American Brian Voss showed his experience and class to win the 2012 Irish Open Championships this past weekend and claim the €3,500 first prize.
The 25-time winner on the American Professional Tour took complete control of the round robin final on Sunday to overtake number one qualifier, England’s Matt Hann, who eventually fell back to finish fourth.
England’s Steve Kay continued his good form after his perfect 300 game in the round of 32 to finish in second place, with the highest placed Irishman being Alan Gibbons in third. The other Irishman to make the top 8 final, Paul Stott, finished up in sixth place, but Stott will still remember the event fondly after he shot an Irish record 1114 pins for just four games in round one, which included a 298
In the women’s section, England’s Hayley White pipped Irish champion Hannah Cullen to first place by just 19 pins. White was the only woman to bowl a perfect 300 game in the tournament, and she had to use all her nerve to hold off a strong challenge from Cullen. Scotland’s former champion Laura Rhoney finished third, with Ireland’s two-time winner Kerena Dykes, Amanda McDermott and Aimee Kellegher finishing sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
The event will be remembered for its incredibly high standard of scoring, with seven perfect 300 games bowled over the four days of play, and a qualifying average for the second round (top 64) of 206, and the top 32 qualifying average of a remarkable 217.
Next year is bound to see the standard only improve again as more and more top bowlers make their way to the event, which will once again be sponsored by Columbia 300, one of the biggest companies in the world of tenpin bowling. And with the 2013 championships coinciding with the 50th anniversary of tenpin bowling in Ireland, it certainly looks like onwards and upwards for Irish bowling.