A superb display of bowling from Adam Hayes at his home centre Zone Bowling Frankston has seen the Victorian claim victory at the 46th running of the prestigious Australian Open.
The 48-year-old National Training Squad (NTS) member led a field of 97 bowlers for most of the three-day event to win his first ranked event title since 2017 where he lifted the Kegel QLD Open trophy.
“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Hayes following the victory.
“I have been bowling in this event for a long time and seen my bowling idols win it.
“To have won it as well is a bit surreal,” added Hayes.
Hayes is a valued member of the bowling community in Australia. Not only a key figure in the NTS and representing his country in past years but the proud Victorian is trusted by many for his work as a Pro-shop manager and operator of New Era Bowling.
Hayes would start strongly on day one, averaging 233 in his first eight games to sit in third place behind Ballina’s wonderkid Blake Walsh and a returning Sam Cooley from the PBA tour leading the charge.
A bowler that many look up to (both in size and knowledge), Hayes used his superior experience and love for the technical aspect of the sport to drive to victory at an event he holds in high regard.
“I learned a bit from day one for sure,” explained Hayes.
“I don’t have the speed and power that the younger guys or Sam have, so I tried to play good angles.
“There were a lot of big games out there to be had but also some low ones if you got it wrong, so there were opportunities for big swings,” added Hayes.
The big swing came on day two as Hayes came out firing. Averaging an incredible 244 for the day, Hayes would notch up one of four of the event’s perfect 300 games and enter stage one of the finals as the leading qualifier.
Things remained the same in stage one after another six games, with Hayes maintaining his top spot leading into the last set of eleven matchplay games. Again, things looked promising, yet the experienced campaigner knew a win was far from certain following recent results.
Beginning the year off with a bang at the Kegel QLD Open, Hayes led all bowlers through the first three qualifying stages. However, the impressive work would come undone in the finals bracket after losing in straight sets to finish in fifth place.
A painful experience for Hayes, yet one that helped ensure a sustained focus, was a priority in take-two for 2022.
“I made sure that I maintained focus on what I was doing right until the last ball, even when the lead I had looked too big to overcome,” said Hayes.
“At Kegel, I let it go mentally, which was a big mistake.
“When people mentioned my bowling after day two, I was quick to remind them and myself that technically we weren’t even halfway there after qualifying. There were so many games to go,” added Hayes.
After a slight slip in game one against his nearest challenger in Sam Cooley, Hayes would quickly regather composure and collect eight wins from 11 matches of the section collecting 160 bonus pins.
Posting an incredible 7,851 over 33 games, Hayes would edge out Sam Cooley by 165 pins and an impressive third place performance by Great Ocean Road Tenpin bowler David Altmann.
“Speed control was definitely the key to victory, ” explained Hayes.
“Keeping the swing loose, being able to get in the ball without it overreacting, so not hitting at it.
“But more so the mental side of it and belief that I could win it, and nothing was stopping me, added Hayes.
In an event Hayes holds in the highest regard, the champion from Victoria becomes the 34th individual winner of the prestigious Australian Open event.
Following the victory, Hayes moves up to the current number one ranked bowler in the country in the open division rankings.
“Melbourne Tenpin Cup and then Townsville Open in the next couple of months,” said Hayes on the plan moving forward. “I would love to get picked for the World Cup later in the year as well”.
The open division ranked event season returns in June when the Melbourne Tenpin Cup gets underway at Oz Tenpin Chirnside Park on 11-12 June.
Congratulations to Kevin Leydon, Adam Hayes, Justin Cutajar and Troy Gaylard for throwing perfect games at the event!
- Adam Hayes
- Sam Cooley
- David Altmann
- Kyle Annetts
- Troy Gaylard
- Jayden Panella
- Jarrod Langford
- Robert Townsend
- Jordan Dinham
- Nick Davis
- Blake Walsh
- Justin Cutajar