DOHA, Qatar – Two-time Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi, a native of Finland now living in the United States, continued to expand his unprecedented international bowling portfolio when he won the 12th annual Qatar Open Saturday at Qatar Bowling Center, making Qatar the 19th different country in which he has won a bowling title.
Koivuniemi defeated fellow Finn Tony Ranta, 544-471, in the two-game total pinfall title match to win a first prize of US$39,480.
The tournament was part of the growing World Tenpin Bowling Association-PBA International Tour series, and it was the final event of the 2012 European Bowling Tour season.
Koivuniemi, who led the Qatar field of 142 players from 26 countries through the preliminary qualifying rounds, defeated Sweden’s Martin Larsen, 442-385, to advance to the title match while Ranta eliminated 13-time PBA Tour titlist Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 389-361.
"This is my first title in this part of the world and I'm glad I finally broke that jinx," the 45-year-old Koivuniemi said.
Koivuniemi, a long-time member of Finland’s national bowling team before joining the PBA and moving to Hartland, Mich., had previously won titles in his home country, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, China, Colombia, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Slovenia, England and Germany as well as the United States. The 2003-04 and 2010-11 PBA Player of the Year and Venezuela’s Amleto Monacelli (1989 and 1990) are the only international players to win Player of the Year honors twice.
The WTBA-PBA International Tour’s next tournament will be the International Bowling Championships presented by DHC in Aichi-ken, Japan, Jan. 17-19.
Qatar Bowling Center, Doha, Qatar, Dec. 16
Championship (two games total pinfall): Mika Koivuniemi, Finland ($39,480) def. Tony Ranta, Finland ($18,950), 544-471.
Semifinal Round (two games total pinfall, losers earned $6,580): Koivuniemi def. Martin Larsen, Sweden, 442-385. Ranta def. Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 389-361.
Other PBA Finalists (after 6 games): 5, Mike Fagan, Dallas, 1,330, $3,290. 6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,325, $3,290. 7, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 1,324, $3,290. 8, Yousif Falah, Bahrain, 1,318, $3,290. 10, Dom Barrett, England, 1,299, $3,290.
13, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,283, $2,360. 15, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,268, $2,360. 16, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,254, $2,360. 17, Jesper Agerbo, Denmark, 1,248, $2,360. 18, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,242, $2,360.