The 39-year-old two-time PBA champion (pictured right and above) rolled games of 274, 268, 245, 244 and 232 to pace the 395-player field on this week’s 40-foot oil pattern.
Momentum seems to be in Smallwood’s favor after a fourth-place finish in last week’s FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions. He also had a runner-up performance at the 2016 PBA World Championship. Prior to the recent run, his last TV appearance came at the 2014 Masters, where he finished fourth.
“As kids, all of us dreamed of bowling on Sundays, and it’s been nice to make two shows in such a short time, especially with both being majors,” said Smallwood.
“I’m definitely confident coming into this week. With three majors in a row recently, your body gets a little beat up, but you get sharper bowling this much. Now, I just need to keep it simple and grind for the next two days, hopefully get to match play and have that work out how I want.”
Smallwood is followed by one-time PBA titlist Stuart Williams of England (left; 1,261), Nick Kruml of Downers Grove, Illinois (right; 1,260), reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana (below left; 1,223), and collegiate standout Michael Tang of San Francisco (1,218).
There is a three-way tie between Tyler Cortez Schenck of Phoenix, Nathan Bohr of Austin, Texas, and Brennan Haugh of Faribault, Minn., at 1,093 for 61st place, making that the cutline after five games.
Defending Masters champion Anthony Simonsen (right) of Austin, Texas, who is guaranteed a spot in the match-play bracket, finished the first round of qualifying tied for 110th place with a 1,063 total. He struggled early but averaged 232 his last three games to make up some ground.
All competitors at The Orleans this week will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the match-play field. The top 63 players will join Simonsen in the double-elimination bracket, where three-game total pinfall determines who advances.
As the defending champion, Simonsen is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket, but bowling qualifying gives him a chance to improve his seeding, as well as get a feel for the bowling center and oil pattern.
Qualifying continues through Thursday, and match play will take place Friday and Saturday to determine the five players for the championship round.
Those five bowlers will compete in the stepladder finals, live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Feb. 26.
The 2017 Masters features a total prize fund of nearly $300,000 and again is a major event on the PBA Tour. The winner will take home the coveted Masters trophy and $30,000 top prize.
All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters are being covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel. For more information, click here. For more information about the USBC Masters, click here
Top 100 of 395 players with position, hometown and 5-game total; (a) denotes amateur, S denotes Senior
1, Thomas Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,263. 2, Stuart Williams, England, 1,261. 3, Nick Kruml (a), Downers Grove, Ill., 1,260. 4, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,223. 5, Michael Tang (a), San Francisco, 1,218. 6, Ian Willard (a), Milwaukie, Ore., 1,214
7, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,199. 8, Francois Lavoie, Wichita, Kan., 1,193. 9, Adam (AJ) Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,187. 10, Nobuhito Fujii, Japan, 1,184. 11, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 1,180. 12, Eryk Jensen (a), Gresham, Ore., 1,179
13(tie) Dan Bock (a), Albert Lea, Minn., and Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 1,167. 15, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,166. 16, Dominic Barrett, United Kingdom, 1,165. 17(tie) Arturo Quintero (a), Mexico, and Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,159
19, Matthew Sanders (a), Evansville, Ind., 1,154. 20, Casey Shephard (a), Kalamazoo, Mich., 1,152. 21, Dallas Leong (a), Las Vegas, 1,146. 22(tie) Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, and Steve Pavlinko Jr., Sewell, N.J., 1,144. 24, Manuel Otalora, Cooper City, Fla., 1,142
25, Matt Zasowski, Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,140. 26, Ronnie Sparks, Redford, Mich., 1,138. 27, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,135. 28, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,133. 29, Nicholas Pate (a), Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 1,132. 30, Adam Martinez (a), San Antonio, 1,129
31, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,127. 32, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,126. 33, Timothy Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 1,125. 34, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,122. 35, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 1,119. 36(tie), Markus Jansson, Sweden, and Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 1,117
38, Matthew Anderson (a), Las Vegas, 1,116. 39, Maria Jose Rodriguez, Austin, Texas, 1,115. 40, John Verbich III (a), Griffith, Ind., 1,114. 41, Lucas Legnani, Argentina, 1,113. 42, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,110
43, DeeRonn Booker (a), Anaheim, Calif., 1,109. 44, Timothy Behrendt (a), St. Charles, Mo., 1,108. 45, Steve Smith (a), San Diego, 1,107. 46, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 1,106. 47, Mike Dole, Loves Park, Ill., 1,104. 48(tie) Brad Miller, Raytown, Mo., and Jeremiah Smith (a), Mandan, N.D., 1,103
50(tie) Ryan Zagar (a), Kenosha, Wis., and Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,102. 52, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,101. 53(tie) Matt Cabanski (a), Cibolo, Texas, Santiago Mejia, Colombia, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, and Robert Campagnale (a), San Bernardino, Calif., 1,100
57, Anggie Ramirez Perea, Austin, Texas, 1,099. 58, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 1,098. 59, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,096. 60, Wesley Low (a), Palmdale, Calif., 1,095
61(tie), Tyler Cortez Schenck (a), Phoenix, Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas, and Brennan Haugh (a), Faribault, Minn., 1,093. 64(tie) Michael Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., and Mike Wolfe, Floyd Knobs, Ind., 1,092. 66, Kevin Cook (a), Casper, Wyo., 1,089
67, Douglas Heimos (a), St. Louis, 1,087. 68(tie), Corey Hines (a), Jackson, Mich., and Andy Neuer (a), Lewisburg, Pa., 1,086. 70, Greg Thompson Jr., San Jose, Calif., 1,084. 71, Danny Khuu (a), Brockton, Mass., 1,083. 72(tie), Shane Holt, Lake Wales, Fla., and Kenneth Ryan (a), Farmingdale, N.J., 1,081
74, Jalen Mosley (a), Indianapolis, 1,080. 75(tie), Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., and Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 1,079. 77, Joshua Roca (a), Wichita, Kan., 1,077. 78(tie), Steven Badovinac (a), Monument, Colo., and Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 1,076
80(tie), Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., Gary Faulkner Jr., Sanford, Fla., Andres Gomez, Hollywood, Fla., Daniel Fransson, Sweden, and David Scardaville, Houston, 1,075
85, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,074. 86(tie), Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., and Shuichi Heki, Japan, 1,073. 88(tie), Noel Vazquez, Sacramento, Calif., Alexander Hoskins (a), Brigham City, Utah, Lon Peless, Belding, Mich., and Michael Machuga (a), Erie, Pa., 1,072
92(tie), Francois Louw, South Africa, and Kevin Gallagher, Torrance, Calif., 1,071. 94(tie), Chad Nelson (a), Owatonna, Minn., Martin Larsen, Sweden, and Mike Hanson (a), Spokane, Wash., 1,070
97(tie), William ‘BJ’ Moore, Apex, N.C., Raul Rosales (a), El Monte, Calif., Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., and Tim Ursillo (a), Lakeside, Calif., 1,069.
300 games (1) – DeeRonn Booker.
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