The inaugural Madison Area USBC Masters was held on February 3, 2018, at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes – host of the Madison Area Open Championships. This year, 35 bowlers competed.
Derek Eoff defended his tournament title with a 279-221 win over Danny Verdecchia in the championship match. Eoff earned $415.00, two tickets to the Madison Area Hall of Fame Dinner, one ticket to the Dinner with the Champions, and the crystal trophy.
The cut to make the stepladder finals (top 5) on the Madison Area Open Championships pattern was +222 over six games, and the cut to cash was +205. Three honor scores were shot on the day. Eoff had 815 for his first three, and Danny Verdecchia shot 802 with a 300 for his final three games.
Facebook Live victims included Eoff with a 289 opening game, Matt Krueger with 289 in Game 2, and Chris Jackson, 289 in Game 4.
The field had no trouble on the condition the first game, averaging 222.89 with +47 as the last cash number and +67 the fifth stepladder spot. Eoff led with his 289, followed by Matt Krueger (278), Danny Verdecchia (268), Rick Erce (268), and Austin Powers (267).
Eoff (569) “managed” to stay in first through two games with a 280, holding off Krueger (567) who shot 289. Dan Lockman (504) jumped into third. Gail Myers (501) was fourth and Joe Johnson (486) moved into fifth. The cut to cash moved to +78 and the overall scoring cooled off a bit to 214.57.
After three, the field made some adjustments and averaged 220.83. Eoff (815) held first. Krueger (789) remained in second. The next three were all new to the top five, and all shot 270 games. Cody Roedner (760) was third after a 278, Jay Heinzelman (753) fourth after a 275, and Chris Gibbons (728) fired 277 to round out the top five. The number to cash rose to +121.
Game four was the highest scoring of the tournament as the field averaged 225.60. Eoff’s (1084) lead neared 100 pins following a 269. At this point, he was averaging 271 for the tournament. Roedner (996) moved into second. Krueger (992) dropped to third. Heinzelman (980) held his spot in fourth, and Herb Kimpel (959) took over the fifth spot. The cut to cash was +152.
Game five marked the beginning of a scoring decline, as the field averaged 217.94. Eoff (1298) remained in first. Verdecchia (1227) shot 300 to vault into second place. Gibbons (1208) had 256 to get back into the top five in third place. Krueger (1197) was in fourth and Heinzelman (1195) in fifth. the cash cut was +185. There were five players within 22 pins of the top five.
Scoring “plummeted” in game six as the field averaged just 210.74. Eoff (1546) completed his wire to wire domination. Verdecchia (1494) finishied off his 800 series to qualify second. Roedner (1454) fired a 269 to leapfrog from sixth to third. Heinzelman (1430) moved up to fourth, and Jeff Richgels (1422) made his first appearance in the top five, moving up from ninth with a 247 final game to take the last stepladder spot.
Overall, the tournament field averaged 218.66, up significantly from last year’s field average of 200.07.
2017-18 Masters Qualifying
Match 1: #5 Richgels 237 def. #4 Heinzelman 222
Match 2: #5 Richgels 235 def. #3 Roedner 215
Match 3: #2 Verdecchia 258 def. #5 Richgels 237
Match 4: #1 Eoff 279 def. #2 Verdecchia 221
2017-18 Masters Prize List