Qualifying wrapped up last night at the 2024 USBC Masters. Sweden’s Markus Jansson paced the 465-player field to earn the top seed for the 64-player, double-elimination bracket.

But for Anthony Simonsen, the two-time defending and three-time career Masters champion, the tournament has only just begun. 

“It's obviously been a long three or four days just waiting to get to (match play), but tomorrow morning it gets cracking,” a giddy Simonsen said late Wednesday night.

Though Simonsen was guaranteed a spot in the match play field — he would’ve earned the No. 64 seed regardless of where he qualified outside of the top 64 — he said he wanted to avoid playing the week’s hottest player in the opening round.

Simonsen said he found himself going through motions Monday during his first round on the burn — even telling a competitor “I should probably focus more” — but spent the next 10 games on the fresh preparing for match play.

He said he shuffled through a few balls, including at least one long-discontinued piece from his collection, purely for testing purposes before ultimately qualifying in 26th place at +331.

The 27-year-old will face Austin Boulds in the opening round of match play. All matches will be three games with the highest total pinfall advancing, a format that Simonsen very much relishes.


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Last year, Simonsen set the match play scoring record with a 250.4 average for his undefeated 18 games of match play. In the seeding round, he struck on 34 of 36 shots, including the final 21, to shoot 845 and clinch the top seed for the championship round.

“When you're bowling matches, it's crazy how quick things can change,” he said. “Obviously there's a few of us out here that can throw a 10- or 15-bagger pretty quickly. You can’t take a frame off. It’s exciting.”

Simonsen said a lot of players don’t like following themselves, meaning bowling consecutive games on the same pair of lanes, but he’s not one of them.

“When you have a gameplan that’s been thought out, if you're not striking that moment, you're setting the lane up for what you're trying to do a little later,” Simonsen said. “In match play, you could bowl somebody who you think you can out-grind, so you might mess the pair up and bowl 580. Or you might end up in a match where you both bowl 770.”

Now living in Las Vegas, Simonsen said he visited Suncoast Bowling Center a few weeks ago to get the lay of the land, perhaps plotting his path to a third consecutive Masters title.

Only one player has won three-peated the Masters: Jason Belmonte from 2013-2015.

Simonsen ended Belmonte’s reign — albeit briefly as Belmonte responded with another Masters title the following year — by winning the 2016 Masters and becoming the youngest player to win a major title.

Simonsen, who turned 27 in January, could tie Belmonte’s record with a fourth career Masters title this week.

Match play begins at 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. Eastern) on Thursday. Simonsen will compete his first round at 12:30 p.m. local time (3:30 ET).

More information about the 2024 USBC Masters is available here.