Oregon's Croucher top qualifier at Senior Masters

RESULTS: Round 3

Kevin Croucher of Grants Pass, Ore., earned top qualifier honors Wednesday at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters, giving him the top seed for Thursday's double-elimination match-play bracket.

Croucher finished qualifying with a 15-game total of 3,278, an average of 218.53, to lead a field of 249 of the country's top bowlers age 50 and older at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

"This year I came out and worked hard on my game and came out here with high expectations," Croucher said. "I've only missed earning a prize check in one of the last 10 or 12 events I've bowled in. So my expectations were to do quite well this week."

Croucher leads the top 64 players after qualifying into match play, which begins at 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday and will be broadcast live on BOWL.com. Matches will consist of three games and the player will the higher pinfall will advance.

"Everyone knows you are just trying to qualify to get into match play in this tournament the first three days," Croucher said. "With this tough of a condition out there, the matches are going to come down to making spares and who makes the least amount of mistakes."

Qualifying second was USBC Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., who has totaled 3,246. Tom Baker of King, N.C., is third with 3,212, while Dale Eagle of Tavares, Fla., sits in fourth with 3,191. Defending champion Wayne Webb qualified sixth with 3,182.

First-round leader Rick Vittone of Canada finished qualifying in eighth place with 3,168 and fired the second perfect game of this year's tournament in Wednesday's final qualifying squad. Kenny Parks of Hammond, Ind., who qualified fifth, had the first perfect game this week.

Match play will continue through Friday evening with the championship match scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The winner will earn $14,000 and the total prize pool is more than $110,000.