LAS VEGAS – Perry Crowell IV of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, may only bowl a handful of events on the national stage each year, but he tends to make the most of each opportunity.
The 30-year-old right-hander does his best to stay mentally and physically prepared to compete against the best in the world, and his efforts paid off Tuesday with a strong performance during the first round of qualifying at the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Crowell sits in second place overall after his first five-game block at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. He rolled games of 246, 206, 199, 265 and 258 for a 1,174 total, a 234.8 average.
Mykel Holliman of Collierville, Tennessee, led the 414-player field with a 1,200 total, a 240 average. Holliman, the runner-up at the 2019 USBC Masters at Gold Coast, rolled games of 235, 207, 278, 257 and 223.
Cameron Henning of Layton, Utah (1,167), Keven Williams of Battlefield, Missouri (1,163), and 2016 Masters champion Anthony Simonsen of Las Vegas (1,142) also finished Tuesday’s opening round in the top five.
Crowell usually circles a couple of bigger tournaments on his schedule each year, and he’s found success in those appearances. In addition to the Masters, Crowell is a familiar face at the USBC Team USA Trials and U.S. Open, and he’s made an impact at both of those events in recent years.
He earned a spot on Team USA in 2019, which led to an appearance at the PANAM Bowling Elite Championships later that year in Lima, Peru. Crowell helped Team USA capture a gold medal in team competition during the event.
At the 2020 U.S. Open, he advanced to the stepladder finals on his way to a fourth-place finish.
Some struggles at those events in 2022, however, inspired some changes and a chance at a mental reset for Crowell.
“I take advantage of every opportunity I possibly can, and a lot of it is mental preparation and confidence that at some point, I’m going to find a way, and that’s the biggest thing,” Crowell said. “Team USA Trials and the U.S. Open didn’t go very well for me this year, and I think I didn’t really feel confident in my abilities and had some self-doubt at that time. I needed to reset. I dropped down from 16 to 15 pounds after the U.S. Open and changed my fit, and it’s been a huge help.
“Mentally, I know I have to be ready to compete against these players and know it’s going to be difficult, but to be able to put my best foot forward today is very rewarding right now.”
Crowell works in the bowling industry as a global sales representative at Turbo, and he’s able to keep his game sharp at their training facility – Turbo Tech. He puts in the time and effort and competes locally when he can, but he also has noticed benefits from giving lessons at the facility.
He noted how helping others has assisted in being able to see ball motion, and he was able to apply that during his opening round on this week’s 40-foot oil pattern. Crowell is crossing with Sweden’s Martin Larsen during qualifying, and he was able to make some early adjustments based off what he saw from his ball reaction Tuesday.
Larsen finished the first round tied for 21st place with a 1,087 total.
“I felt a little lost at the start, but I was watching what Martin was doing,” Crowell said. “I went off the picture he was seeing, and I thought it looked pretty good and was able to make the right adjustments for my game.”
All competitors will return to the Gold Coast Bowling Center on Wednesday for the second of three rounds of qualifying. After 15 games, which includes two blocks on the fresh lane condition and one squad on the burn, the top 63 players will join defending champion Thomas Larsen of Denmark in the double-elimination bracket beginning Friday.
Larsen is guaranteed a spot in the bracket as the defending champion, and he can improve his seeding through qualifying. If he happens to finish qualifying outside of the top 63, he’ll be the No. 64 seed.
After the first round, Larsen is in 179th place with a 984 total.
Crowell knows anything can happen once competition switches to match play at the Masters, and the first goal looking ahead is to ensure his spot in the bracket.
“I think today gives me a little breathing room,” Crowell said. “I don’t want to give it all away, but it gives me a little buffer. The biggest thing is making the bracket. Once you get there, it’s a whole different tournament. I’m just going to take it one game at a time and try to eliminate some bad games, take advantage of good pairs and hope I’m going onto match play after Day 3.”
All bracket matches leading up to the stepladder finals will feature a three-game total-pinfall format. The top five players will advance to the stepladder finals, which will air live April 3 at 1 p.m. Eastern on FOX. The winner will take home the $ 100,000 top prize and major title on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour.
All rounds of competition prior to the stepladder will be broadcast live by BowlTV and simulcast to FloBowling. Subscribe at BowlTV.com.
For more information on the USBC Masters, visit BOWL.com/Masters.