PETALING JAYA: American Diandra Hyman and England's Zara Glover were the star performers in the World Championships at the Pyramid Mega Lanes here last year.
They are back to mount another strong showing – this time in the Malaysian Open.
The 24-year-old bubbly American now competes as Diandra Asbaty. She married to her college sweetheart, John, after her sizzling performances at the world meet, including victory in the Masters event.
“I took a short break after the world meet. I got married on Oct 11 and went to Tahiti for the honeymoon,” she said.
“I competed with the name Asbaty for the first time in the Punatacana championships in the Dominican Republic.
“I was nervous and was hoping that the new name will not be some kind of curse. I went on to win that tournament. I was so happy.
“In January, we had our national selection. I scored a perfect game en route to making the American team again. I certainly like my new name.”
Asbaty made her first attempt in the Malaysian Open Masters qualifying rounds yesterday and moved into third spot with a score of 858 in the foreign pool.
“Malaysia brings back fond memories. And when I was invited for this tournament, I said yes immediately. Everyone will be competitive here and I hope I can represent USA well here,” she said.
For the 23-year-old Glover, her three-gold medal haul at the world championships brought her many job opportunities. And she is now a bowling coach in south England.
“I coach at six different centres and it has kept me busy since the world meet. I was also able to learn more about bowling,” said Glover, who completed a degree in psychology studies after the world meet.
On her chance in the Malaysian Open, Glover said: “I did not bowl so well today. I had low scores in my four-game attempt.
“But I did better in the doubles event. I'll probably need more time to get adjusted here and I hope to make the cut for the Masters and we'll see how it goes from there.”
Glover knocked down 765 pins for third spot in the mixed pool.
With strong challenges expected from a world-class field, the Malaysian women, led by Shalin Zulkifli, are certainly in for a tough time.
Shalin, Wendy Chai, Sarah Yap and Choy Poh Lai have the task to end Malaysia's eight-year wait for the Open title.
Besides Asbaty and Glover, the field will also include defending champion and World Championships gold medallist Liza Del Rosario of the Philippines, Singapore's Jennifer Tan and Taiwanese Wang Yu-ling.
The qualifying rounds end tomorrow and the top 33 women and top 39 men, including the respective defending champions, will advance to the Masters Finals.
The top 32 women will include the top 11 each from the local and foreign pools and the top 10 from the mixed pool.
The 38 men will comprise the top 13 each from the local and foreign pools and top 12 in the mixed pool.
LEADING QUALIFYING SCORES
* National bowlers unless stated
Local pool: 1. Ben Heng, Eric Ang (Pen) 966, 3. Aaron Kong 945, 4. F. J. Lim (Pah) 943, 5. Mohd Noer Said 936.
Foreign: 1. Khalifa Al-Kubaisi (Qat) 979, 2. Shahwal Mustafa (Bru) 949, 3. Ahmed Shaheen (Qat) 918, 4. Mubarak Al-Murikhi (Qat) 908, 5. Abdulla Al-Qattan (Qat) 907.
Mixed: 1. Jonathan Lim 866, 2. Zaid Izlan (Sel) 861, 3. Yousif Jaber (Qat) 855, 4. Ng Yiew Hup (Sel) 854, 5. Ayad Al-Amiri (Kuw) 850 and Yaqoud Al-Shatti (Kuw) 850.
Local: 1. Shalin Zulkilfi, Siti Khadijah Osman 890, 3. Low Poh Lian 886, 4. Esther Cheah 882, 5. Wendy Chai 873.
Foreign: 1. Jennifer Tan (Sin) 904, 2. Evelyn Chan (Sin) 878, 3. Diandra Asbaty (Usa) 858, 4. Alice Tay (Sin) 834, 5. Tsai Hsin-yi (Tpe) 829.
Mixed: 1. Putty Armein (Ina) 776, 2. Chine Hsiu-lan (Tpe) 772, 3. Zara Glover (Eng) 765, 4. Vanessa Fung (Hkg) 760, 5. T. Ratchanee (Tha) 757.