“#25 just happened!” tweeted Jason Belmonte after scooping another prestigious Professional Bowlers Association title today in Centreville, Virginia. “Much respect for (runner-up) Brad Miller tonight – climbing the ladder and then rolling a perfect 9/10 frame to force me to show up on a brutal pattern,” he added.
Belmonte’s decision to undertake the long commute from Australia to the USA in the midst of the COVID crisis was rewarded with a thrilling 232-202 win in the Go Bowling! PBA Chameleon Championship, raising his tally of career titles to 25, including 13 Majors. He first won the Chameleon Championship in Las Vegas in November 2011 and again last year in Michigan.
The 37 year-old Aussie champion emerged at the top of the seeding round this morning with a 225 game, while Miller’s qualifying score of 171 meant running the stepladder finals against two of the sport’s top players. Belmonte watched Miller defeat Anthony Simonson 203-197 in Match 1 and then EJ Tackett in the semi-final with a narrow 248-247 victory before Miller faced the world’s No. 1 player.
The win prompted an avalanche of congratulations and comments on social media. Described by one fan as a ‘David vs Goliath’ match, Belmonte praised his opponent with appreciation and encouragement. “Congratulations to Brad Miller on his runner up placing. “He rolled an impressive 9th and 10th frame and gave himself a chance by forcing me to show up! “I know how badly he wanted his first title, and it will come. “Today was further proof how much he is improving. “Thanks for a really great match mate,” Belmonte added.
Belmonte bounced back from an uncharacteristic missed spare in Frame 2 with two emphatic strikes in the third and fourth, prompting a subsequent post on social media thanking Belmo for “whiffing that 10 pin … gives us amature (sic) bowlers hope on these tough oil patterns that the very very best even make mistakes”.
“I’m still salty about that,” Belmonte replied. “Proof that you can never lose concentration, even for a minute”.
The Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI animal pattern events (Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion) were previously scheduled earlier this year, with qualifying rounds held in March in Las Vegas before the World Series of Bowling was interrupted by the pandemic.
Belmonte now has a few days to rest before the PBA Tour returns with its premier event of the season, the PBA Playoffs on 10 October. The bracket style, single-elimination competition will feature the Tour’s top 24 players battling head to head for a US$100,000 grand prize. Belmonte is the top seed for the forthcoming PBA Playoffs which will be televised live on the FOX Broadcast Channel and streamed internationally on FloBowling.com.