Eight players undefeated at 2019 USBC Masters

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LAS VEGAS - A total of eight players remain in the winners bracket at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Masters after the opening rounds of match play Saturday at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino.

Eight additional players still are in contention with the tournament's double-elimination format and have the opportunity to advance to the stepladder finals and claim the $30,000 top prize and major championship on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour schedule.

The 16 players left in the field will return to Gold Coast on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern, and match play will continue until the top five players for Monday's stepladder finals are determined. The finals will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. Eastern on FS1.

One of the eight remaining players in the winners bracket is Mykel Holliman of Collierville, Tennessee, who is making his USBC Masters debut this week.

After finishing qualifying in 12th place, the 26-year-old left-hander rolled through his three matches Saturday by averaging more than 239 in wins over Martin Larsen of Sweden (733-574), Greg Thompson Jr. of Tempe, Arizona (740-536), and Dom Barrett of England (686-575).

He'll face Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, in Sunday's opening three-game total-pinfall contest.

Holliman started his week with a strong opening block of qualifying Wednesday, which included a 299 game, but he admitted the second and third rounds didn't go as well as he would have liked, primarily with his spare shooting.

He came in with a fresh mindset Saturday for match play and was able to minimize mistakes throughout his three victories.

"Coming into today, I told myself I needed to start over," Holliman said. "It's a new day and new tournament, so I wanted to come out and just make good shots and go from there. This morning, I saw a little more hook on the gutter and was able to play that a little better. I also had a few breaks in there, but I made all my spares."

Holliman is a rookie on the PBA Tour this season, and he's fresh off a strong showing at the PBA World Series of Bowling X. He was able to make the top 16 at the PBA Cheetah Championship and just missed advancing to the championship round, finishing in fifth place.

The World Series of Bowling and Masters had been events on Holliman's bucket list, and he's been able to show that he can compete with the best players in the world.

He's ready to take the next step and now is just two wins away from securing a spot in the stepladder finals.

"This is a tournament I've always wanted to bowl, and it's been a fun experience," Holliman said. "But, it's definitely been challenging so far. For tomorrow, I plan to come in like I did today. It's a new day and a new tournament. I'm going to take it one shot at a time and try not to press myself too hard."

Other matches in the winners bracket Sunday include Brad Miller of Raytown, Missouri, against Ireland's Christopher Sloan, Jake Peters of Henderson, Nevada, taking on Jonathan Van Hees of Charlestown, Rhode Island, and Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, versus Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida.

Anthony Simonsen of Princeton, Texas, is the only remaining Masters champion in the field. The 2016 champion will face PJ Haggerty of Roseville, California, on Sunday in the elimination bracket.

The bracket at the 2019 Masters was determined by 15 qualifying games over three days at Gold Coast. The top 63 players from the 450-player field joined defending champion Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan, in the double-elimination bracket.

Anderson's title defense came to an end Saturday after finishing tied for 17th place. He won his first two matches before falling to Miller, 687-605, and Kyle Sherman of O'Fallon, Missouri, 717-562.

is providing livestream coverage of the 2019 Masters up to the stepladder finals.