During qualifying for the PBA50 Regional Players Invitational, Bill Watson seized the lead after Game 3. He never relinquished it, pacing the field with a 238 average.

Watson shot 1,904 for his eight-game set at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas — 57 pins better than the next-best player.

“In practice I had a pretty good look with a couple different balls,” said Watson, who hails from Maineville, Ohio. “The plan I had all worked out, starting with an Idol Cosmos and then as they opened up I went to a Reality Check.”

While he enters the bracket as the top seed, Watson said today’s scores have no bearing on what happens in match play.

“Come tomorrow, everyone’s even,” he said. “I have to look at it that way. I can’t look at it as being the high qualifier. That doesn’t get you anything. I’ve got to bowl my match and see what happens.”

Mitch Beasley qualified second with a block of 1,847. The Clarksville, Tenn. native said he has battled numerous injuries in recent years, including a torn achilles, back issues and torn ligaments in his ring finger.

This past spring, he said a bad vertebrae in his neck forced him to have another surgery, which put him out another few months. He has slowly worked himself back into shape, just in time for the new year.

“The last four or five weeks, I’ve been getting stronger,” Beasley said. “I’ve been starting to throw the ball a little more like me. Six weeks ago, my rev rate was probably 100 less than it is now.”

But the injuries have brought his natural ball speed down, although he said that played to his advantage today. As transition hit, he said he was able to get left of everyone to blend the lanes.

Despite returning to competitive bowling only a few weeks ago, Beasley finds himself near the top of the PBA50 RPI standings.

“I’m a little tired,” the 54-year-old admitted. “I’m not used to bowling that many games in a tournament, but I made it to second. I’m excited about that.”

Darryl Bower, Eugene McCune and Sammy Ventura round out the top five. Troy Lint, who qualified in ninth, opened his block with the day’s lone 300 game. Complete standings are available here.

The 16 advancers will resume competition tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. ET. All rounds of the bracket will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

Advancers to Match Play

  1. Bill Watson, 1,904
  2. Mitch Beasley, 1,847
  3. Darryl Bower, 1,833
  4. Eugene McCune, 1,832
  5. Sammy Ventura, 1,831
  6. Ryan Shafer, 1,822
  7. Andrew Rettig, 1,819
  8. Gary Faulkner, 1,798
  9. Troy Lint, 1,796
  10. Jeff Atkins, 1,791
  11. Lee Robison, 1,785
  12. Rick Minier, 1,767
  13. Rick Meneley, 1,759
  14. Mac Sanders, 1,758
  15. Brian Kretzer, 1,748
  16. Shawn Horenberger, 1,743


1. Watson vs. 16. Horenberger
2. Beasley vs. 15. Kretzer
3. Bower vs. 14. Sanders
4. McCune vs. 13. Meneley
5. Ventura vs. 12. Minier
6. Shafer vs. 11. Robison
7. Rettig vs. 10. Atkins
8. Faulkner vs. 9. Lint

Remaining RPI Schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 3
8 a.m. PST | 11 a.m. ET — PBA50 Round of 16 (best-of-five matches)
10:15 a.m. PST | 1:15 p.m. ET — PBA50 Round of 8 (best-of-three matches)
11:45 a.m. PST | 2:45 p.m. ET — PBA50 Round of 4 (single-game matches)
12:30 p.m. PST | 3:30 p.m. ET — PBA50 championship match (single-game match)
3 p.m. PST | 6 p.m. ET — PBA qualifying Round 1 (seven-game block)

Wednesday, Jan. 4
9 a.m. PST | 12 p.m. ET — PBA qualifying Round 2 (seven-game block)
4 p.m. PST | 7 p.m. ET — PBA division Round of 32 (best-of-five matches)
6:30 p.m. PST | 9:30 p.m. ET — PBA Round of 24 (best-of-five matches)

Thursday, Jan. 5
8 a.m. PST | 11 a.m. ET — PBA Round of 16 (best-of-three matches)
9:30 a.m. PST | 12:30 p.m. ET — PBA Round of 8 (best-of-three matches)
11 a.m. PST | 2 p.m. ET — PBA Round of 4 (single-game matches)
11:45 a.m. PST | 2:45 p.m. ET — PBA championship round (single-game match)