Vinnie Calabrese defeated defending champion Steve Mifsud 6-3 in the final to win the 2023 Bob Hawke AC Memorial Australian Open Snooker Championship – the second ranking event on this season’s new Q Tour Asia Pacific circuit.
Australian snooker’s most prestigious open event, former national and two-time Oceania champion Calabrese claims the title for the first time in his career having been a runner-up on two previous occasions.
A total of 111 players entered the competition which was held at the Mounties Club in Sydney. Former professional Calabrese began his campaign with a 4-0 victory against Paul Rameka, during which he constructed a break of 126 – an effort that stood as the highest of the tournament.
The 36-year-old subsequently eliminated Michael Hough (4-0), Ben Judge (4-1), James Mifsud (4-2) – having recovered from 2-0 down – and then Paul Norris (5-1) in semi-finals.
Emerging from the top half of the draw was the title holder and reigning record ten-time Australian national champion Mifsud, who relinquished just three frames in five matches en route to another final, denying current Asia Pacific 6 Reds champion Shaun Dalitz 5-2 in the last four.
The opening frame of the final went the way of Calabrese with a 97 break, although Mifsud levelled the tie up when he won frame two by a single point with a 42 clearance.
Calabrese then went on an incredible three-frame burst, fashioning breaks of 112, 92 and 113 to go 4-1 ahead in the best of 11 encounter. Mifsud responded by taking the next two frames to reduce his arrears to one, but Calabrese won frame eight on the final pink before getting over the line with frame nine to add another accolade to his portfolio.
The final Q Tour Asia Pacific event of the season is the Dr Clem Jones AO QLD Open Snooker Championship which is set for January 2024. Rob Redgrove won the first event of the Tour – the New Zealand Snooker Open.