hong Kong, 247-179-214. Zulmazran Zulkifli, who tied with Wu in sixth position in the semifinals, lost the tie-breaker playoff, 236-258.

The Korean took home Asia's highest champion prize of US$25,000 while Jason Belmonte won US$10,000 and Choi Bok Eum US$4,000. Alex Liew, Daniel Lim and Wu Siu Hong won US$2,000, US$1,600 and US$1,400 respectively.

Zandra pocketed US$7,000 for the victory while the first runner-up took home US$3,500. Siti Safiyah earned US$1,500 for finishing third and Zatil Iman US$1,200.

With not enough lady bowlers from the rest of the world (exclude Asia) in the finals, the Canon Cup 2007 will now be contested between best 3 men, 2 women of Malaysia and the best 3 men, 2 women from the rest of the world (include Asia).

And making the team for Malaysia are (line-up in this order) Daniel Lim, Zandra Aziela, Alex Liew, Siti Safiyah and Zulmazran Zulkifli while Team ROW will comprise of Choi Bok Eum, Amanda Ng, Joung Seng Joo, Daphne Tan and Jason Belmonte. The Canon Cup 2007 will commence at 12.30pm on Sunday, 25th March at Pyramid Mega Lanes and will be broadcast LIVE over Astro Supersport (Channel 80).

Photos by Terence Yaw, MTBC.