ARLINGTON, Texas – Registration now is open for the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Masters, set for Feb. 19-26 at The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
The USBC Masters, first contested in 1951, is a major event on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and the finals will be televised live on ESPN.
In 2017, the USBC Open Championships also will take place in Las Vegas, at the South Point Bowling Plaza starting Feb. 18. With recent changes to the divisional structure at the Open Championships, all professionals now are allowed to compete in the tournament.
The entry fee for the USBC Masters will be $500 until Feb. 5 and then $550 until Feb. 18. Entries also will be accepted on-site Feb. 18-19.
The Masters attracts hundreds of the best male and female USBC members from around the world. Nineteen-year-old Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, won the 2016 USBC Masters, held at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, to become the youngest player to win a major title on the PBA Tour.
Simonsen earned the title with a 245-207 championship-match victory over Dan MacLelland of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. MacLelland was seeking to become the first amateur since 2002 to win the USBC Masters.
The Masters and Open Championships share a history, as the events have been held in the same location, with a few exceptions, since 1951.
The tournaments first split in 2002 and 2003, with the Masters held at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, while the Open Championships visited Billings, Montana, and Knoxville, Tennessee. The Masters moved to a fall schedule in 2004 – but was held twice in 2004 (January and October) – to start a four-year run in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2004 (October) and 2007 Masters finals were held at Miller Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers.
After skipping 2008, the Masters returned to its February time frame and rejoined the Open Championships in 2009 at Cashman Center in Las Vegas. While the events have been held in different cities since 2012, they will be back in the same city in 2017.
Competitors at the Masters will bowl 15 qualifying games over three days before the field is cut to the top 63 players, plus Simonsen, for double-elimination match play. Match play continues until five players are determined for the stepladder finals.
Go to BOWL.com/Masters for more information and to register.