Singaporeans come away empty handed
6th June, Singapore: Singaporeans, Cherie Tan and Jasmine Yeong-Nathan came away empty handed in the 42nd Singapore International Open despite their promising runs in the Women's second block finals to make the stepladder. Reigning World Cup champion, Jasmine Yeong-Nathan, who had a great run in the first block to finish third behind two Malaysians, Sharon Koh and Shalin Zulkifli. The 21-year-old Sportswomen of the Year started the second block well with 223 and 226 but struggled with 178, 163 and 181 in the next three games and looked danger of missing the top 6 stepladder finals cut.
But Jasmine recovered with 236, 235 and 229 to haul herself back and into fifth spot with a total of 3436. Cherie Tan, who was 13th overnight, gave a good account of herself by finishing third and advancing into the stepladder finals.
Cherie posted 208, 230, 238, 225, 222, 232, 231 and 269 to end with 2504. Overnight leader, Sharon Koh and second-placed, Shalin Zulkifli maintained first and second with 3772 and 3622 while two more Malaysians, Zandra Aziela and Siti Safiyah Amirah took fourth and sixth spots.
In the first match, Jasmine could not have asked for a better showing knocking down 228 but found fourth-seed, Zandra (230) and sixth-seed, Siti (245) a handful to settle for sixth position.
Siti Safiyah repeated her fine form to knock out compatriot and second-seed, Shalin and third-seed, Cherie Tan, 248-222-226 to advance into the all-Malaysian title match against topseed, Sharon Koh.
Sharon went on to claimed the title by beating Siti, 211-181 to win the Women's Open Masters title and S$5,000 after two previous consecutive stepladder appearances.
"I'm not disapointed with myself," said the 21-year-old Cherie Tan. "Afterall, I was 13th yesterday and I bowled great today to make the stepladder finals. I made a bad mistake missing the single pin in the fourth frame so I guess I only have myself to blame."
"What can I say. My opponents were better on the day," said Jasmine after losing the first match despite a strong game. "I did my best but I guessed Siti and Zandra were better."
Geraldine Ng, who was sixth before the final game, shot a poor 179 to miss the stepladder cut in eighth. Teo Li Ying and Amanda Ng finished in the top 10 in ninth and tenth position respectively.
Meanwhile, another southpaw and topseed, Shaker Al-Hassan of UAE won his first international title this year after he was forced into the sudden-death decider losing to challenger and second-seed, Sean Rash, 190-192 in the first match.
But Shaker recovered to comfortably beat the American PBA bowler, 232-150 in the title match to win S$25,000 top prize. Rash, who has four PBA titles to his credit, settled for second despite defeating third-seed, Somjed Kusonpithak of Thailand and Hussain Al-Suwaidi, 224-223-178 in the earlier second match.
Defending champion and sixth-seed, Hussain ousted joint fourth-seed, Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia and overnight leader, Wu Siu Hong of Hong Kong, 204-203-188 in the first match.
"My confidence grew when I was able to qualify for the finals with a good score," said the 40-year-old Shaker and winner of two titles last year. "I had many close call this year taking a few podium finishes but not winning any. For sure I'm happy with this win."
"Shaker should have sealed the match with a solid pocket in the last frame of the first match but was unlucky to leave pin 7," said the winner of four PBA titles, Sean Rash of Wichita, Kansas.
"He bowled well the whole week and in the finals so he really deserve the victory. The standard of bowling is extremely high and I'm lucky to get where I am considering only being here for the last three days."
Remy Ong of Singapore, who was sixth in the first block, just could not get into his strides ending the second block in 12th position, 96 pins off sixth-placed Hussain. Dato Dr. P.S. Nathan, President of MTBC and Honoary Life President of WTBA presented the trophies. Mr Lim Kok Hin of main sponsor, Canon Singapore gave away the mock cheques to the champions.
Photos by Terence Yaw for SBF.