Loschetter high qualifier at USBC Masters

Results: Bracket | Round 3

RENO, Nev. - Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, maintained his lead at the USBC Masters and now is in familiar territory heading into the double-elimination match-play portion of the event.

The 29-year-old right-hander, Wednesday's second-round leader, finished qualifying Thursday with a 15-game total of 3,498, an average of 233.2, to lead the field of 267 of the best professional and amateur bowlers in the world at the 78-lane National Bowling Stadium. He earned the top seed for double-elimination match play, which begins at 7 p.m. EST today.

Loschetter will be joined in match play by 62 other qualifiers and defending champion John Nolen of Grand Blanc, Mich. The 64 bowlers will compete to determine the four players who will advance to Sunday's championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. EST. The winner will take home $50,000 and a two-year Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour exemption.

"I've had a great reaction all week, and I feel like I'm throwing it well, but it's a whole new tournament now," said Loschetter, who also earned top-qualifier honors at the 2007 Masters. "At this point, I can't worry about trying to beat my opponent, no matter who it is. I'm just going to focus on keeping my shoulder loose, and if I do what I've been doing, I think I'll be tough to beat."

Loschetter is still searching for his first win on the PBA Tour. Although there is still a long road to Sunday's championship round, he is confident entering match play. His first opponent will be No. 61 Tim Mack of Indianapolis.

"My confidence was high coming in because I thought I'd bowl well on this pattern and because I've had past success in this tournament," said Loschetter, whose highest finish this season was sixth at the Shark Championship. "I played inside the first day and outside yesterday and today, so I know I have different looks. Now it's just a matter of good shotmaking and focusing on my own game."

Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte earned the No. 2 seed Thursday with a 3,421 total and was followed by Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla. (3,404), Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas (3,377) and Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y. (3,369). First-round leader Brian Voss of Alpharetta, Ga., qualified 23rd with 3,251.

Nolen, the No. 32 seed, will open match play against former Team USA member Derek Eoff of Arlington, Texas, the No. 36 seed.