Kiwi invasion at the Australian Open
New Zealand Blackjack Paul Girdler is looking forward to this year’s Australian Open and is expecting many other kiwis to enter the world’s biggest bowls festival because of the events location on the Gold Coast. Two-time Asia Pacific Championship gold medallist and current New Zealand Blackjack Paul Girdler is predicting an influx of kiwi’s competing in this year’s $250,000 Australian Open on the Gold Coast.
Girdler has made a triumphant return to the international arena after relocating to one of Queensland’s premier bowling venues Tweed Heads Bowls Club; and since having success in numerous Australian events, the once retired New Zealand representative has caught the eyes of national selectors once more and is back in the fold for 2016 World Bowls selection.
Girdler has made the Tweed Heads indoor bowling green a happy hunting ground having featured in two Australian Indoor Championship finals and was right at home in the 2015 Australian Open at its new location on the Gold Coast.
Girdler, a finalist in last year’s men’s fours, says the Australian Open is the best open tournament around the world as it is just that, an event open to anyone.
“Any bowler from any country can enter and the prize money is fantastic, said the Tweed Heads Bowls Manager.
“The Australian Open allows a club bowler the opportunity to come up against the world’s best.
“Joe Blogs could be drawn to play Ryan Bester, Alex Marshall or Aron Sherriff; what other sport offers the ability for club players to compete on an even playing field with international stars?
“I think a number of bowlers were hanging off from entering last year’s Australian Open as they were not sure how the event would run, but I believe there will be considerably higher numbers entering this year.”
Of those higher number of participants expected to compete in the second instalment of the Australian Open on the Gold Coast are our friends from across the ditch who Girdler says can expect the best of both world’s if they compete in the Australian Open located in such a popular holiday destination.
“A number of kiwis tend to holiday on the Gold Coast during the winter months for the warmer climate and also because the Gold Coast is a great holiday destination with so many exciting things to do,” says the kiwi who now enjoys a Queenslanders lifestyle residing at Tweed Heads.
“Keeping this in mind, competitors can include playing bowls in such a major bowling tournament whilst also enjoying being on holiday, how good is that!”
Our kiwi invaders will comprise of club bowlers on holidays but also, according to Girdler, the elite bowlers will also enter because they view the Australian Open as an opportunity to impress New Zealand selectors leading up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games which will be held at Broadbeach Bowling Club.
“A portion of New Zealand’s elite bowlers will enter the Australian Open hoping to put in a top performance to make the New Zealand selectors take notice, along with players from other countries hoping to do the same, and why wouldn’t they,” said Girdler.
“When the occasion is on your backdoor, you need to take every opportunity you can, and performing well at the Australian Open would be a major stepping stone for up and coming stars.
“With so many major bowling events to be played on the Gold Coast after the 2016 World Championships, it’s the hub of bowls so take the opportunity to shine here on the Gold Coast.”
Girdler will enter the 2016 Australian Open with a slightly different team which made the Men’s Fours final last year due to New Zealand Blackjack Shannon McIlroy being unavailable.
Gold Coast locals Dean McWhinney, the son of Australian Open Women’s Pairs runner-up Jackie McWhinney-Shillington and Ian Law remain with the inclusion of Brisbane-based bowler Steven Tong.
Girdler will team up with good friend, Soldier’s Point’s Lee Such in the Men’s Pairs and will be a player to watch out for in the men’s singles draw after his recent runner-up performance in the 2015/2016 Heartland Bank New Zealand Open.
To enter online click here.
Caption- New Zealand Blackjack Paul Girdler is expecting plenty of kiwis to enter this year’s Australian Open on the Gold Coast.