LAS VEGAS – No matter what happens in the stepladder finals of the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Masters on Monday, bowling will have a first-time major champion.
None of the five players who advanced to the finals have won a major title, although top seed Jakob Butturff has had several opportunities in the past, finishing second in three majors.
Butturff earned the top spot with a 673-665 three-game win over rookie Mykel Holliman on Sunday afternoon at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino.
The lefty with the quirky release and conventional grip drilling went undefeated in six matches in the Masters double-elimination match-play bracket to have another shot at a major. Butturff finished second at the PBA World Championship just over a week ago.
Joining Butturff on the show is second seed Holliman, third seed Jake Peters, fourth seed Mitch Hupe and fifth seed Christopher Sloan. Besides Butturff, who has five titles, Peters is the only other player with a PBA Tour title on the show.
Throughout match play, Butturff said he was battling an upper back injury that seemed to come out of nowhere.
“It started about day three of qualifying when I felt a little bit of pain,” Butturff said. “I didn’t think anything of it because it didn’t hurt while I was bowling. This morning, I was up at 4:30 because I felt like I got hit in the back with a sledgehammer. I couldn’t even lay straight on my back, so I was out walking around at 5 in the morning.”
The finals will take place Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern and be broadcast on FS1 for audiences in the United States. International audiences can watch the finals at the same time live on FloBowling.
In the final match to close out the bracket Sunday, the four remaining players in the elimination portion of the bracket bowled one three-game match against each other to determine the final three to make the show.
Peters led the way with a 668 series, Hupe had 648 and Sloan shot 584. Kenny Ryan had 576 and was eliminated.