On Sunday afternoon, at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., Anthony Simonsen etched a new chapter in his young, yet illustrious PBA career.

The 26-year-old defeated Michael Martell to win the 2023 USBC Masters, defending his title and becoming the youngest player in PBA history to win five major titles. 

Six years ago, he won his first Masters title to become the PBA’s youngest major champion. He then won the 2019 PBA Players Championship, 2022 U.S. Open and 2022 Masters; the youngest to win at every turn.

With this latest title, Simonsen also became the third three-time Masters champion, joining Mike Aulby (1989, ‘95, ‘98) and Jason Belmonte (2013-15, ‘17).

Simonsen caught fire late in the match play rounds, averaging over 263 for his last eight games before the championship round.

He beat Martell in the final match of the winners bracket to earn the No. 1 seed, which ensured Simonsen would need to be beaten twice on TV. He struck on 34 of 36 possible shots in that match, shooting 300 and 845 for the three-game set.

The two-hander refused to let the match reach a second game, seizing the title with a 243-222 victory.

Martell, who was making his PBA Tour television debut, knew he could not give Simonsen an inch. After converting a pair of 6-pins, Martell split in the seventh frame, giving Simonsen all the room he needed.

The 25-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. defeated Kyle Sherman in the semifinal to set up a rematch. Martell shook off some jitters in the first two frames, then struck in the ninth and 10th to shut out Sherman and advance to his first career championship match.

“There is nothing better than stepping up on television knowing you need a hit and getting the hit,” Martell said. “I have a lot of belief in the fact that I can get back here. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be the rest of a special season.”

The scoring pace slowed down in the semifinal, following a trend seen throughout the week. The 46-foot oil pattern would often be conducive to high scores, but transition could make them tricky in a hurry.

Sherman, just as he did Friday night, started hot in the opening match against Sean Rash. He threw 10 strikes to take down the veteran, 258-199.

Rash, making his first Masters telecast since winning the event in 2007, fought to stay in the match. However, a 4-9 split in the ninth frame ended his comeback attempt.

At the Masters, Simonsen sought to defend a title for the first time in his career. He not only repeated as Masters champion, but also won the second straight PBA Tour event held at Thunderbowl.

"As soon as I walk in, it feels like home," Simonsen said. "With all the history the inside (Thunderbowl), not just the building but the arena itself, it's pretty special to come in here. I had the last win on the old lane surface. I have the first one on the new lane surface. Being a little bowling nerd, that'll be a little cool checkmark for me."

Championship Round Scores

Match 1: No. 3 Kyle Sherman def. No. 4 Sean Rash, 258-199
Match 2: No. 2 Michael Martell def. No. 3 Kyle Sherman, 208-187
Championship: No. 1 Anthony Simonsen def. No. 2 Michael Martell, 243-222

Final Standings

  1. Anthony Simonsen, $100,000
  2. Michael Martell, $50,000
  3. Kyle Sherman, $25,000
  4. Sean Rash, $15,000

More information on the 2023 USBC Masters is available here.