PRAI: Shalin Zulkifli is well poised to end the year with a bang as she surged into the lead after the first block of the final in the Penang Pesta International Bowling Championship at the Megalanes Prai yesterday.
The national and Asian number one bowler shot down 2091 pins in the first 10 games in the women's open final.
She rolled down lines of 207, 195, 234, 201, 204, 218, 213, 186, 205, 228 to lead closest challenger Tay Hong Keow of Singapore by 76 pins heading into today's second block of 10 games.
Hong Keow and defending champion Jennifer Tan were the only non-Malaysians who finished in the top 10 to make the cut for today's final round.
Jennifer, who received a bye in the qualifying round, only scraped through in ninth position after managing 1859 and faces an uphill task to retain her title.
The other Malaysians who joined Shalin for today's action were Sharon Chai, Wendy Chai, Voon Kim Ling, Tang Joh Six, Rohaya Abdul Rahim, Elaine Lam and Low Poh Lian.
Asian Games gold medallist Kim Hyo-mi of South Korea, who led the field in the qualifying round, had a dismal day when she could only finish 12th with 1833. She was eliminated.
Lai Siew Wai is in pole position in the men's open after knocking down 2036 pins in the 1st block of the finals. Siew Wai scored lines of 235, 202, 182, 185, 190, 225, 218, 226, 191, 182 to lead Philippines' Juan Diego Candano by a slim 10-pin margin.
Veteran bowler Ricky Chen is the highest ranked Malaysian in third place with 2021.
Penang's teenage duo of Aaron Kong (6th) and Mohd Faiz Sharuddin (7th) are also within striking distance of the lead in today's 16-man final round.
National youth squad bowler Esther Cheah Mei Lan won the women's graded title after staving off a strong challenge from Penang's Irene Lee and Friday's Girls Open category champion Zandra Aziela.
Esther, the daughter of national coach Holloway Cheah, won after finishing a mere five pins in front of Irene.
Former national bowler Ng Yiew Hup had double reason to celebrate yesterday. He survived the cut for the men's open final by coming in 13th position and then went on to be crowned the senior masters category champion.
Yiew Hup trailed Singapore's Roger Tuar before turning on the power in the 7th game and never relinquished his lead. He finished 98 pins ahead of the Singaporean.
Malaysians unless stated
Men's Open (Finals 1st block): 1. Lai Siew Wai (Sin) 2036, 2. Juan Diego Candano (Phi) 2026, 3. Ricky Chen 2021, 4. Tommy Ong (Sin) 2008, 5. Purvis Granger (Phi) 2003, 6. Aaron Kong 2000, 7. Mohd Faiz Sharuddin 1999, 8. Daniel Lim 1994, 9. Zaid Izlan 1975, 10. Richard Leo (Sin) 1971, 11. Ong Shaw Feng 1971, 12. Azidi Ameran 1960, 13. Ng Yiew Hup 1960, 14. Kim Kyung Min (Kor) 1956, 15. Mustafa Yassin 1954, 16. Rohezan Abdul Manaf (Sin) 1945.
Senior Masters (Final): 1. Ng Yiew Hup 2036, 2. Roger Tuar (Sin) 1938, 3. CY Lai 1937 4. Hamzah Amin and S.T. Pank 1928, 6. Rick Tan (Sin) 1925, 7. Azizan Hanif 1898, 8. Ricky Chen 1885, 9. Ong Shaw Feng 1868, 10. Albert Yeoh 1859.
Women's Open (Finals 1st block): 1. Shalin Zulkifli 2091, 2. Tay Hong Keow (Sin) 2015, 3. Sharon Chai 1940, 4. Wendy Chai 1918, 5. Voon Kim Ling 1895, 6. Tang Joh Six 1877, 7. Rohaya Abdul Rahim 1864, 8. Elaine Lam 1861, 9. Jennifer Tan (Sin) 1859, 10. Low Poh Lian 1855.
Women's Graded (Final): 1. Esther Cheah 1912, 2. Irene Lee 1907, 3. Zandra Aziela 1857, 4. Sharon Koh 1835, 5. Elaine Lam 1790, 6. Angelina Karto (Ina) 1781, 7. Cindy Wilson Ho (Sin) 1758, 8. Trish Khoo 1758, 9. Susan Ng (Sin) 1733, 10. Yap Pui Yee 1717.