RESULTS: Round 2
HENDERSON, Nev. - Two-time runner-up Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, moved into the lead after two rounds of qualifying Wednesday at the 2012 Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Barnes has totaled 2,352 over the first two days of the event, averaging 235.2 at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center. He leads a field of 305 of the best players in the world competing for a total prize fund of $250,000 and a spot on the televised finals, which will be broadcast on ESPN on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
After finishing the first round in second place, Barnes moved up to the top spot by virtue of a 246 final game. He started Wednesday with games of 216, 200, 256 and 209.
"The Masters is my Super Bowl, and it's the most important tournament on my career goal list right now," said Barnes, who finished second in the 2004 and 2010 Masters, losing both times to Walter Ray Williams Jr. "Although it's only qualifying, it's good to know that I'm bowling well heading into match play tomorrow afternoon."
Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan., who sits in second with 2,348, is looking to avenge a crushing exit to last year's Masters, when he left a ringing 10 pin to miss making the championship round.
"This is kind of my tournament, and I have a good vibe coming in every year," said Steelsmith, who won the Masters in 1987. "I'm surprised by how well I've bowled because I've been busy and haven't been practicing a lot. Everything has just fallen into place this week."
The top 77 players after 10 games advanced to Thursday's third round of qualifying, which will determine the top 63 players who will join defending champion Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, in the double-elimination match-play bracket Thursday afternoon. Hess failed to make the first cut but will occupy the No. 64 seed in the bracket as the defending champion.
The USBC Masters is a major on the PBA Tour, and the champion of the event will earn $50,000 for first place. The final four players who survive bracket play will advance to the nationally televised championship round.
For more information on the USBC Masters, visit BOWL.com/masters.