The biggest event on the lawn bowls national calendar, the 2012 Australian Open, is set to become a battleground for bowls glory next week at the Darebin International Sports Centre.
With $125,000 in prize money and a title worthy of a champion up for grabs, the event will run from Sunday, 19 February to Saturday, 25 February.
In the women’s singles, Victorian young-gun Lisa Phillips will be looking to defend her crown but will be pitted against the likes of Australian vice-captain Karen Murphy, world number eight Kelsey Cottrell and Commonwealth Games medallist Kay Moran.
Bowls Australia chief executive officer Neil Dalrymple expects the event will kick off a thrilling year of bowls which will conclude with the World Championships held in Adelaide in November.
“Following the success of last year’s tournament, I’m pleased to see the event again staged at Darebin where the greens are in great condition,” he said.
“With a fantastic line up of both Australian and international players we expect to witness a world-class tournament.
“We look forward to this year introducing twilight finals on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights which adds an exciting new dimension and ensures those spectators who cannot attend during the day don’t miss out. Entry to these finals will be free after 6pm.
“As a multi-discipline tournament the event features singles, pairs and triples for both men and women, as well as a festival of bowls which incorporates specific age groups and bowlers with a disability divisions.
“The Australian Open is the first big event for 2012 and is the perfect way to kick start a huge year in bowls,” Mr Dalrymple said.
Tickets for the event start from $5 and can be purchased at bowlsaustralia.com.au or by phoning (03) 9480 7100.
photos Janos Schmidt