The Butler did it! Bowler Robert Butler Jr. captures SIUSBC Masters event

Robert Butler Jr., right, is presented with the winning bracket by SIUSBC president Jim Episcopia. (Photo courtesy of Frank Wilkinson)

By Staten Island Advance Sports Desk
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Visit the Tournament Page for the Full Final Results and Recap.

Robert Butler Jr. rolled through the winners’ bracket and then defeated Kevin Rourke, 190-167, in the title game of the 14th Annual Staten Island USBC Masters Championship Tournament Saturday at Rab’s Country Lanes.

In all, the final field consisted of eight bowlers, including three past champions.

“The field is always great,” said the 42-year-old, who is originally from Great Kills and now resides in Eltingville. “Half the bowlers in the finals have won this tournament so it’s always tough. It’s a high-powered field. It’s very humbling that I won.”

Butler Jr. said the key to winning is keeping the ball in play, making spares and giving yourself a chance.

“This is my fourth time in the finals,” said Butler. “Every time was in I won a game and then lost the next two.”

But not this year!

“The key is to fill frames and make spares and keep yourself in the game,” said Butler, who rolled the tourney’s high game of 243 but also shot the event’s low game of 123 on extremely tough conditions.

As the winner of the losers’ bracket, Rourke had to beat Butler twice to capture the title. Rourke won the first game, 190-123, before Butler won the deciding game.

Butler advanced to the finale as the third seed in the qualifying round with a five-game series of 967, including games of 224, 179, 198 and 177.

Anthony Arias, the 2021 Staten Island Singles Classic Champion, led all qualifiers with a 974 total, only one pin ahead of Tim McAuliffe, Jr.

McAuliffe, Jr., for the second consecutive year, earned himself the $200 first-squad leader bonus. He remains the only competitor to have won the Masters title multiple times.

Butler Jr. comes from a family of keglers. His father, Rob Sr., once tore up the lanes about two decades ago.

Butler Jr. now bowls in the Donna Zajac Memorial League on Sunday nights at Country with a handful of members from his family.

“My father used to bowl in the league with me, my mother and my aunt,” said Butler. “But when my dad left my wife joined the team. So it’s still a family affair.”

This year’s championships were contested on the 2022 USBC Masters Lane Pattern.

In the finals, finalists competed in a single-game double elimination bracket. Bowlers had the opportunity to lose twice before facing elimination.

All Staten Island USBC Association tournament champs will be honored at the Championship Awards and Hall-of-Fame Dinner Dance to be held May 26, 2023 at the Staaten.

Standings going into the finals

1 Anthony Arias – 974
2 Tim McAuliffe, Jr. – 973
3 Robert Butler, Jr. – 967
4 Kevin Rourke – 925
5 Jeffrey Martin – (did not bowl in the qualifying round)
6 Nicholas Hollywood – 924
7 Sean McAuliffe – 912
8 Victor Maturi – 912

Final Results

1 Robert Butler, Jr. – $650
2 Kevin Rourke – $270
3 Anthony Arias – $200
4 Tim McAuliffe, Jr. – $150
5 Jeffrey Martin – $110
6 Sean McAuliffe – $110
7 Victor Maturi – $100
8 Nicholas Hollywood – $100

Previous Champions: Frank Wilkinson (2009); Jeff Kubasak (2010); Lou Gaudio, Jr. (2011); Tim McAuliffe, Jr. (2012 & 2013); Sean McAuliffe(2014); Michael Endress, Jr. (2015); Anthony Terzakos (2016); Gary Ricci, Jr. (2017); Kevin Rourke (2018); Anthony Everts (2019); Jeff Sciré(2020); Jeffrey Martin (2021).

Summary of Finals

Round 1

Anthony Arias def. Victor Maturi 197 to 193
Sean McAuliffe def. Tim McAuliffle, Jr. 183 to 177
Robert Butler, Jr. def. Nicholas Hollywood 170 to 168
Jeffrey Martin def. Kevin Rourke 215 to 179

Round 2

Anthony Arias .def. Sean McAuliffe 205 to 144
Robert Butler, Jr. def. Jeffrey Martin 188 to 187
Tim McAuliffe, Jr. def. Victor Maturi 230 to 179
Kevin Rourke def. Nicholas Hollywood 166 to 149

Round 3

Tim McAuliffe, Jr. def. Jeffrey Martin 213 to 188
Kevin Rourke def. Sean McAuliffe 156 to 153

Round 4

Robert Butler, Jr. def. Anthony Arias 243 to 165
Kevin Rourke def. Tim McAuliffe, Jr. 214 to 167

Round 5

Kevin Rourke .def. Anthony Arias 211 to 209


Kevin Rourke def. Robert Butler, Jr. 190 to 123
Robert Butler, Jr. def. Kevin Rourke 190 to 167

The Finals by the numbers

High Game Robert Butler, Jr. – 243
Low Game Robert Butler, Jr. – 123
Competitors – 8
Total Pins rolled – 5,519
Average Score – 183
200+ Games – 8

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