HENDERSON, Nev. - The lone woman remaining in the field - Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif. - was among 16 undefeated players after the opening rounds of double-elimination match play Thursday at the 2012 Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Parkin went 2-0 in matches at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center and with one more victory Friday would break the record for the high finish by a woman at the Masters. Dana Miller-Mackie (2000) and Liz Johnson (2006) hold the record by finishing in a tie for 17th position.
"I have never made match play before at the Masters, and I'm excited because I love match play," said Parkin, who won the 2011 USBC Queens. "Match play is one of the biggest assets of my game because I love the head-to-head matches. The first two matches are always the most important, and I'm very happy to be 2-0."
In her final match of the night, Parkin, a two-time PBA regional champion, took down one of the top stars in the Professional Bowlers Association when she defeated Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, 662-609. In her opening match, Parkin defeated Hong Kong's Siu Hong Wu, 725-659.
In order to keep her string of victories alive, Parkin will face some tough competition. She takes on last year's runner-up Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, N.Y., in her first match Friday.
The highest remaining seed in the winners bracket is Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who entered the bracket as the No. 3 seed. Barnes rolled to a pair of easy victories in Thursday's opening rounds.
"I really think you have to win your first three matches in this format to have a legit shot to make the championship round," Barnes said. "You can make it if you drop to the losers bracket, but you have to dodge some bullets. My shot making has been getting better and I'm looking forward to getting off to a quick start and winning some matches tomorrow."
Defending champion Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, was eliminated Thursday. After defeating top seed Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan., 660-603, in the opening round, Hess lost his next two matches to end his title defense.
A total of 32 players remain in the hunt for this year's Masters title with 16 players in the winners bracket and 16 players in the losers bracket. All players completed 15 games of qualifying over three days to earn their spot in match play.
The week began with 305 of the best players in the world vying for a piece of the $250,000 prize fund and $50,000 first-place prize. The Masters will conclude Sunday with the nationally televised stepladder finals at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
For more information on the USBC Masters, visit BOWL.com/masters.