The stepladder finals of the fourth major of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour season air live on FS1 April 4
Reno, Nev.—The USBC Masters, the fourth of five majors on the 2021 Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour season, begins next week from the National Bowling Stadium. Qualifying and match play will be streamed live on BowlTV and simulcast on FloBowling Mar. 30-Apr. 3. The stepladder finals will air live on FOX Sports’ FS1 Sunday, Apr. 4 at 2 p.m. ET.
Here are some of the top storylines heading into the 2021 USBC Masters:
Butturff Enters as Defending Champion
Jakob Butturff won his first career major title in the 2019 USBC Masters, defeating Mykel Holliman in the title match. With the event not being held in 2020, Butturff enjoyed an extra year as reigning champion and will now attempt to defend his title coming off a second-place finish in the Guaranteed Rate PBA World Championship. Butturff would be the first player to win back-to-back USBC Masters titles since Jason Belmonte, who won three in a row from 2013-2015.
Belmonte Goes for Five
The three consecutive USBC Masters titles for Belmonte were on the front end of a stretch in which he won the tournament four times in five years, adding the 2017 title to set the record for most career USBC Masters wins. Belmonte hasn’t won the event since, but would become the first player ever to win it five times with a victory this year. Belmonte, the all-time record holder with 13 major titles, missed the cut to match play in two of the first three majors this year to go with a third-place finish in the PBA Tournament of Champions.
Troup Continues Career Season
In the first three majors of the season, Troup has finished no lower than seventh. He won the PBA Players Championship, finished seventh in the PBA Tournament of Champions and was fifth in the Guaranteed Rate PBA World Championship. He’s already earned $316,500 on the season and he leads all players in PBA Tour competition points.
Barnes Chases the Elusive Grand Slam
Triple Crown (U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions, PBA World Championship) winner Chris Barnes needs a USBC Masters title to become the fourth player in PBA history to complete the Grand Slam, joining Mike Aulby, Norm Duke and Belmonte. He’s been close on several occasions, bowling for the championship as the No. 1 seed three times in his career, but hasn’t yet been able to capture the title.
Simonsen Looks to Get Back to the Finals
Prior to the Guaranteed Rate PBA World Championship, Anthony Simonsen had made it to the stepladder finals in each of the previous four major championships. He’ll seek to get back to his usual place in the top five in the event he won in 2016 to make him the youngest player ever to win a major championship.
Players Vie for Berth in PBA Super Slam
The PBA Super Slam, a special event taking place April 18 live on FOX Broadcast Channel and paying $100,000 to the winner, will feature the champions of all five majors. Troup (Players Championship), François Lavoie (Tournament of Champions) and Tom Daugherty (World Championship) have already secured their spots in the PBA Super Slam. The final two berths will go to the winners of the USBC Masters and U.S. Open.
USBC Masters Winners Since 2011
2011 – Tom Hess
2012 – Mike Fagan
2013 – Jason Belmonte
2014 – Jason Belmonte
2015 – Jason Belmonte
2016 – Anthony Simonsen
2017 – Jason Belmonte
2018 – Andrew Anderson
2019 – Jakob Butturff
2020 – not held
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to the sport of bowling and its professional competition, with thousands of members and millions of fans throughout the world. The PBA plays host to bowling’s biggest tournaments from the PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2020, the PBA launched PBA Jr., a club for elite youth bowlers under the age of 17 and the PBA Pinsiders, a membership for fans of the sport. For more information, please visit PBA.com.