Hall of Famer Williams moves into top spot at Masters

NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. - United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., put together a big second round of qualifying to surge into the lead Wednesday at the 2014 USBC Masters.

The two-time Masters champion has a 10-game total of 2,348 (234.8 average) to lead the field of 468 of the best bowlers in the world at Brunswick Zone Carolier. The championship round of the Masters will air live on ESPN on Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Williams 150x210Williams, 54, the Professional Bowlers Association Tour record holder for all-time titles with 47,  had a solid opening round Tuesday of 1,143 but improved upon that in Wednesday's second round, scoring 1,205. He had games of 279, 220, 233, 243 and 230.

"I have a lot more confidence now than when I got here this week," said Williams, who won the Masters in 2004 and 2010 is looking to become just the second three-time Masters winner along with Mike Aulby. "But there's a long ways to go in this format. I've got a good shot to make match play now, but nothing is a given."

Defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia and Cameron Weier of Federal Way, Wash., are tied for second with 2,301. Dom Barrett of England is fourth with 2,294, while two-time Masters winner Doug Kent of Newark, N.Y., rounds out the top five with 2,262.

Kyle King of Glendale, Ariz., fired the first 300 game of the 2014 Masters in the second round and sits in 46th place with 2,136.

All competitors will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days before the field is cut to the top 63 plus Belmonte for the double-elimination match-play bracket starting Friday.

The top five players at the conclusion of the bracket competition will compete in the live two-hour championship round on ESPN.

The Masters, which features a first-place prize of $50,000, is a major event on the PBA Tour and is part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour for the fourth consecutive season.

All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters are being covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

For more information on the Masters, including live scoring, visit BOWL.com/Masters.