Anthony Simonson wins 2022 USBC Masters

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Photo courtesy of FloBowling

Anthony Simonson took home the USBC Masters Championship last weekend.

Reece Taylor, Sports Reporter

Professional bowler Anthony Simonson won the 2022 USBC Masters Tournament on March 28- April 3, 2022 at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 25-year-old Roto Grip bowler won his fourth overall major tournament over 58-year-old veteran Norm Duke, a Storm Bowler, 219 to 216. This win came after a grueling seeding tournament which saw Simonson take overall pins, but Norm Duke won the No. 1 seed overall.

The tournament started off on a sour note, as the USBC announced the banning of several top bowling balls in competition, most notably from Storm Bowling and Roto Grip, for below USBC hardness standards. These bans went into effect mid-tournament, a controversial move to many, with some having to relinquish their preferred equipment for backup.

After a multiple day seeding tournament to determine the TV Finals, Duke defeated Simonson in the final day 666-644 to solidify the single-game elimination finals: 1. Duke, 2. Simonson, 3. Brad Miller, 4. AJ Johnson, and 5. Shawn Maldonado.

Johnson opened up the televised play with a decisive victory over Maldonado, winning 199-143. Johnson vs. Miller was a much more dramatic finish as both finished the game tied at 224, but the third-seeded Miller would pull ahead in a two-frame roll-off, where he scored 9-7. Simonson was up next, as he and Miller battled until Simonson ultimately pulled away 189-185 to set up a rematch from the seeding tournament. Miller clinched the third overall of the day here, winning $25,000 in the process.

Along with the much anticipated USBC Masters win, both men were chasing something more. Simonson was looking for another major title to add to his historic young career, but all-time great Norm Duke, who is the youngest bowler to ever win a majors tournament at age 18, wanted to bookend it by being the oldest professional bowler to win a major tournament at age 58.

The championship match was a drama-filled back and forth between the two, as neither could build a substantial lead over the other. The score was within four pins going into the ninth frame, where both needed a major conversion to win the championship. Simonson went on to strike, putting pressure on the decorated vet. Duke lined up in the ninth, but the ball just missed the pocket. He would go on to spare and finish the day with 216. Simonson, only needing a strike and a seven to claim victory, would get the strike and an 8 to add to his historic young career.

While celebrating the win, Simonson took aim at the recent USBC bans as many bowlers in the tournament, including himself, were subjected to the bans. Simonson and others are not happy about the immediate ban and will likely appeal these decisions over the coming months.

The next tournament will be the ongoing USBC Open in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the bans and bittersweet title will linger over the celebrated event.