A host of the sport’s heavy hitters have advanced through to the blue-ribbons women’s singles knockout rounds of the $250,000 Australian Open today.
An all-international blockbuster is scheduled to commence proceedings at Musgrave Hill when the knockout round of 128 begins on Saturday, with South Africa’s Colleen Piketh and Canada’s Kelly McKerihen drawn together in the early elimination stages of the world’s most lucrative bowls event.
Tasmania’s only world bowls champion, Rebecca Van Asch is also set on a collision course with an international raider, and will face Malaysia’s Nor Fidrah Noh at Robina.
Australia’s reigning female bowler of the year, Natasha Scott is another who will encounter an international import in an attempt to advance deeper into the field and will play Hong Kong China’s Camilla Leung.
The sectional rounds were not without their share of casualties, with Carla Krizanic among the big names bundled out of the discipline after suffering two losses among the three rubbers today, and now pins her hopes on the pairs and defending the fours title - both of which she will do alongside Scott.
Krizanic’s chances of toppling Scott for the coveted year-long Australia’s number one female bowler award take a dive as a result of the exodus, as the duo will earn identical points from the team disciplines.
A total of 55 next best qualifiers make the round of 128, with two wins and a margin of +6 shots enough to earn section losers a berth in the knockout stages.
The singles rounds continue next Saturday, with the men commencing at 9.00am in the round of 256 and the women taking to the green from 11.45am for the round of 128.
The Australian Open continues tomorrow with the men’s and women’s pairs across 12 Gold Coast clubs.
One of titanic tussles scheduled to draw a crowd in the encounter between Club Helensvale based Australian Jackaroos duo Brett Wilkie and Nathan Rice, who take on Jackaroos teammate Wayne Ruediger and his Adelaide Endurance compatriot Scott Thulborn at Broadbeach.
Caption: Rebecca Van Asch is just one of the many that will be tested by an international opponent in the first knockout game at the Australian Open.