Simonsen still undefeated after Day 1 of match play at 2023 USBC Masters


ALLEN PARK, Michigan –
Experience is never a bad thing when it comes to trying to win a major championship.

Despite being just 26 years old, Anthony Simonsen of Las Vegas doesn’t just have experience competing for major titles; he has experience winning them.

Simonsen’s resume currently lists four major victories, the first of which came at the 2016 USBC Masters.

The two-hander was just 19 years and 39 days old at the time of that victory, which made him the youngest bowler to ever claim a major title.

He’s captured three more since then, collecting victories at the 2019 PBA Players Championship, The 2022 U.S. Open and last year’s Masters in Las Vegas.

Now, Simonsen has positioned himself for a run at a third Masters title as he went 2-0 during Thursday’s opening round of match play at the 2023 Masters, which is being contested at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Michigan.

Simonsen, who began match play as the No. 29 seed in the 64-player double-elimination bracket, won matches over No. 36 Matt Russo of Fairview Heights, Illinois (766-699), and No. 61 Dallas Leong of Las Vegas (705-637), to remain one of just 16 players who are still undefeated in this year’s tournament.

Having won the event twice before, Simonsen knows better than most how important it is to still be in the Winners Bracket at the end of the first day of match play at the Masters.

“It’s important to get out of the first day of matches undefeated because it makes your road to the show a lot shorter,” Simonsen said. “Plus, even if you do lose, you don’t have to go through nearly as many matches as the guys who lose in the first or second round.”

The fear of losing never really crept in on Simonsen during his opening-round match as the talented two-hander struck at will, averaging 255.3 during the three-game match to easily move into the second round of Winners Bracket play.

Things didn’t go as smoothly during the early stages of Match 2, however, as Simonsen fell behind Leong by 56 pins after Game 1 (280-224).

The defending champion refused to be rattled, however, and by the time Game 2 was completed, Simonsen had not only erased the deficit; he had taken the lead.

He would never trail again as he continued making quality shots and filling frames while Leong struggled with spotty ball reaction. When all was said and done, Simonsen had easily finished off the comeback and moved his record to 2-0.

“The thing about these three-game matches is that they can swing back and forth quite a bit; you can get back 30 or 40 pins really quickly with some good shots,” Simonsen said. “It’s important to stay in it mentally, and I was able to do that by bowling a really good second game. I’m pretty happy so far, but I have to just keep taking it one match at a time.”

Simonsen’s next match will come Friday morning when Winners Bracket action resumes with Round 3 starting at 8 a.m. Eastern. His opponent for that match will be No. 45 seed Keven Williams of Battlefield, Missouri.

A total of 32 players remain in the double-elimination bracket at the 2023 event, including six past champions. Simonsen is joined in the Winners Bracket by Tom Hess of Granger, Iowa (2011) and Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois (2011), while Jason Belmonte of Australia (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017), Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona (2019), and Parker Bohn III of Jackson, New Jersey (2001), are in the Elimination Bracket.

Competition in the three-game total-pinfall matches will continue Friday until
the Elimination Bracket is down to the final eight players.

At that point, television matches will start with four single-game matches replacing the final three-game head-to-head round and a four-player shootout to determine the finalists for the stepladder. These matches will be broadcast live on FS1.

These TV matches will implement a knockout-style format with the winners of the first two games advancing to the finals of the Elimination Bracket. The advancers then will take on players who lost in the semifinals of the Winners Bracket with each winner earning a spot in the opening match of the stepladder on April 2.

The two players who emerge victorious from the semifinals of the Winners Bracket will earn automatic spots on the April 2 broadcast with a three-game total-pinfall match determining the top seed. This match will be broadcast at

With only four players advancing to the stepladder, the top seed will need to be defeated twice on FOX to be denied the title.

The stepladder at the 2023 event will be April 2 at 1 p.m. Eastern on FOX, with the champion taking home a spot in the tournament’s storied history, a major title on the PBA Tour and the $100,000 top prize.

For more information on the USBC Masters, visit