The Australian Open is the best tournament in Australia: Pedersen

by Val Febbo on May 21, 2024

South Australia’s Nathan Pedersen is no stranger to success at the world’s biggest bowls festival, having hoisted an Australian Open trophy on five occasions.

Whenever he sets foot on the greens of the Gold Coast, Pedersen has history on his side having had one of the most prosperous records at the tournament.

His maiden trophy came nine years ago in 2015, where the then 20-year-old would salute in the men’s fours with Steven Dennis, Wayne Ruediger and Scott Thulborn.

The quartet would reign supreme once more in 2016 with the Somerton Bowling Club product teaming up with Dennis to take home the pairs crown and make it a third gold in two years.

The back-to-back fours gold medals still sit highly in the regard of Pedersen, who deeply values the connection with the three teammates that he shared the podium with.

“I think it’s the best tournament in Australia,” he said.

“Moving the competition to the Gold Coast was the best thing Bowls Australia did and I have loved all my trips there.

“The most special memory would be winning back-to-back fours 2015 and 2016 with Steve Dennis, Wayne Ruediger and Scott Thulborn.”

However, 2017 would prove to be even sweeter for the South Australian, who stormed through the field to take the blue ribboned singles event for the biggest title of his career.

He claimed the scalp of Queensland’s Nic Gosley in the round of 16 before knocking out Adam Liddell in the quarterfinals.

Pedersen would meet 2015 champion and Right at Home Jackaroo Aaron Teys in the semis and managed to overcome him 21-16 to set up a showdown with Nathan Rice in the final.

Up against a fully fledged Jackaroo and a combined four-time medallist at the World Bowls Championships and Commonwealth Games at the time, the young South Australian looked unbothered on the big stage as he performed in exemplary fashion to hoist one of the most coveted trophy in the nation aloft.

Since playing his first event in Shepparton, Pedersen would dream about topping the discipline as he considers it the toughest singles tournament in the world to conquer.

“I thought it was the best thing you could win in the sport,” he said.

“I remember playing in Shepparton many years ago when I was young wishing I could win one.

“Numbers wise it is the hardest singles event to win, also because of how long the event goes for and how strong you must remain mentally.”

Pedersen would go on to team up with Ruediger, Carl Healey and Gary Kelly for a fifth Australian Open gold in 2022 when the squad claimed the fours trophy, cementing his place as one of the most successful players in the tournament’s history.

However, title number six will have to wait as he will not be making the trip north for this year’s competition.

The 2024 Australian Open runs from June 8-21 on Australia’s Gold Coast with live streaming via Bowls Australia’s Facebook and YouTube channels.