Faulkner leads qualifying at 2021 USBC Masters

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Results: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Bracket

RENO, Nev. -
After 15 games on a tricky oil pattern, the field is set for match play at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

Gary Faulkner Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee, paced the 216 players at the National Bowling Stadium, averaging 214.67 on the way to a 15-game total of 3,220. He had blocks of 1,103, 1,088 and 1,029 on the 40-foot, heavy-volume lane condition and never fell below second place.

All competitors this week bowled three five-game blocks over three days, with total pinfall determining the 63 bowlers who now will join defending champion Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, in the iconic double-elimination match-play bracket.

NormDuke2021MastersRd3ForWeb300x169USBC and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, also the 1993 USBC Masters champion, turned in his highest set of the week to surge into second place with a 3,216 total.

He was followed by Kristopher Prather of Romeoville, Illinois (3,202), 2016 Masters champion Anthony Simonsen of Las Vegas (3,187) and 2016 PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana (3,183).

All rounds of qualifying and match play from the 2021 Masters are being broadcast on BowlTV.com and simulcast to FloBowling, and the event will conclude live on Fox Sports' FS1 on Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern as part of the PBA Tour television schedule. The winner will take home $30,000.

Butturff, who was guaranteed at least the No. 64 spot in the bracket as the defending champion, was able to improve his seeding during qualifying this week.

He finished tied for 58th place with a 2,970 total, a 198 average, sharing the spot with four-time Masters champion Jason Belmonte of Australia. Butturff will take on No. 6 Nathan Bohr of Austin, Texas, in the opening round, and Belmonte will meet No. 7 Tim Foy Jr. of Seaford, Delaware.

Amateur Chris Martinez of Fort Collins, Colorado, earned the final spot in match play with a 2,949 total, a 196.6 average. He'll meet Faulkner in Friday's first round.

Martinez was one of nine non-professionals to make the cut. The last time an amateur won the Masters was 2002, when left-hander Brett Wolfe defeated Dennis Horan Jr., 269-172, in the championship match, also at the National Bowling Stadium.

The first round of three-game, total pinfall matches will get underway live on BowlTV on Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern. Matches will continue throughout the day Friday and Saturday, and the final five players will advance to the televised stepladder finals.

The Masters last was held in Reno in 2011, and this week's event is the first of two major championships being held in the Biggest Little City in the World.

The U.S. Open will take center stage beginning the afternoon of April 4 with a pre-tournament qualifier. The long-format tournament will conclude live on FS1 on April 11 at 2 p.m. EDT. Belmonte is the defending champion at the U.S. Open.

The 2021 U.S. Open will be a collaborative effort between USBC and the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America, and the limited field will include the sport's best bowlers, most of whom earned their spots in the event based on their recent on-lane performances. The list includes leaders on the PBA Tour points list and top performers at USBC events and PBA majors.