Ogle Maintains Lead at 2016 USBC Masters

by Gianmarc Manzione 0


INDIANAPOLIS - While nobody likes to make mistakes, Matt Ogle of Louisville, Kentucky, had room for a few after the blistering start he had at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

But, instead of letting a couple of miscues at Woodland Bowling on Wednesday slow his momentum, he used them as opportunities to gather information about the challenging 39-foot oil pattern and the nuances of the 70-lane bowling center, all while maintaining his lead on the 417-player field.

The 31-year-old right-hander tops the 2016 USBC Masters standings after two days of qualifying with a 10-game total of 2,341, a 234.1 average. EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, the runner-up at the Masters in 2014, is 27 pins behind with a 2,314 total and is followed by 2011 Masters champion Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa (2,298), Josh Blanchard of Mesa, Arizona (2,272) and Kristopher Prather of Milton, Florida (2,267).

Wednesday's round was Ogle's first chance to see the fresh oil pattern, which he'll also face in the final round of qualifying Thursday. A 159 effort in his third game Wednesday definitely will help his strategy moving forward. His other games in Round 2 were 213, 259, 278 and 181 for a 1,090 total.

"I had a pretty good look in practice and felt good going into the fresh today, but I got caught in the transition, which I'll be looking for around Game 3 tomorrow," said Ogle, who rolled two of the week's six perfect games during Tuesday's first round. "I made a big move at the start of the fourth game, and that will be in the back of my mind tomorrow."

All competitors will return to the lanes at Woodland Bowl for five additional games Thursday, beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern. At the completion of 15 qualifying games, the top 63 bowlers will join three-time defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia, in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

Match play will take place Friday and Saturday and determine the five players for the championship round. Those five bowlers will compete in Sunday's stepladder finals, live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern.

As the defending champion, Belmonte is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket, but bowling qualifying will give him a chance to improve his seeding as well as get a feel for the bowling center and oil pattern. He is ninth after the two days of qualifying with a 2,227 total.

With only five games standing between Ogle and match play, he is confident, but focused.

"I still feel like this is all a dream," Ogle said. "It was amazing to be the leader after the first day, and it feels great to be able to maintain it after my squad today. I know I still have to throw good shots tomorrow, but this really will help loosen up my armswing for my last block.

The 2016 Masters features a total prize fund of $295,000 and is a major event on the PBA Tour.

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

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