Roto Grip staffer Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, earned high qualifier honors Thursday at the United States Bowling Congress Masters, and will become the No. 1 seed entering the three-game, double-elimination match play bracket competition starting Friday morning.
(Bracket listings below)
Malott finished qualifying with a 15-game total pinfall of 3,518 (234.53 average) to lead the field of 468 of the top bowlers in the world at Brunswick Zone Carolier. The Masters, which features a total prize fund of $325,000, will conclude with the live ESPN finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
In the final round of qualifying, Malott fired his biggest total of the tournament finishing with a five-game tally of 1,247. He had games of 230, 267, 246, 289 and 215 to move into the top spot.
“I haven’t been practicing a lot lately because of my knee injury (a meniscus tear) and today I finally started to feel better physically,” said Malott, who has seven career PBA Tour titles. “It usually takes a day or two to get all the kinks worked out and start feeling good. I also drilled another ball today and that helped.”
Malott leads the field of 63 qualifiers who will join defending champion Mike Fagan of Dallas into the double-elimination match-play bracket. Fagan finished qualifying in 210th place but was guaranteed a spot in the bracket as the reigning champion. As a result of his qualifying finish, he will assume the No. 64 position in the bracket and will face Malott in his opening-round match.
Todd Book of Russells Point, Ohio, finished in second place with 3,501, while Storm's Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., took third at 3,498.
Weber and Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who qualified eighth, are looking to join Mike Aulby and Norm Duke by completing the PBA’s Grand Slam. The Grand Slam is made up of the four majors on the PBA Tour - the USBC Masters, PBA Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open and the PBA National/World Championship.
PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., who qualified 27th, has a chance to join Aulby as only the second player to win three Masters titles.
Bracket play will take place all day Friday and continue until Saturday afternoon when the final five surviving players will advance to Sunday’s live two-hour championship round on ESPN.
The Masters, which features a first-place prize of $50,000, is a major event on the PBA Tour and is part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour for the third consecutive season.
All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters are being covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel. For more information, including live scoring, visit BOWL.com/Masters.
UNITED STATES BOWLING CONGRESS MASTERS
Brunswick Zone Carolier, North Brunswick, N.J., Thursday
FINAL QUALIFYING STANDINGS (after 15 games; top 63 plus defending champion Mike Fagan of Dallas advance to three-game, double-elimination match play; all position ties are broken by highest five-game totals)
1, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,518.
2, Todd Book, Russells Point, Ohio, 3,501.
3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,498.
4, Mike Moore, Orlando, Fla., 3,458.
5, Brian LeClair, Albany, N.Y., 3,450.
6, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 3,432.
7, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 3,430.
8, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,421.
9, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3,418.
10, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,417.
11, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 3,415.
12, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,409.
13, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,397.
14, Matt McNiel, Prior Lake, Minn., 3,376.
15, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,372.
16, John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 3,357.
17, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 3,356.
18, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,353.
19, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 3,345.
20, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 3,341.
21, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3,332.
22, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,329.
23, Jon VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., 3,326.
24, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 3,323.
25, Craig LeMond, Jasper, Ind., 3,319.
26, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,317.
27, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 3,316.
28, John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., 3,315.
29, Stuart Williams, England, 3,307.
30, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,297.
31, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,296.
32, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 3,295.
33, Allen Rice II, Salem, Ala., 3,292.
34, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 3,287.
35, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3,282.
36, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,275.
37, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,275.
38, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 3,274.
39, Jeff Kubasak, Staten Island, N.Y., 3,271.
40, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 3,268.
41, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 3,267.
42, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,262.
43, Brian Ziesig, Levittown, N.Y., 3,262.
44, Matt Gasn, Laurel, Md., 3,259.
45, Timothy Foy Jr., Salisbury, Md., 3,258.
46, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 3,255.
47, Lee Vanderhoef, Greenville, S.C., 3,251.
48, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 3,244.
49, John Brockland, St. Charles, Mo., 3,241.
50, Tyson Branagan, Bedford, Texas, 3,235.
51, Devin Golden, Coopersburg, Pa., 3,235.
52, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,229.
53, Michael Markis, Tafton, Pa., 3,229.
54, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,229.
55, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Chatsworth, Calif., 3,224.
56, Gary Faulkner, Norfolk, Va., 3,215.
57, Manuel Otalora, Colombia, 3,214.
58, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 3,210.
59, Daniel Dunleavy, Staten Island, N.Y., 3,207.
60, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,203.
61, Adam Chase, Seaford, N.Y., 3,200.
62, Tetsuya Kobayashi, Japan, 3,196.
63, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 3,194.
64, d-Mike Fagan, Dallas, 2,972.