Mika Koivuniemi, the lithe Finn who made his name on the PBA Tour and now lives in Michigan in the United States, came from
behind to topple Kim Olleby and Martin Paulsson of Sweden to clinch the honors of Squad 8 Friday afternoon.
Koivuniemi totaled 1428 to win the squad by 21 pins, needing to put together a string of strikes in the final frames for the win. He is now in third place in the overall qualifying standings.
Chatting to Koivuniemi after the squad, he commented: "I may bowl one more squad before Sunday. I think I have found what I am looking for," he said. "Yesterday I had a good look at the shorter pattern and I think I've figured it out today. Both patterns are playing quite easy, so the difference in length doesn't really matter. The last time I was here there was more distance. I prefer tougher patterns.
"We had a couple of tournaments in the United States with the dual pattern, but not too often. I don't like it, it doesn't prove anything and it is just a trick to do something different."
Koivuniemi is currently the leader of the European Bowling Tour rankings after winning the Ballmaster in Finland last January and is looking for more points this summer. "I plan to bowl Munich, San Marino and Barcelona this summer, then Lahti in Finland for sure. so maybe I'll have a chance to win the tour rankings this year.
"Most of the best bowlers in the world are playing the PBA Tour. There are a few Europeans who could make a decent living out there if they chose to come over. The biggest difference here is that the lanes change so quickly with such a mix of players."
There are two more squads to bowl today and four more tomorrow before the cut to 42. All squad winners automatically qualify for Sunday's final rounds where €10,000 awaits the champion. The leading qualifier has a €1,000 bonus.
TOP TEN STANDINGS AFTER SQUAD 8: