Weber, Belmonte Among Undefeated After First Day of USBC Masters Match Play

by Jerry Schneider February 24, 2017 19:35

USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber said that on a scale of one to 10, the pain he was feeling in his hip Friday at the USBC Masters was closer to a 12, but nothing is going to slow his momentum at the one major that has eluded him.

The 54-year-old right-hander aggravated a nagging hip injury during the second round of match play at The Orleans Bowling Center but was able win that match and one more to remain undefeated. He is one of eight players left in the winners bracket at the 2017 Masters.

The event features a total prize fund of nearly $300,000 and is a major event on the PBA Tour. The finals will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

On the way to a 3-0 record Friday, Weber topped Greg Ostrander of Freehold, New Jersey, Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, and Cotie Holbek of Burlington, Wisconsin.

"As of right now, I don't care about the pain," said Weber, who has 37 PBA Tour titles, including a record-tying 10 majors. "I am here to win. Period."

Weber will face off against Alex Hoskins of Brigham City, Utah, when match play resumes Saturday morning at noon Eastern.

Other winners bracket matches scheduled for Saturday are Sweden's Martin Larsen against Craig Nidiffer of Trenton, Michigan, Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, against Darren Tang of San Francisco and England's Dom Barrett taking on three-time Masters winner Jason Belmonte of Australia.

Belmonte is looking for his unprecedented fourth Masters title, having won the event three consecutive times in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The 33-year-old closed Friday with an exciting win against Mike Machuga of Erie, Pennsylvania, who has been publicly outspoken against two-handed bowling.

The match came down to the final frame after a missed 7 pin from Belmonte in the sixth frame helped Machuga close a 51-pin gap. A strike on the first shot of his final frame would've given Machuga the win, but he left a 10 pin on his first offering, eventually falling 729-722.

"I feel like Mike has a gleam in his eye when he has to bowl me, but that makes me step things up, too," said Belmonte, who joins USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as the only bowlers to win three Masters titles. "He's one of the most versatile players around, so there's really no way to shut him out. Instead, I just tried to bowl my own game and do what I could to help myself score. I did make a careless mistake on that spare, and I have to work on composing myself better in those moments."

Eight bowlers remain in the elimination bracket as well, and they also will return to the lanes at The Orleans on Saturday at noon Eastern.

The list of competitors in the elimination bracket includes Ronnie Sparks of Redford, Michigan, Mike Dole of Loves Park, Illinois, Holbek, Argentina's Lucas Legnani, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Michigan, EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, 16-year-old Jalen Mosley of Indianapolis, and Michael Tang of San Francisco.

Defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, fell to Dole in the final set of matches in the elimination bracket Friday to end his reign as Masters champion.

All competitors this week bowled 15 games of qualifying, before a cut was made to the top 63, who joined Simonsen in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

All rounds of the Masters are being covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

For complete match play results click on http://scores.bowl.com/2017Masters/2017MastersBrackets.pdf

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