A pair of new faces in the senior division has won the 2023 John Sullivan Senior Australian Open after the famous tournament finished its 17th running at Zone Bowling Frankston in Victoria on the weekend.
Dena Buxton, Adam Hayes, and Mick Talevski were crowned champions of their respective divisions over the weekend in what was the second stop on the senior divisions ranked event tour for 2023.
A total of 105 of the best senior bowlers travelled to Frankston, Victoria, all vying for the prestigious title.
Since 2020, the tournament has honoured TBA Hall of Fame member John Sullivan’s legacy to the sport, and this year’s competition did not disappoint, with three new champions crowned across three different divisions.
In the female senior division, Dena Buxton shone once again, winning her second senior event of the season, leading from start to finish. With her earlier win at the Hammer Queensland Senior Classic still fresh in our minds, Dena has become a dominant force and a name to watch out for in the senior women’s bowling scene.
Winning the John Sullivan Senior Australian Open was extra special for Buxton for several reasons.
“It’s an honour to win this event, especially as its in honour of John Sullivan, who was the Victorian President Shield coach the year I bowled. He was a great man and a great bowler in his time,” said Buxton.
“I’ve been training hard the past 12 months, and going into the Senior division, I knew I had my work cut out for me with the likes of Sue Cassell, Mary Dodds, Jeannette Burton-Douglas, Robyn Flynn, Lee Booth, Heather Robertson and many, many more.
“I knew I had to be at my ‘A game’, being the new kid on the block, ” added Buxton.
Buxton started strongly, averaging 199.3 over her first eight games to take a 49-pin lead heading to day two over TBA Hall of Fame member Sue Cassell. Returning on day two, Buxton would perform even stronger averaging 210 over the next eight to cement her second national title for 2023.
Buxton will soon travel to America to bowl in the International Golden Ladies Classic and then onto the USBC Senior Queens in April 2023.
“I haven’t been back competing in America since 2018, where I bowled two events on the PWBA tour, Fountain Valley which I made the cut of 32 finishing in 26th place, and then USBC Queens where I made it to the brackets finishing in 24th from 191 entries” explained Buxton. “I’m excited to return and compete against the best senior bowlers in the world”.
Finishing on a 3,276 total over her sixteen games, Buxton would take the title 110 pins ahead of Sue Cassell (3,166) in runners-up, and Heather Robertson would round out the podium finishing in third place with 3,029.
The male division saw an impressive debut in the division by Adam Hayes. Following an incredible 2022 season which included being a key member in Australia’s bronze medal at the men’s team event at the 2022 World Cup, the Victorian seized the victory through a fantastic performance, also leading the field from start to finish in style.
After winning his first Australian Open in the Open division in 2022, Hayes has completed the rare combination of being both an Australian Open and Senior Australian Open champion. Hayes joins Brenton Davy as the only bowler to accomplish the feat, with Davy winning the 1990 Australian Open and then winning the Senior Australian Open back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. Terry Wenban also completed the double of winning the Australian Open in 1992 and then winning the Senior AO Grand senior title in 2019.
“It feels amazing to win after being quite nervous coming in, ” said Hayes. “I knew this would be very different with the format, condition, and definitely how the lanes broke down”.
Bursting out of the blocks, Hayes averaged 223.9 over his first eight to take a 74-pin advantage over Western Australian Mike Muir at the end of day one. Like Buxton, Hayes would not move an inch from the top of the leaderboard and would finish with 3,518 over his sixteen games for the victory. Taking the plunge into the senior division took some convincing, but Hayes is glad he took the leap.
“I was in a bit of denial of my age more than anything,” said Hayes with a laugh.
“Knowing I can bowl and win open events doesn’t mean you can do it in TBA 50 events, it’s a whole different set of circumstances with its own challenges and great bowlers.
“You still have to work hard and be focused, and I feel lucky that I’m at a point where I can win in both divisions. But, I know that won’t last forever,” added Hayes.
Local Frankston bowler, Amin Dreik would finish in runners-up place with 3,425 and his best performance in a senior-ranked event of his career, and Michael Muir rounded out the podium in third place with 3,356.
A special mention to Victorian Andrew Thorpe who finished in fifth place. Thorpe was sitting in 26th position after day one before completing an all-mighty climb to fifth after a stellar second-day performance that would see him average 232.6. The Grand Senior male division saw an old favourite return to the winner’s circle as Mick Talevski surged to victory. Like the senior division champions, Talevski led the field on both days of competition. Averaging 209.5 for the first eight, and 203.4 on day two, Talevski would finish on 3,303 pins, a total of 98 pins more than his nearest rival.
Talevski is a two-time senior division winner for the John Sullivan Senior AO (2014 and 2016) and is now a dual winner of the Grand senior title after winning in 2018 and 2023.
Queenslander Rob Kaluci would finish as runner-up on 3,205 pins and Jim Bakirtzidis in third place on 3,169.
The next event on the senior division ranked event calendar is the SA Seniors Classic. The event will run from May 27-28 at Bowland Salisbury in South Australia. The entry form and portal are expected to be released shortly. All information received will be updated on its event page, which can be accessed here.
- Total pinfall: 3,276 (16 games)
- Average: 204.75
- High Game: 236
- Tournament Game Scores
- Day 1 –217, 233, 201, 225, 169, 171, 218, 160
- Day 2 – 187, 203, 223, 223, 190, 236, 166, 254
- Total pinfall: 3,518 (16 games)
- Average: 219.88
- High Game: 277
- Tournament Game Scores
- Day 1 – 237, 234, 156, 216, 207, 236, 236, 269
- Day 2 – 197, 220, 277, 222, 243, 210, 211, 147
- Total pinfall: 3,303 (16 games)
- Average: 206.44
- High Game: 246
- Tournament Game Scores
- Day 1 – 203, 160, 192, 246, 205, 236, 212, 222
- Day 2 – 172, 235, 235, 189, 204, 185, 218, 189
Unfortunately, Mick left before the presentation and we were unable to get a photo.
High Game – 277 – Adam Hayes and Amin Dreik x 2
Top performances for each day:
- Day 1 Female Senior– Dena Buxton – 1,594 – 199.3 avg
- Day 1 Male Senior – Adam Hayes – 1,791 – 223.9 avg
- Day 1 Male Grand Senior – Mick Talevski – 1,676 – 209.5 avg
- Day 2 Female Senior – Dena Buxton – 1,682 – 210.85 avg
- Day 2 Male Senior – Andrew Thorpe – 1,861 – 232.63 avg
- Day 2 Male Grand Senior – Jim Karakostas – 1,702 – 212.75 avg
Top 10 Female Senior Division
- Dena Buxton – 3,276
- Sue Cassell – 3,166
- Heather Robertson – 3,029
- Janet Baker – 2,997
- Cheryl Walduck – 2,992
- Christine Clark – 2,924
- Jo Babic – 2,920
- Lee Booth – 2,874
- Julie Harrison – 2,856
- Karen Newman – 2,839
Top 10 Male Senior Division
- Adam Hayes – 3,518
- Amin Dreik – 3,425
- Michael Muir – 3,356
- Andrew Lloyd – 3,341
- Andrew Thorpe – 3,339
- Bruno Maglieri – 3,284
- Dan Borey – 3,247
- Ranko Janic – 3,212
- Steve Floyd – 3,199
- David Weeks – 3,150
Top 10 Male Grand Senior
- Mick Talevski – 3,303
- Rob Kaluci – 3,205
- Jim Bakirtzidis – 3,169
- Greg Wiles – 3,162
- Chris Benson Snr – 3,152
- Jim Karakostas – 3,126
- Graeme Morgan – 3,106
- David Farquharson – 3,085
- Colin Reese – 3,065
- Warren Stewart – 3,026
The National Rankings for the youth division and all other completed 2023 ranked events will be updated shortly and available on the national rankings page.