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Belmonte Races Away with 2017 GEICO PBA Player of the Year Award

Thursday, January 18, 2018

For the fourth time in the past five seasons, Australia’s Jason Belmonte has been selected by the bowling news media and his fellow competitors as the GEICO Chris Schenkel Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year.

The PBA’s most prized individual achievement award for the 2017 season was announced today by PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark, who also announced that Matt Sanders, an Evansville, Ind., native now living in Indianapolis, is the 2017 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year; Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, is the Steve Nagy PBA Sportsmanship Award winner, and PBA Hall of Famer Del Ballard Jr. of Keller, Texas, is the recipient of PBA’s Tony Reyes Memorial Community Service Award.

All four will receive their awards during the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Indianapolis Marriott North.  The entire celebration dinner will be live streamed on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.

Belmonte, after becoming the first player in PBA history to win three major championships among his four titles in 2017, was a landslide winner in balloting among his fellow PBA members and veteran bowling writers.  At age 34 he joined Mark Roth as a four-time winner of the award.  Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the all-time leader with seven Player of the Year Awards, followed by the late Earl Anthony with six.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be the PBA’s Player of the Year," Belmonte said.  "2017 was a really successful year for me and winning these awards just makes those successes even better.  It really motivates me to continue to push myself even harder.  I want to thank all the members who voted and also thank the PBA for giving me the opportunity to bowl on the best tour in the world."

The most successful two-handed player in bowling history led the PBA in earnings ($238,912) and scoring average (a PBA record 229.39 for 380 games bowled), capped his 2017 season with a victory in the PBA World Championship for his ninth career major title after winning the Barbasol PBA Players Championship and an unprecedented fourth United States Bowling Congress Masters title earlier in the season. He also won the inaugural Storm Lucky Larsen Masters in Sweden for his fourth title of the year.

It was a great “comeback” after a less-than-Belmonte-like year in 2016 when he didn’t win a PBA title after winning Player of the Year honors for three consecutive years, but, as Belmonte said, "2016 wasn’t a bad year.  It was a bad year on TV because I was letting things get to me, like winning a fourth straight POY."

Belmonte has pledged to himself that won’t happen again in 2018.

"I don’t want to have that conversation, that I was too busy thinking about Player of the Year to bowl well," he said.  "That’s not going to happen; I’m not going to let myself do that.  If another player has a better year than I do, it’s not going to be because I was thinking about end of year awards."


News article courtesy of -
Bill Vint | PBA Media Relations
Professional Bowlers Association | Chicago, IL 60604