By Lucas Wiseman
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Defending champion Wayne Webb of Grove City, Ohio, is one of four players still unbeaten after the first day of double-elimination match-play bracket competition at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters.
Webb won four matches Thursday and needs to win three more to successfully defend the title he won last year in Las Vegas. This year's event is being held in a bowling center named after him - Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The USBC Hall of Famer survived a scare in his final match of the night, falling behind by 36 pins in the three games, total pins match against Charlie Tomey of Spartanburg, S.C., before rallying down the stretch to take a 636-632 victory.
"Today's my birthday and I didn't lose a match - that's pretty incredible," said Webb, a 20-time winner on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour who turned 54 on Thursday. "I thought Tomey had me. I had nothing out there and he had a little bit of a look, but I figured out a way to strike enough to beat him."
Also unbeaten Thursday was USBC Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis., and Chris Fedden of Albany, N.Y.
The winners bracket resumes play at Noon Eastern on Friday with Webb taking on Williams in a re-match of last year's championship. Fedden will take on Traber for the right to stay in the winners bracket.
A total of 12 other players are still alive in the losers bracket with hopes of winning the title but face a long road to get to the championship match, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday live on BOWL.com.
The winner of this year's Senior Masters will earn $14,000 and the total prize pool is more than $110,000.