Chelsea Farrell and Mike English outlasted the season's top bowlers when the Heart City USBC Bowling Association held its season-ending Masters Invitational Tournament on April 26 at Country Club Lanes in Elkhart. Farrell's victory topped off an outstanding season during which she posted three 300 games and an 811 series. For English, the win comes after he returned to competitive bowling only a couple months ago.
Farrell topped the field of 22 women after the five-game qualifying round with an 1171 total (234.2 avg). The top eight advanced to the stepladder match play round, where they were seeded for best 2-of-3 game matches. Farrell defeated No. 8 seed Tonya Davis 2-1 and No. 4 seed Melinda Farrell 2-0 to advance to the title match, where she faced Christel Hughey. Hughey, The No. 7 seed and a past champion, had downed both No. 2 seed and defending champion Stephanie Rossi and Aubrey Jannings 2-0. Farrell earned the title, downing Hughey 2-1 in a match where both struggled compared to their earlier scores. Farrell took the first game 189-175, while Hughey bounced back to even the match, taking Game 2 203-176. In the winner-take-all Game 3, Farrell's 207-179 victory earned her her first Masters title.
English, who was in the field as an alternate after not competing most of this season or the last several, made the best of his opportunity, topping a full field of 50 men. English earned the No. 5 seed with his 1146 five- game total (229.2 avg). He topped both No. 3 seed Brandon Baker and No. 2 seed Albert Giersberg 2-0 to earn his spot in the title match against Steve Eiermann. After grabbing the No. 8 seed, Eiermann caught fire early in match play, posting games of 289 and 290 and defeating Jerrod Kauffman 2-0. He then topped past champion Michael Ferro 2-1, closing the match with a 279-215 win in Game 3 to advance to the final. In the title match, English took an early lead, winning Game 1 246-209. Eiermann evened the match, taking Game 2 235-216. English came back strong, pulling away for a 246-216 win to secure his first Masters title.
Youth bowler Tori Smith qualified 5th, making match play for the women. Her father, Don Smith, competed on the men's side and nearly joined her in match play, missing the cut by 14 pins and placing 12th. Youth bowler Aaron Beaver had an impressive showing, averaging over 220 and finishing 16th.
This year's tournament was sponsored by Country Club Lanes, Crown Trophy of Mishawaka and the Heart City USBC Bowling Association.