2011 USBC Senior Masters headed for Columbus, Ohio

For the first time in more than a decade, the USBC Senior Masters is headed east, and the 2011 edition is slated for the recently-renovated Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio.

The event will be held July 31-Aug. 5 and kicks off the second half of the 2011 Professional Bowlers Association Senior Tour season. More than 300 of the sport's top professional and amateur players age 50 and older are expected to converge on the 48-lane center to compete for a prize fund of up to $125,000.

Newly-elected USBC Hall of Famer Wayne Webb is the tournament host and defending champion. He claimed the 2010 title on the way to PBA Senior Player of the Year honors with a win over PBA legend and Senior Tour Rookie of the Year Walter Ray Williams Jr.

"It's such an incredible opportunity to be able to bring the USBC and the professional bowlers into our center," said Webb, a PBA Hall of Famer who owns 20 PBA Tour titles and five Senior Tour wins, including three majors. "And it's great that we're on this side of the Mississippi this year. I think we'll pull a whole new crowd of bowlers to join the bowlers we already have."

Entries already are rolling in for the 2011 Senior Masters, and participants can take advantage of a simple online registration process by visiting BOWL.com/seniormasters.

Contested for the first time in 1993, the USBC Senior Masters has been held in Nevada (Reno and Las Vegas) on 10 occasions, Tucson, Ariz., and Akron, Ohio, three times each and one time apiece in Florida and Oklahoma in 1994 and 1993, respectively.

The Senior Masters is modeled after the long-running USBC Masters and is a test of patience and endurance. All competitors will bowl 15 qualifying games over three days, and the top 63 players then will join Webb in the double-elimination match-play bracket. Match play will consist of three-game matches with total pins determining the winner.

Bowling fans should plan to catch all of the action as it unfolds. The event is expected to be added to USBC's live streaming schedule and will be broadcast on BOWL.com.

In 2010, more than 40 percent of the field was older than 60, so there will be an exciting new option for those players to earn extra prize money in 2011. For an additional $50, bowlers 60 and older will have a shot at the Super Senior Prize Fund during qualifying. Prizes will be awarded based pinfall for the first three rounds (15 games), and the cash ratio will be 1:4.

"We're excited about the upcoming Senior Masters, and we hope to attract some new bowlers with both the location and the new Super Senior Prize Fund," said USBC Managing Director of Tournaments Brian Lewis. "We've welcomed feedback from our bowlers and made changes that we hope will help make the event successful and memorable."