Bernie Grueso Jnr. Strikes Gold at the Australian Tenpin Bowling Open

By Matt Stevens
April 2, 2024

In a dazzling display of skill and consistency, Bernie Grueso Jnr. bowled over the competition to clinch the 2024 Australian Tenpin Bowling Open title, securing his first open division win and etching his name into the annals of the event’s storied history. Over the course of a thrilling weekend at Zone Bowling Frankston, Victoria, the two-handed Grueso proved unbeatable, leading a field of 101 hopefuls through all stages of the competition.

In his first open division victory of his young career, 22-year-old Bernie Grueso Jnr. becomes the 34th winner of the storied event in its 48th year of competition.

From the outset, Grueso set the pace with an astonishing 1,835 over eight games on the first day of qualifying, leading the pack with a comfortable margin that he never relinquished. His average of 229.4 was a testament to his formidable presence on the lanes, leaving the nearest challenger, Campbelltown City’s David Ford, trailing by 47 pins after Day 1. Not resting on his laurels, Grueso returned on Day 2 to post another impressive score, maintaining his lead with a cumulative total of 3,531 pins.

As the finals dawned, the top 20 bowlers, including young talents and seasoned veterans, vied for the prestigious title. Grueso’s mastery continued, and he led the pack into the Matchplay finals with a commanding performance, shooting 1,351 in stage one’s six games.

Despite a hiccup in his first game for the Matchplay Finals, Grueso’s resilience shone through as he won his next eight matches, amassing a tournament-high 160 bonus pins and finishing with a grand total of 7,104 pins for the title.

Hot on his heels was the prodigious Julian Dinham, the young NTS18 athlete who finished a commendable second, just 147 pins behind Grueso. Dinham’s performance, including seven wins out of nine matches, was a clear signal of a rising star in the making, outshining even his brother Justin, the winner of the season’s first open division event, the Kegel Queensland Open.

In third place, Blake Walsh showed promise sitting only 36 pins behind Bernie before the Matchplay began but couldn’t maintain his momentum in the crucial final stretch, only managing three wins from his nine matches yet securing a podium finish, nonetheless.

All three bowlers on this weekend’s podium are young two-handed bowlers. The eldest of the three, Bernie is only 22, with Blake now a youth bowler at 18, and young Julian Dinham at the young age of 15.

The new wave of talent has well and truly arrived on the Open division scene.

As the dust settles on the Australian Tenpin Bowling Open, the event has once again proven itself a cornerstone of the competitive bowling calendar, showcasing the blend of emerging talent and seasoned expertise that defines the sport. Congratulations to Bernie Grueso Jnr., and all the bowlers who made this year’s competition one for the history books.

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HIGH GAME

289 – Kevin McRae (VIC)

Looking ahead, the bowling community sets its sights on the Melbourne Cup, set to unfold at Oz Tenpin Chirnside Park on June 15-16. With anticipation building and entries opening soon, competitors are already gearing up for the next challenge in the 2024 Open Division Ranked Event season.

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