Three Australians will compete at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, this week, with the prestigious USBC Masters set to commence.
The fourth of five majors on the 2021 PBA Tour, the USBC Masters will host three Australians vying for glory this week – Jason Belmonte, Sam Cooley and West Australian Callum Borck.
An unprecedented four-time winner of the event (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017), Jason Belmonte will welcome the opportunity to become the first bowler in history to win the event five times. After a disappointing World Series of Bowling (WSOB), the all-time record holder with 13 major titles is eager to use an event that has provided past success to reset his season.
“Whilst I haven’t set the lanes alight this season so far, it’s important to remember that there are going to be days better than others. I’ve had a lot of success at the Masters, and drawing on that experience will be key to jump-starting this 2021 PBA season,” explained Belmonte.
Belmonte’s slow start on Tour has not hampered the enthusiasm and excitement he experienced watching fellow Aussie Sam Cooley claim his first career PBA title at the PBA World Series of Bowling Cheetah Championship in Florida a fortnight ago.
“Seeing Sam win and having another Australian own a PBA title is incredibly thrilling, not just for myself but for our entire bowling country. The more Aussies who chase the PBA dream and succeed, the more it will inspire the many junior players back home to believe they can do it too,” said Belmonte.
After competing every year at the USBC Masters since 2016, Sam Cooley enters the 2021 event in different circumstances being a PBA titleholder. The achievement has provided an increased belief of belonging in the PBA.
“Confidence is always a factor that determines those who have good weeks constantly. I’d say I do have more going into these events after winning,” explained Sam.
The win at the Cheetah Championship remains fresh in mind for Cooley, who is still coming to grips with the achievement.
“Despite my social media posts stating I’ve had time to let the win sink in – that isn’t the case. I have re-watched the show a number of times, and it only starts to become more of a reality when I reach the end. I will be going into these majors with the same mindset – only focussing on the process and the factors I can control, and everything else – is what it is”.
Making his PBA debut is 20-year-old Callum Borck from Western Australia. The Youth National Training Squad member is jumping out of his skin at the chance to live out a dream.
“I’m very excited to be competing internationally again and feel very grateful for the opportunity. This is my first PBA event in the U.S., so I’m looking forward to the new challenges it brings,” said Borck.
A Gold Medallist at the 2017 Asian Schools Doubles competition, Callum will enter his maiden PBA event with straightforward goals.
“My goals for the event are to do my best on executing my shots and keep track of the transition across pairs. A lot can happen over three days of qualifying, so I’m just trying to keep my goals simple and easy to follow,” explained Borck.
Qualifying for the Masters consists of 15 games with five games each day on March 31, April 1 and April 2. The top 63 players plus defending champion Jakob Butturff will then advance into the double-elimination match-play bracket from April 3-4.
The stepladder finals of the Masters will be streamed live on FloBowling for Australians and other international subscribers on April 5 at 5 am AEDT.
A total of 252 registered bowlers will contest the event, with 84 placed in each of the three squads – A, B and C.
Conveniently, all Australians are in Squad C, meaning easy to follow times to catch the Aussies’ action on FloBowling.
Wednesday, March 31
2 am AEDT Qualifying – A Squad – Round 1 (five games, fresh)
7.30 am AEDT Qualifying – B Squad – Round 1 (five games, fresh)
1 pm AEDT Qualifying – C Squad – Round 1 (five games, fresh)
Thursday, April 1
2 am AEDT Qualifying – B Squad – Round 2 (five games, fresh)
7.30 am AEDT Qualifying – C Squad – Round 2 (five games, fresh)
1 pm AEDT Qualifying – A Squad – Round 2 (five games, fresh)
Friday, April 2
2 am AEDT Qualifying – C Squad – Round 3 (five games, fresh)
7.30 am AEDT Qualifying – A Squad – Round 3 (five games, fresh)
1 pm AEDT Qualifying – B Squad – Round 3 (five games, fresh)
After 15 games of qualifying, the top 63 players, plus the defending champion, will advance to double-elimination match-play competition.
Saturday, April 3
4 am AEDT: Left side of Winners Bracket
6 am AEDT: Right side of Winners Bracket
9 am AEDT: Winners Bracket
12 pm AEDT: Elimination Bracket (16 eliminated)
20 minutes after completion of previous round: Elimination Bracket (16 eliminated)
Sunday, April 4
4 am AEDT: Winners Bracket | Elimination Bracket (eight eliminated)
20 minutes after completion of previous round: Winners Bracket | Elimination Bracket (eight eliminated)
8:30 am AEDT.: Winners Bracket | Elimination Bracket (four eliminated)
20 minutes after completion of previous round: Winners Bracket (two bowlers for No. 1 and No. 2 seed) | Elimination Bracket (four eliminated)
20 minutes after completion of previous round: Elimination Bracket (two eliminated)
20 minutes after completion of previous round: Elimination Bracket (four remaining contenders bowl for No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds for stepladder finals)
Monday, April 5
5 am AEDT.: Stepladder Finals*
- All times in AEDT and can be changed at anytime.
- Credit to PBA LLC for images