LAS VEGAS - United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., took the first-round lead Monday at the 2012 USBC Senior Masters.
Williams, who has finished second in both of his appearances at the Senior Masters, fired a five-game total of 1,298 (259.6 average) at South Point Bowling Center to lead the field of 283 players. Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., is second with 1,221.
"I had a nice reaction to the pocket and my carry was unbelievable," said Williams, who has 47 career PBA Tour titles and three Senior PBA Tour titles. "It was a lot of fun, and hopefully I have a good look on the fresh tomorrow."
Since turning 50 in 2009, Williams has finished second in every major event on the Senior PBA Tour in which he has competed. In addition to two second-place finishes at the Senior Masters, Williams has finished second twice at the PBA Senior U.S. Open.
At last year's Senior Masters, Williams lost in the championship match to Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis., 707-695. In 2010, he fell in the final match to Wayne Webb of Grove City, Ohio, 705-628.
This week, Williams got off to a hot start in his quest for his first Senior Masters title. He had games of 256, 257, 279, 227 and 279 in Monday's opening round.
"I'd like to think I will win a major on the Senior Tour one day, but it's tough because there are only two a year," Williams said. "The Senior Masters is harder to win in my opinion because of the format, but hopefully I can do as well this year as I have the past couple years."
Boresch, who is competing in the Senior Masters for the first time after turning 50 in April, led the opening squad of the tournament and ended up second behind Williams. Boresch put together a solid block with games of 257, 254, 236, 227 and 247 with no open frames.
"There's a long way to go, but it's nice to get off to a good start," Boresch said. "You have to take advantage of it when you have a good look out there and get as many pins as you can. I had a clean day mainly because I didn't get into any trouble out there."
All participants will bowl 15 games of qualifying before the cut is made to the double-elimination match-play bracket. The top 63 players plus defending champion Traber will take part in bracket play beginning Thursday morning.
All rounds of the Senior Masters are being broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV. To watch archived footage of Monday's first round, click here.