900 Global Tour Rep Day 5 & 6 – The USBC Masters

Being The 900 Global Tour Rep Day 5 & 6 – The USBC Masters By John Gaines

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Day 5 starts the first day of three game double elimination match play. I had three of my 900 Global staff members, Chris Barnes, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, and Ramon Hilferink, make the top 64 after 15 games of qualifying.

It’s always very interesting to watch match play. There are bowlers that will win with 570 and bowlers that will lose with 670. All depends on who you draw and if it’s on a fresh lane condition or the burn.

The two first round squad times of match play were 9:00am and 11:30am. Both squads were on the fresh.

Ramon Hilferink’s USBC Masters Run

Ramon Hilferink VS Stu Williams

Ramon bowled at 9:00am and Chris and Anthony bowled at 11:30am. Ramon and Anthony had a tough time in their first matches. Unfortunately, with Ramon qualifying 64th and final spot for match play, he had to bowl the #1 seed in Stuart Williams. There was a reason Stu was the leader. He was throwing it well and his ball motion matched up to the flat pattern also.

Stu beat Ramon 703-591.

Ramon got behind early and Stu never let up. There are two options in match play. One is to strictly play your own game and not worry about what your opponent does. The other is to try and do something to make the lane different enough to make your opponent’s ball motion so different from what they have seen that they struggle during the match. I wasn’t sure that Ramon was going to beat Stu straight up, as again, Stu’s reaction was really good on the fresh and burn through the 15 games of qualifying.

So, we decided to take a chance and throw some surface just left of Stu and hoped it worked out. Stu’s reaction never really changed, and it was just too much for Ramon to catch up. So it was on to the “contenders” (losers) bracket for Ramon, as this is double elimination.

Ramon Hilferink VS Jesse Buss

Ramon’s next match was at 4:00pm against Jesse Buss. This match was also on the fresh. I had a little different strategy on this one. I wanted to burn a hole to the right where Ramon felt most comfortable on the lane. We took his 900 Global X2 and surfaced it with 500. Ramon threw his first couple shots up 3-4 on both lanes. What worked out great was Jesse was also throwing a dull surface ball up 4-5 on the right.

Jesse is a talented, higher rev player. But he can play to the right. But I also knew with his higher rev rate that he would have to move off that spot quickly, where Ramon has a much softer hand and would not have to move as much. Jesse had to move quickly and often throughout the match. Ramon didn’t move much and just kept shelling down bowling balls. Ramon won easily, 657-565. On to the next match in the “contenders” bracket 9:00am the next day.

Ramon Hilferink VS Richard Teece

Ramon’s next match was against international player Richard Teece. We tried the same strategy. Burning a hole to the right where Ramon feels comfortable by putting 500-grit on a ball he will definitely not use. Unfortunately, in this match, Ramon just didn’t bowl up to his capability. Plus, the pair didn’t quite break down the way it had against Jesse Buss. The pair broke down much faster moving Ramon left quicker than we wanted. And Richard Teece did bowl very solidly. Ramon lost 614-542. This was Ramon’s second loss and the end of his tournament.

Anthony Lavery-Spahr USBC Masters Run

Anthony Lavery-Spahr VS Kyle Cook

Anthony bowled Kyle Cook and lost 601-558. Anthony already has some experience bowling PBA events. He mostly makes his own decisions. Anthony’s opponent, Kyle Cook has a high rev rate, like Anthony, but Kyle doesn’t like to play to the right very much. Anthony is pretty good to the right for a bowler with a high rev rate. Anthony decided to take a 360-grit pad and blow a hole open in the pattern to the right. Only problem was this pair might have been the tightest we had seen all week. All it really did was blow a hole in the front of the lane. But the backend of the lane remained very slick. Anthony had to abandon his plan and chase it left with Kyle. But Anthony just could not catch up. On to the “contenders” bracket for Anthony.

Anthony Lavery-Spahr VS Darren Andretta

Anthony’s next match was at 4:00pm on the fresh against left hander Darren Andretta. Again, Anthony wanted to try and break down the pattern with a freshly surfaced ball. It looked ok during the 10-minute practice session. But when the match started the pair quickly changed; the lane started to break down quickly. Anthony tried to keep the ball on line by picking up his ball speed. Only problem is higher ball speed really didn’t work all week. This ended up being an ugly match. Many open frames for both players. Andretta held on to win 564-534. This was Anthony’s second loss and the end of his tournament.

Chris Barnes USBC Masters Run

Chris Barnes VS Brad Miller

Chris Barnes had a better fate in his first-round match against Brad Miller. Many of you have probably never heard of Brad. I hadn’t either until I saw him at The PBA Players Championship back in February. Brad is a solid player without many holes in his game. He can play any part of the lane. Change his speeds and rotations very well. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him on a PBA telecast one day.

As I expected, Brad gave Chris all he could handle. Fortunately, Chris prevailed 697-657. Chris stays in the winner’s bracket.

Chris Barnes VS Chris Via

Chris’ second match was against up and coming two hander Chris Via. Via has already had some great experience at the college level and Team USA. Chris used the same strategy in practice as his previous match. Chris was trying to break the lane down as far to the right as possible. Only problem this time was for a two hander, Via is also very good at playing to the right. Via used a heavily surfaced ball just to the left of Barnes. This forced Barnes off the gutter quicker than anticipated and had to move left. This really played into Via’s hands. Via had great ball motion and was throwing it very well on top of that. Via won the match 693-601. Chris will now head to the “contenders” bracket tomorrow morning at 9:00am.

Chris Barnes VS Chandler Stevens

Chris’ next match was against Chandler Stevens. Chandler was one of the few bowlers I saw this week have success with high ball speed. I will say Chandler was very good at keeping his target in front of him and his ball on line to the pocket. Chris again employed the strategy of trying to break down the pattern to the right. The pair seemed to hook a bit more downlane than previous days. More like practice day, actually. This kind of trapped Chris a bit. Chris burned up that spot to the right but didn’t have the hold down lane that he had the previous days. Chris tried to move just a little left because his ball was going high. But there really wasn’t anything to move left into because of the pattern being so flat. Just nowhere to really play between 6-12. Chris was forced to move into 20 at the arrows. Chris’ reaction was never really great. He hung in there as best as possible. The match was really tight all the way through. In the end, Chandler just had a few less opens than Chris. Chandler won 623-604. This is the end of Chris’ tournament.

That concluded my week as all 900 Global staffers were finished. It’s amazing how much the lanes change from day to day and squad to squad. Even match play can play so different than the rest of the week because there are only two bowlers on the pair and you bowl a three-game match on the same pair. Anytime working a major event like The Masters there are some long days. I worked 74 hours in 6 days.

You deal with so many different styles of players and personalities. Trying to figure out which ball, layout, and surface will work for each player. In the end, it is still a privilege to be around and work with the greatest bowlers in the world. I hope this past week’s blog from The Masters gave you some better insight as to what really goes on between a ball rep and their players. Next up, I will be working the first four weeks of the PWBA in Las Vegas April 26th-28th. I will again be writing a blog about each one of those tournaments as they happen.


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