8th December, Doha: Hong Kong, China national, Keith Mark did well to finish fourth in Step 1 final of the H.H. Emir Cup 2023 to advance to the next round on Friday.
Mark had a poor start with 180 in his opening game but recovered with 223 and 205 to stay within the top 10 cut. William Svensson of Sweden got off to a brilliant start with 262 and 225 in his first two games to lead the field of 26 finalists.
The two-hander Swede stumbled to a poor 178 in the third game allowing his compatriot, Timmie Ahl to move closer in second and Tan up in third, a further 2 pins adrift. Ahl added a superb 249 to take over the running while Tan overtook Svensson for second spot past the half-way mark.
Svensson bounced back with 248 in the fifth game to regain the lead with Ali Al-Haider of Kuwait quietly moving up to second and Ahl slipping into third. Qatari youth Saad Al Sulaiti moved up to fourth and Tan dropping down to fifth.
Tan recovered and took over the lead after a stunning 257 in the sixth game while Svensson suffered another setback with 176 to trail the Malaysia in second. Ahl was third, just one pin from Svensson. There was no stopping Tan as he eased home with 226 and 215 in his last two games to win the final with 1777. Ahl also finished strong with 195 and 254 to take up second with 1739, 38 pins behind.
Al-Haider stormed home with 266 in his final game to snatch third spot with 1734. Keith Mark of Hong Kong, China finished well with several big games to take up fourth with 1717 while Svensson settled for fifth with 1710.
Khaled Al-Dubyyan of Kuwait survived the cut in tenth position with 1623 while Al Sulaiti missed the cut by five pins in 11th with 1619. Aidas Daniunas of Lithuania finished 12th with 1618, a further one pin away.
The top 10 advanced to Step 2 finals for another 8 games tomorrow, joined by the top 6 seeded qualifiers from the general standings. Eric Tseng, Wu Siu Hong and Ivan Tse are among the top 6 seeded qualifiers. The top 5 with the highest scores in Step 2 finals will proceed to the next step.
Players positioned 3, 4 and 5 will bowl one game in Step 3. The winner will proceed to meet the second seed from Step 2 over one game in Step 4. The winner in Step 4 will meet the top seed from Step 2 in the title match in Step 5. The winner of Step 5 will be declared the champion and a chance to take home US$25,000 in prize money.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Doha, Qatar.