After four days of intense competition at Cashman Center, the field is finally set for the championship round of the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Masters on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.
John Nolen of Waterford, Mich., outdistanced the competition during qualifying to earn the top seed for match play and then cruised untouched through the double-elimination bracket, compiling a 6-0 record on the way to the No. 1 seed for Sunday’s finals, which will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Nolen defeated Steve Harman of Camby, Ind., 755-632, to earn the top seed and is the first player since 2005 USBC Masters champion Mike Scroggins to lead qualifying at the Masters and advance to the TV show. It will be Nolen’s first-career television appearance, and he’ll do everything he can to stay calm and keep the momentum in his favor.
“This feels great, but the job isn’t done,” said Nolen, who averaged 230.39 for 33 games this week. “I’m not competing out here every week just to make the show and go home. I really want to win, and right now, I’m in the best position to do that. To lead wire to wire is amazing, and I just hope I can finish the job.”
Nolen entered the season virtually unknown, but quickly got his name in the news with a win at the 2008 Professional Bowlers Association Regional Players Invitational, which also earned him a spot in the recent H&R Block Tournament of Champions and an exemption for the 2009-10 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season.
The 29-year-old right-hander has been a regular face at PBA events since and has gained valuable experience with each success and each defeat. He took what he learned during a disappointing match play performance at the Tournament of Champions and went on to finish eighth in last week’s Denny’s Dick Weber Open.
Now, he is just one win away from the $60,000 top prize and a two-year Tour exemption on the line at the Masters.
Also making the first singles television appearance of his career is PBA Tour sophomore Harman, who finished second with Jen Petrick at the PBA Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship earlier this year.
Harman will await the winner of Sunday’s opening match, which will feature a pair of 12-time Tour titlists, 2004 Masters champion Danny Wiseman of Baltimore and 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.
Jones’ resume includes two major titles, the U.S. Open and the Tournament of Champions, while his best finish at the Masters was fourth in 2006. Wiseman’s Masters victory is his lone major title, and it came in front of a record crowd of 4,303 at Miller Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers.
In the years since his Masters win, Wiseman has struggled to fully recover from an ankle injury he suffered in a car accident, but he’s still focused on reaching his goals of winning two majors and 15 overall titles before he retires.
“This is my first show of the year, and it feels great,” Wiseman said. “It’s been a tough couple of years, and some things just haven’t felt the same, but I’ve dealt with injuries before. It’s a little frustrating when you feel like you’re strong mentally, but your body just doesn’t cooperate sometimes. It’s been a tough week, but I’m elated.”
This year marks the first time since 2001 that the Masters is being held on the same lanes that also will be home to the USBC Open Championships. The relationship began with the inception of the Masters in 1951 but ended when the Masters remained at the National Bowling Stadium from 2002 until January of 2004. It was then held in Milwaukee in October of 2004, and again from 2005 until 2007. Because of its return to the Open Championships venue, the Masters was not held in 2008.
In all, the field at the 2009 Masters included 452 of the best amateur and professional bowlers in the world.
For complete coverage of the Masters, including stories, photos and results, visit bowl.com.
United States Bowling Congress
The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to nearly 2.5 million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.
Bowl with US
2009 USBC MASTERS
Cashman Center, Las Vegas
(ESPN, Sunday, 1 p.m. Eastern, Cashman Center)
Match 1: No. 3 Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, vs. No. 4 Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C.
Match 2: No. 2 Steve Harman, Camby, Ind., vs. Match 1 winner
Match 3: No. 1 John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., vs. Match 2 winner
MATCH PLAY RESULTS
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Name/hometown followed by three-game pinfall total.)
ROUND 2 WINNERS BRACKET
(1) John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., def. (49) Isao Yamamoto, Japan, 630-579
(5) Tom Smallwood, Flushing, Mich., def. (9) Ryan Shafer, Elmira, N.Y., 625-610
(63) Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, def. (51) George Lambert IV, Canada, 726-714
(55) Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., def. (7) Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 622-618
(30) Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., def. (50) Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 643-640
(10) Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., def. (6) Mike DeVaney, Temecula, Calif., 702-594
(4) Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., def. (48) Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 692-615
(12) Steve Harman, Camby, Ind., def. (8) Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 652-650
ROUND 3 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,500)
(39) Robert Gotchall, Lincoln, Neb., def. (33) Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 647-630
(17) Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, def. (35) Charlie Bruno, Deptford, N.J., 713-580
(29) Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., def. (41) Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 759-686
(25) Craig Tuholski, Washougal, Wash., def. (57) Jason Belmonte, Australia, 671-642
(28) Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, def. (16) PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 668-637
(32) Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., def. (24) Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 720-624
(23) Matthew O’Grady, South Amboy, N.J., def. (11) Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 638-607
(18) Thomas Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, def. (27) Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 713-710
ROUND 4 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $3,000)
Gotchall def. Machuga, 660-641
Loschetter def. Barnes, 728-687
Duke def. Lambert, 670-639
Yamamoto def. Tuholski, 697-644
Scroggins def. Shafer, 712-700
DeVaney def. Rash, 734-673
Buss def. O’Grady, 804-757
Bohr def. Hess, 631-552
ROUND 4 WINNERS BRACKET
Nolen def. Smallwood, 701-634
Wiseman def. Weber, 690-675
Jones def. Sterner, 632-581
Harman def. McCune, 694-686
ROUND 5 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $3,500)
Gotchall def. Loschetter, 724-632
Duke def. Yamamoto, 795-625
Scroggins def, DeVaney, 650-647
Buss def. Bohr, 701-644
ROUND 6 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $4,000)
Gotchall def. McCune, 653-641
Duke def. Weber, 676-659
Sterner def. Scroggins, 706-699
Buss def. Smallwood, 624-597
ROUND 5 WINNERS BRACKET
Nolen def. Wiseman, 677-665
Harman def. Jones, 635-616
ROUND 7 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $7,000)
Duke def. Gotchall, 672-652
Buss def. Sterner, 721-621
ROUND 8 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $11,000)
Wiseman def. Duke, 700-677
Jones def. Buss, 670-650
ROLL-OFF FOR THIRD AND FOURTH SEED
(Winner takes third seed, loser takes fourth seed)
Wiseman def. Jones, 245-192
ROLL-OFF FOR TOP SEED
(Winner takes top seed, loser takes second seed)
Nolen def. Harman, 755-632
300 Games: Round 2- Eugene McCune; Match play- Pete Weber, Wu Siu Hong, Brad Angelo, Norm Duke.