For Joel Tan, bowling a perfect game was just like waiting for a bus - nothing happened for a long time and then it came along not once, but twice.
The 18-year-old national bowler notched his first 300 at the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup in Russia last November, and then repeated the feat earlier this month at the Malaysian Open.
Joel hopes to make it a treble at the 47th Singapore International Open - from today until June 7 - at the Orchid Country Club's Orchid Bowl.
This year's event features a total prize purse of $150,000 and includes perfect game prizes worth a total of $10,000.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, the third-year Republic Polytechnic student said: "I've been in good form and I also bowled a 298 at the Euro-Med Challenge in the Philippines earlier this month.
"Getting the 300 at the World Cup was a breakthrough I wanted because I've never done it before.
"It will be even more special if I can get a perfect game on home ground. I'll definitely be praying for perfection."
It has been eight years since a Singaporean kegler has won the men's Open event.
To rub salt into the wound, last year's competition was dominated by Causeway rivals Malaysia, who filled the top three spots.
Said Joel: "We are good friends with the Malaysians but it's not a good feeling to get dominated on home ground.
"Our men's team went through a transition phase and are now made up of bowlers aged 17 to 21. Perhaps the results are not showing yet, but we have a strong bond and team spirit. We are moving in the right direction with coach Remy Ong, and personally, I'm aiming to hit the stepladder finals and make the top three or four."
In the women's Open event, Cherie Tan is a local bowler in good form.
Last November, the 26-year-old finished second at the World Cup before winning the Malaysian Open. She also finished second at this month's Euro-Med Challenge.
Cherie says the team's new training regimen has helped build consistency.
"We used to train for two hours a day. Now, we train for three hours at least, and also go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," said the 2008 women's Open champion.
"This helps our physical and mental fitness, especially when we have to bowl for long stretches, like in the Philippines, where I bowled 18 games from 9am to 7pm one day. With six spots up for grabs on the Asian Games team, the competition is keen, and it's good because we are all working very hard and this strengthens the team overall."
Cherie's younger sister, 23-year-old Daphne, will also feature in the competition, and the duo are looking forward to another showdown in the grand final, after their Malaysian Open battle, which Cherie won.
"I'm sure Daphne will want to beat me to gain revenge," said Cherie, with a laugh.
"But we hope to progress all the way again. That would be the perfect Father's Day present."
47TH SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL OPEN
● Where: Orchid Bowl at Orchid Country Club
● When: Today until June 7; local Masters qualifiers begin today, international Masters qualifiers start on Sunday
● Prize money: $150,000, including perfect game prizes worth $10,000
● Defending champions: Adrian Ang (Malaysia, men's Open) and Sin Li Jane (Malaysia, women's Open)
● Field: More than 400 keglers, including 100 overseas bowlers from countries like Australia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, US, Taiwan and Vietnam.
This article was first published on May 27, 2014.
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