Home > News > Tournaments > Masters > Great moments in Masters history

Great moments in Masters history

Lucas Wiseman
USBC Communications
Published: January 29, 2010 | Bowl.com
The United States Bowling Congress Masters has a history that dates back to 1951 and over that time there have been many great moments.

Here’s a look at some of the moments in Masters history that stand out:

1951 The Masters, held at Municipal Auditorium in St. Paul, Minn., started as an invitational event to showcase national and local bowling stars. Lee Jouglard of Detroit won the inaugural “Masters Eliminations” by defeating Chicagoan Joe Wilman before a crowd of 2,600. Jouglard earned $620 for the victory. The first Masters was conducted seven years before the formation of the Professional Bowlers Association.

1952 Willard Taylor, a 34-year-old plant operator from Charleston, W.Va., was a definite dark horse for the event in Milwaukee’s Sports Arena. Taylor was an underdog but had the game to beat anyone on the final day as he upset New Jersey star Junie McMahon 904-751 in a four-game match to earn the right to face the legendary Andy Varipapa for the title. Taylor went on to do the unthinkable -- defeating Varipapa in two consecutive four-game matches, 834-792 and 756-702, to win the Masters trophy and $950 first prize.

1957 Held in the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, Dick Hoover of Akron, Ohio, became the Masters’ first repeat winner. Coming from the loser’s bracket, Hoover defeated Bill Lillard in two consecutive four-game matches -- 910-768 and 853-773 -- to win the $1,900 first prize.

1961 In 1961 Dick Hoover could have been the Masters’ first three-time winner had it not been for Don Carter. Held at Detroit’s Cobo Hall, Carter advanced from the loser’s bracket to beat an undefeated Hoover in two consecutive four-game matches, 840-768 and 888-826, to win the 11th annual event.

1971 In its return to Detroit’s Cobo Hall, pro star Jim Godman had what has been heralded as the greatest overall performance in Masters’ history. He came out of the loser’s bracket to defeat fellow pro Don Johnson in two four-game matches. Averaging a then-record 229.8 in match play, Godman rolled the first perfect game in a championship finale en route to defeating Johnson 992-864 and 922-880 to win the 21st Masters.

1978 While many of bowling’s all-time greats have won the Masters, many relatively unknown bowlers also have made their mark by winning the event. One of the great upsets in Masters’ history occurred in St. Louis’ Cervantes Convention Center when struggling touring pro Frank Ellenburg of Mesa, Ariz., came out of the loser’s bracket to defeat Earl Anthony twice to win the 1978 event. Ellenburg narrowly defeated Anthony in the first four-game match 820-817, and then 805-791, in the championship match for the title.



1984 The Masters was always one of Earl Anthony’s favorite events, so much so that he came out of his year-long retirement from the PBA Tour to bowl in the 1984 event in Reno, Nev. Anthony won his second Masters title that year by defeating fellow pro Gil Sliker of Washington, N.J., in the championship match 191-175 at the Reno Convention Center.

1987 After the formation of the PBA in 1958, Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan., became the first Masters amateur champion in 1987. The second youngest Masters champion at age 22, Steelsmith defeated Brad Snell of Chicago 258-219 in the championship match at the Niagara Falls Convention Center to win the $43,500 first prize.

1998 Mike Aulby won a record third Masters title by defeating fellow Hall of Famer and lefthander Parker Bohn III 224-192 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. In the semifinal match, Bohn threw a 300 game to become the 12th PBA member to bowl a nationally-televised perfect game. It also was the second televised 300 game in Masters history, a feat first performed by Jason Queen in the semifinals of the 1997 Masters.

2001 Like golf’s Phil Mickelson, Parker Bohn III had a reputation for falling short in major events. That changed when Bohn won his first major by taking the Masters title at Reno’s National Bowling Stadium. His Masters win came after 26 regular tour titles and 18 years on tour. He defeated Jason Couch, 248-237, in the title match.

2009 John Nolen wasn’t exactly a household name, although he had won the PBA Regional Players Invitational two months earlier. He led qualifying and went 7-0 in match play to reach the title match against Danny Wiseman. The title came down to the last frame and Nolen could only watch as Wiseman needed strike, nine, spare to tie, or could win with two strikes. But on his first shot, Wiseman left a 10 pin and Nolen took a 202-193 victory. 

Search Recent News

United States Bowling Congress | 621 Six Flags Drive | Arlington, Texas 76011 | 800-514-BOWL.