SINGAPORE - Despite their sterling overall track record, none of Singapore's women bowlers had won the title at the Singapore Open since Cherie Tan in 2008.
But that decade-long drought fittingly came to an end on Saturday (June 9) as Jazreel Tan emerged victorious in the women's stepladder final at Temasek Club with the tournament celebrating its 50th jubilee.
The final was an all-Singaporean affair between Tan and Joey Yeo with Tan, the challenger, prevailing over two games 196-181, 210-190 and snapping a personal three-year title drought.
"It's never nice beating a team-mate but we both did our best and hopefully this will spur us on for the upcoming Asian Games," said Tan, 28, who received the winner's cheque for $12,000.
"This win has been a long time coming for me. I've been knocking on the door for a while, playing decent, bad, decent, bad, so it's good to have a bit of a breakthrough here."
The 2015 SEA Games Masters champion had squeezed into the final with a 223 game in the semi-final, as her Korean opponents came up short in the final frame, with Jeon Eun Hee (211) and Baek Seung Ja (191) only able to muster eight and nine pins respectively as Tan closed with a strike and a spare.
Top seed Yeo found it hard to recover after beginning the final with two open frames.
"There was definitely pressure but bowling is a game where the only thing you can control is how you make your shots and I had a few bad decisions at the start," said the 20-year-old.
Meanwhile, American Anthony Simonsen became the first two-handed bowler to triumph at the Singapore Open, taking home the biggest prize purse in tournament history at $50,000.
The world No. 12 had also made the final the long way, beating South Korean Choi Bok Eum and Singaporean Aidan Poh in the semi-final.
Top seed Sam Cooley blitzed the lanes in the morning rounds with a perfect game, but it was Simonsen who upped his game when it counted in the men's stepladder final.
He opened with seven consecutive strikes to take the first game 245-224, and as Cooley's frustration began to show, with the Australian slapping the ball machine on one occasion, Simonsen kept his calm for a 205-177 victory in the second game.
"I'm almost speechless now. I skipped two PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) tournaments back in the United States to come to Asia, and it feels good to redeem myself after finishing second in the Busan Cup last month (to Thai Annop Arromsaranon)," said the 21-year-old, who is the youngest winner of a PBA major title in history.
"I knew the scoring pace was going to be lower in the afternoon so I just stayed patient and made good shots."
He will be trying his luck overseas for a while longer.
Said the Texas native: "I'll be home for about 36 hours and then I'm going to London for the Weber Cup. Still another month on the road for me altogether."