After winning his first major title in 2012, Grapevine's Mike Fagan would like nothing better than to repeat the feat this week.
That's when the 32-year-old right-hander starts his quest to become the first repeat champion of the United States Bowling Congress Masters tournament. Fagan and more than 410 other competitors start action Tuesday at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J.
"The Masters is tough to win because of the format and being a dominant player in that environment is extremely tough," Fagan told USBC's Lucas Wiseman. "But if the lanes are as challenging as they have been in the past for the Masters, then I like my chances. I'm on my game right now and feeling good."
Fagan defeated fellow Dallas-Fort Worth-area competitor Chris Barnes of Double Oak 246-213 to take last year's Masters' title in Henderson, Nev. History is against another win as the last person with consecutive titles was Billy Welu in 1964-65. Dick Hoover is the only other repeat winner in 1956-57.
While Fagan has an automatic berth into the 64 players who will compete in double-elimination matches, he has opted to take part in qualifying that begins Tuesday to try to improve his seeding.
"I'm definitely not upset that I get to be in the bracket already," Fagan said. "The fact that there are so many entries pouring in means it could be tough just to make the bracket. Making that cut is one less thing off my mind and it allows me to focus more on strategy."
All players will roll five games each day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the cut to the top 64 players. The top five after match play later Thursday and all day Friday advance to Sunday's live two-hour ESPN televised finals beginning at 3 p.m. EST.
The Masters, which features a first-place prize of $50,000 and a total prize fund of at least $300,000, is a major event on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and is part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour for the third consecutive season.
More information is available at Bowl.com.