Steelsmith top qualifier at Masters

RESULTS:  Round 3 | Brackets

HENDERSON, Nev. - Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan., earned high-qualifier honors Thursday after 15 games at the 2012 Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters.

Rick Steelsmith Masters largeThe 1987 Masters champion finished qualifying with 3,505, an average of 233.6, and will face defending champion and No. 64 seed Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, in the opening round of the double-elimination match-play bracket at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center.

Steelsmith, who earned $1,000 for being the top qualifier, finished 76 pins ahead of second-place finisher Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas. Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, finished third with 3,424.

The top 63 players from the final qualifying standings advanced to match play. Two-time champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., earned the final spot with 3,148, an average of 209.8.

Match play begins at 4 p.m. Pacific on Thursday with three rounds of matches on the schedule. By the end of the day, only 32 players will remain in the field and stay alive heading into Friday's match-play rounds.

The week began with 305 of the best players in the world vying for a piece of the $250,000 prize fund. The Masters will conclude Sunday with the nationally televised stepladder finals at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

For more information on the USBC Masters, visit