Szczerbinski soars into first-round lead at Masters

NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Four-time Team USA member John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., cruised into the lead Tuesday after the opening round of the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

Szczerbinski, who is looking for his first Professional Bowlers Association Tour title, fired a five-game total of 1,244 (248.8 average) at Brunswick Zone Carolier and leads a sold-out field of 468 of the best bowlers in the world competing for a piece of the $315,000 prize fund. The finals of the event will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Szczerbinski 2014 Masters 150x200Despite having a shaky practice session on Monday, a consistent block helped Szczerbinski into the top spot. He had games of 247, 245, 259, 237 and 256.

"After the practice session yesterday, everything was up in the air," Szczerbinski said. "Let's just say I've had better sessions. So I went and drilled a ball last night and it happened to be the right ball. I had good ball motion and was able to repeat shots pretty well."

Local bowler Greg Ostrander of Freehold, N.J., sits in second place with 1,214, while Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio, is third with 1,199. Two-handed lefty Allen Rice II of Phenix City, Ala., shot the highest game of the day, 299, and sits in fourth with 1,170.

All competitors will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days before the field is cut to the top 63 plus defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia 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

For more information on the Masters, including live scoring, visit