Super Series is a new European Bowling tour that started 2003, with it´s first competition in Aalborg, Denmark. The new tournament has 6 tour stops and a grande finale in Jönköping, Sweden, during easter 2004. The prize money will be the highest ever in Sweden. Swedish Television, SVT, NRK, Norwegian Television and Viasat Denmark is broadcasting the finals from each tour stops live. The Grande Finale in Jönköping will be broadcasted live on Swedish National channel and can be wied all over the country. Today the tour stops are in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, but in a very short time, probably the season 2004/2005, the tour will expand to the rest of the European bowling countries. Those countries will probably be Germany, England, Spain, France and Italy.
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Ballmaster, Helsinki

Ballmaster Open
first time in Super Series

Ballmaster Open, the first ERT tournament of 2004 and the fifth and last stop of the Super Series ended in a suspense final and Pasi Uotila´s emotional victory. This was once again a wonderful week of bowling in Finland.
Kimmo Lehtonen took a big step two years ago, when he took over the Ballmaster Open. A year ago he took an even bigger step, when he joined the tournament with the Swedish Super Series. It all paid out, with Kimmo Lehtonen´s actions the Ballmaster Open has risen back among the biggest.

The strength of the Ballmaster Open has always been the active participation of the Finnish bowlers and the presence of the foreign participants from several countries. This year the tournament gathered 269 participants, mighty 201 of which came from Finland. Visitors came from 15 countries, most (26) from Sweden, even though the ladies National Team tryouts kept the lady bowlers in their home country. The participants from other countries were: Russia 9, Estonia 7, Germany 6, England and Norway 4, Denmark, Holland, France and Austria 2 and USA, Australia, Italy Spain and Latvia one.


As told before, 269 players took part to qualification. The total number of entries grew up to 545 with 276 re-entries.
Already after the first squad it was sure that the scoring level will be high. Pasi Uotila shot 1422. Also two 300 games were seen in the start at January 1st in Tali bowling arena. The first one was bowled by Panu Nurmilo in the 3rd game and the second one later by Juha Maja, who is the coach of the Finnish youth National team. Neither Nurmilo or Maja did at the end reach the finals with the total scores 1336 and 1343.
On the second day, in the fourth squad national top player Mika Luoto took the lead and kept it to the end. World Championships single gold medallist Luoto hit the new 6 games record 1585 in Tali center with big games 290, 258, 247, 245, 246 and 299. The third 300 game in Ballmaster Open was denied only by a stubborn 7-pin.
Only 15 players managed to reach the top 42 with their firs entry. The cut was finally 1349. Martin Blixt of Sweden was the last man in the group of best. Among the top 42, there where 28 Finnish and 10 Swedish players, with one from Denmark, England, USA and Australia. Six female players managed to break the male wall, best of them was Denmarks Britt Bröndsted with the score 1427 (including hcp 48).
From 76-player Desperado best made the finals with the scores between 276 and 256. The finalist’s group grew a little more international when Menno van den Heuvel of Netherland came in with the score 256.


The biggest reform for this years tournament was the format of the final, brought by the Super Series. It certainly left no one cold. On five first shoot-out rounds there were eight matches to watch, on the last, sixth round there were four matches. There was a lot of action to watch and the suspense built up. So the format got lots of positive feedback.
The format created a totally new beat in the finals and surely no one wants to give up it anymore. It enables reasonable possibility of surprises, but still keeps the part of luck on low level.
And surprises there where a lot. First of them, a big one, was the loss of Anders Öhman to the young Finnish National Team lady player Minna Mäkelä. “Linus” won first two games 241-196 and 235-196, but then lost three next games 132-233, 226-229 and 203-208. Later on Mäkelä continued until the fourth round.
On the second round, late Monday evening two 300 games warmed up the center and spectators. Osku Palermaa of Finland made the first in the 3rd game and Juha Immonen also of Finland one game later.
Third round was “a Waterloo” to the Swedish players. Martin Blixt lost to Jussi Turtiainen 0-3, Robert Andersson to Sami Konsteri 1-3 and Martin Larsen to Jouni Helminen 2-3, the last game with 5 points 207-205. The biggest surprise on the 3rd round was, when Joonas Jehkinen (17) beat old National Team player Olli Hossi 3-1. Jehkinen is a second generation bowlers who’s father Kari Jehkinen played for years in the Finnish Team. Joonas is playing in the junior team now.
On the 4th round Austrian national team player Thomas Gross broke Minna Mäkelä’s flight with 3 big games 278-219, 257-243 and 234-217. Peder Jacobsson did the same to Joonas Jehkinen in four games. Lasse Lintilä beat another big hero, Tomas Leandersson also 3-1. Another second generation bowler, USA’s Robert Spigner, whos father Bill has won many PBA tournaments, beat Jussi Turtiainen 3-0.
Female international finalists Britt Bröndsted and Kirsten Penny dit not leave doors open to their male opponents. Britt beat Robert Spigner without questions with the scores 255-162, 213-210 and 263-257. Kirsten Penny cut the way of Peder Jacobsson of Sweden also in three games with scores 217-212, 236-205 and 232-188. Young Oskari Lehtonen, who is not related to Kimmo Lehtonen, bumped out the last Swedish player Peter Åhlen 3-0. Mika Luoto won Sami Konsteri. Jouko Kuossari, the Ballmaster Open winner from 1990, played a big match against Thomas Gross. Both players won a game in turn and tied the 5th with scores 207-207. In the one shot roll-off Kuossari took 10 pins against Thomas Gross’s 9, and continued to the 6th round.
Finally 269 players had been trimmed to 8 and it was time to the last round before TV-finals. Tough ladies Britt Bröndsted and Kirsten Penny served bitter potion to the Finnish players and spectators. Britt sent Oskari Lehtonen to the shower 3-2 and Kirsten Penny did the same to the biggest Finnish hero Lasse Lintilä. In the last game Kirsten really showed where the “cupboard is standing” by winning Lasse with scores 277-245. In the national matches Mika Luoto won Jouni Helminen 3-1 and Pasi Uotila Jouko Kuossari 3-1.


The 34th Ballmaster Open ended with a great TV-show. Super Series organisation loads a lot of money and work for it and it shows. Even though Tali Bowl is known for its large spectator capacity, one extra stand was built beside final lanes. The area for the finals was packed in the corner and it lifted the atmosphere to the clouds. The price to pay for this splendour was that some spectators could not see the ball action at all.
In the first semi-final Denmark’s Britt Bröndstedt, who took her first – and so far only- big victory last summer in World Ranking Masters, defeated semi-final Kirsten Penny of England who has won dozens of titles during her career, with the scores 216-210,. The young Danish girl has grown up with her mental game during the last couple of years. This victory will surely strengthen her another notch.
In the second semi-final met two sympathetic and skilful bowlers. Mika Luoto was the favourite after a very big game in the qualification and great shoot-out rounds. But Pasi Uotila was a strong challenger after his good season in Finland. And so it happened; in front of his home crowd Pasi Uotila beat Luoto, and even quite easily with scores 227-175.

In the final Britt Bröndsted could not find her relaxed game at all. She ended the semi-final with four strikes and seemed to have solved the secrets of the final pair. Her break during the men’s semi-final seemed to have taken her best tune.
Pasi Uotila felt like home under the TV-lamps. The game was over already before the last frames and Pasi could enjoy bowling with his full heart. Pasi’s victory raised a big noise in Tali and told at the end that the favourite of the Finnish spectators took what belonged to him. The numbers of the game was to Pasi 233-187.
Even though the winner was the same as four years ago, the man was totally new. Four years ago Pasi was too young to understand completely what a victory on your home field means. And at that time he was far away from the mental strength that he has today. He presented a game, which surely was good enough to every one. A brilliant performance – from a brilliant athlete.
The rest hearts Pasi warmed up by telling, that he will dedicate his victory to his father Ailo, who passed away last summer. Ailo Uotila won Ballmaster Open on 1975 while the tournament was taking its first steps in history.
- This is a magnificent feeling. I feel really good. To win just here in Tali is the best that can happen, rejoiced Pasi, who is strong as a player but sympathetic as a person.
- I will dedicate this victory to my father. It’s a pity he is not here to see this moment, Pasi said and told that his father is in his mind every day.

Seija Lankinen
The secretary of Ballmaster Open 2004

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