Neil Sullivan, 30, a Maltese sales representative, kept the second squad leader's prize on home territory by winning with a
humble total of 1244 on Thursday evening.
In a full squad dominated by a group of 20 from from Cyprus, Sullivan edged out Charis Panayioto from the other Mediterranean island by just six pins.
Eleven nations are represented in this year's event.
"This is the first time in ten years that I have won one of the Malta Open squads," remarked Sullivan at the end of the squad. "Several times I have come close to winning, but this is the first time I have broken in. I have a 205 average in the third division of the local league and have had a high game of 298 this year. "
Sullivan had a pair of 257s in his opening six-game series but his four 200-plus games were sandwiched by a 152 and a 175.
Competition resumes Friday morning at 09:00 local time (GMT + 1.00).
TOP TEN STANDINGS AFTER SQUAD 2: