Field doubles for Summerland Singles bowls comp
A RECORD number of bowlers will compete in the annual Summerland Singles at the Cherry Street Ballina Bowling Club.
Tournament director Kris Lehfeldt has doubled the field with 128 bowlers battling it out over five days next month.
Lehfeldt has had the unenviable task of turning bowlers away in recent years when it was capped at 64 entries.
"I had 118 last year and it's difficult to decide who to leave out," Lehfeldt said.
"It will be a new format this year where 16 will go through in the top gold division and another 16 will be in the silver group.
"We've increased the prize money because we'll basically have two winners at the end of it."
Defending champion Ray Glasser will compete on the first day of competition on January 2.
Canadian international Ryan Bester, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Brett Wilkie and former world No 1 Kelvin Kerkow have all entered.
Bester won it in 2014 and was runner-up this year.
Australian ranking points will be on offer with over $25,000 prize money at the event.
Six-time champion Neil Burgess has won it more times than any other bowler and is among the field again.
Former England international Steve Halmai has entered along with former Australian representative Ian Taylor.
Japanese bowler Ken Emura is back for a second year while Ballina junior Aaron Teys will miss the event because of work commitments.
Teys has had a stellar year winning the $16,000 Australian Open on the Gold Coast in June.
He won the Summerland Pairs with his father Craig last year.
Meanwhile, there will be 32 teams compete in the pairs part of the competition over three-days starting December 27.
Two-time Australian Open Pairs winner Noleen Dutton has entered with Peter Leon while NSW State pairs champion Chris Herdon is back again.
"We've probably got the strongest field we've had in the pairs," Lehfeldt said.
"The tournament just goes from strength to strength each year."