Malaysian set to retain title as UAE scores perfect game
31st March, K.Lumpur: Malaysian sensation, Siti Safiyah Amirah looked set to retain the Ladies' Open Masters title after leading the first block of the 29th Malaysian International Open while UAE's Saeed Ibrahim topped the men's division scoring the tournament's first perfect game. The 15-year-old, who created history last year by becoming the youngest-ever Malaysian to capture the ladies' title, set a blistering pace with back-to-back 265 and 264 to take a comfortable lead in the 8-game first block finals this morning.
Despite starting off poorly, Diandra Asbaty of USA, put up a late challenge to finish second, 35 pins adrift at the end of the block. Siti totaled 1765 to Diandra's 1730. 2003 World Championship Masters Bronze medalist and Selangor Open champion, Lee Eun-Ock did well to take up third spot with 1720, just 10 pins further away.
"After building up a comfortable lead with two high games, I was able to relax a bit and maintain a good pace," said the Asian Youth and SEA Games Gold medalist. "I'll probably need to work harder tomorrow (Saturday) if I want to finish in the top 6 stepladder finals.
UAE's Saeed Ibrahim scored the tournament's first perfect game en-route to topping the men's division with a superb 1806, 25 pins ahead of his nearest opponent. Four-time World Cup champion and World Bowler of the Century, Paeng Nepomuceno of the Philippines, kept in close contact with the leader to finish second on 1781.
"Winning the Canon photo printer is nice but socring the first perfect game of the tournament made me happier," said the 38-year-old businessman from Dubai, who has 14 perfect games to his credit. "I hope I can maintain the same pace in the second block for a place in the stepladder finals.
Malaysian National rookie, Isaac Russell Paul was the best Malaysian performer finishing third with 1760. The good performance will certainly give the 18-year-old a shot of being selected for the World Youth in Germany this July.
Asian Ranked No. 1, Alex Liew of Malaysia is also in the hunt for a spot in the stepladder finals with a fourth place finish on 1745 followed by Commonwealth Youth Games Gold medalist, Zaid Izlan in fifth with 1725.
The ladies finalists will bowl another 8 games in the second block tomorrow (Saturday) at 9.30am while the men will commence their block at 1.00pm. The stepladder will commence at approximately 4.00pm.
Photos by Terence Yaw, MTBC.