CHAMPION: Singaporean breaks locals’ hearts at 3rd Penang Durian Masters Bowling Championship
GEORGE TOWN: Singaporean Tan Hock Seng turned out to be a thorn to the side of the local challengers, bagging the 3rd Penang Durian Masters Bowling Championship at the Premium Lanes Bowling Alley in Bayan Baru recently.
In the Open final, the left-handed Singaporean was trailing in third spot behind Negri Sembilan's Shamsul Riza Sahar and Ahmad Muaz Fishol of Kedah and had finished eighth of the 24 qualifiers in the preliminary round.
En route to the title match, Shamsul Riza was in devastating form as he led from start to finish to clinch the top position after six games.
He had a fiery 280 opening game and followed through with lines of 212, 259, 175, 278 to accumulate a 1,482 total for an 247 average.
Ahmad Muaz, who was also in remarkable form, rolled lines of 238, 269, 278, 248, 208, 214 for a 1,455 total for second place.
Hock Seng posted the lines of 210, 261, 214, 268, 247 and 213 for a 1,413 pins total and a 235.5 average to settle for the third spot.
It was a tense moment during the step-ladder finals where Shamsul Riza, Ahmad Muaz and Hock Seng were seeded one, two and three respectively.
In the step-ladder, Shamsul Riza was on track to clinch the title after making a strike from the eighth frame onwards. However, after hitting a solid pocket, the 10th pin was still standing.
The Negri Sembilan bowler coolly stepped up to the approach for his winning spare, but much to the astonishment of the cheering crowd, his weak delivery saw the ball going into the gutter.
Hock Seng, who ousted Ahmad Muaz 204-170 to earn his place in the final, was given a new lease of life when he delivered a strike in a tie breaker to force a sudden death game.
Unperturbed, Shamsul bombarded with a turkey to lead the race. However, a costly three-pin spare miss allowed his Singapore rival to surge into the lead with a double strike on the fifth and sixth frames.
Hock Seng spared on the seventh and reeled a turkey to shut off a late challenge by Shamsul.
Hock Seng, a 40-year-old forklift driver, was then declared the champion with a 222-199 score and won RM8,000 cash.
Shamsul Riza collected RM3,000 while Ahmad Muaz Fishol received RM2,000 for finishing third.
Earlier, during the Open final, three bowlers: Anugerah Roslan, Tan Hock Seng and Toh Yih Sheng achieved seven consecutive strikes which entitled each of them a high grade durian.
"This is my fourth trip to Penang and it definitely gave me fond memories, as this is my first win in bowling outside Singapore.
"I am a social bowler and started playing the sport about six years ago, and winning an international tournament overseas is like a once-in-a-life thing, so Penang is what I will never forget," said Hock Seng.
After the tournament, players, guests, media personnel, family members, visitors and officials who were at the bowling alley, were feted to a "durian high-tea", consisting of 500kg of high grade durian worth RM20,000.
The guests were also treated to rambutan, mangosteen, chempadak and other types of food.
Present were State Youth and Sports, Women Development, Family and Community Affairs Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi, Penang Tenpin Bowling Association deputy president Dr Ong Shaw Feng and state sports council director Leong Theng Choon.
Also present were Asian Inter-city Bowling Council deputy president Richard Lai and North Sumatra Tenpin Bowling Association president Singgih Goenawan.
RESULTS -- Open: 1 Shamsul Riza Sahar (NS) 1,482 pinfalls, 2 Ahmad Muaz Fishol (Ked) 1,455, 3 Tan Hock Seng (Sin) 1,413; Step-Ladder: Tan Hock Seng (Sin) 204 bt Ahmad Muaz Fishol (Ked) 170; Final: Tan Hock Seng (Sin) 202(10)/222 bt Shamsul Riza Sahar (NS) 202(8)/199.