Hall of famer Doug Kent takes lead at 2019 USBC Senior Masters

BOWL.com Article Image

- United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Doug Kent of Newark, New York, took over the top spot after two rounds of qualifying at the 2019 USBC Senior Masters on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old right-hander leads the 300-player field with a 10-game score of 2,337, a 233.7 average.

Gary Faulkner of Norfolk, Virginia, is second with 2,320, and 2012 champion Mike Edwards of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is third with 2,314. Denver's Ricky Schissler (2,312) and Blaine Weninger of Clackamas, Oregon (2,310), round out the top five.

BowlTV.com is providing wire-to-wire livestream coverage of the event for USBC members age 50 and older.

Kent's first two rounds have been on the double-burn and burn variations of this week's 40-foot oil pattern, and he's found that controlling his speed has been the key to creating the proper motion through the pins. He rolled 1,157 for his five games on the double-burn Tuesday and followed up with 1,180 on the burn Wednesday to get to the overall lead.

"I think the biggest key has been speed control," said Kent, the 1991 and 2006 USBC Masters champion. "I'm still trying to hit it, but I'm also keeping my speed softer, which helps it read the midlane. I've just been trying to keep my speed under control through the midlane so the ball still sees the end of the lane pattern."

Kent controls his ball speed by altering his tempo, and he expects he'll have to soften his speed and tighten his angles Thursday while bowling on the fresh during his final round of qualifying.

As many competitors note, the format at Senior Masters functions as two tournaments in one - qualifying and match play.

Kent is familiar in managing both aspects, and he hopes to use Thursday's final round to continue to prepare for the tournament's double-elimination bracket.

"This tournament begins with match play," Kent said. "There are so many smart and great players, which generally causes the scoring environment to go up. You need to have a good plan and have your equipment prepped, but it really comes down to being able to execute and limit your bad shots."

The biggest mover on Wednesday was 2017 PBA50 Player of the Year Brian LeClair of Delmar, New York, who moved from 212th place to 15th with a five-game score of 1,293 on the double-burn. LeClair rolled games of 248, 277, 255, 278 and 235 and now has an overall score of 2,267.

Qualifying will conclude Thursday, starting with the first squad at 11 a.m. Eastern. After three days of qualifying, 15-game pinfall totals will determine the 63 bowlers who will join defending champion Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, in the double-elimination bracket.

Warren is tied for 40th place after two rounds with a 2,188 total. He is guaranteed the No. 64 seed in the bracket if he falls out of the cut, but he can improve his seeding for match play during qualifying.

After 10 games, Hugh Miller of Mercer Island, Washington, is in 64th place with a 2,153 total, a 215.3 average. Miller was the runner-up at the 2019 Super Senior Classic, which also was held at Sam's Town last week.

Bowlers advancing to bracket play will compete in three-game total-pinfall matches until the top five bowlers are determined for Sunday's stepladder finals, which will take place at 1 p.m. Eastern. The winner will take home the $20,000 top prize.