At just 10 years of age, Jason Belmonte surprised and amused his parents Aldo and Marisa when he told them that his goal in the sport was to bowl 100 perfect games.
Now 37, and with 13 Major titles under his belt, Belmonte has achieved that remarkable milestone.
He shot the historic 300 game on Tuesday evening in the second round of qualifying of the 2021 KIA PBA Tournament of Champions, currently underway in Jupiter, Florida and currently sits second on the leaderboard behind American Tom Smallwood.
Averaging 249 after the first 12 games of qualifying, Belmonte trails Smallwood by 211 pins, with another 12 qualifying games scheduled to resume Wednesday morning, local time. After 24 qualifying games, the top 24 players advance to a further 24 games of matchplay with the top 5 bowlers then advancing to the live-televised stepladder final on Sunday, 28 February local time.
After a strong first block, defending ToC champion, Kris Prather struggled in the second round, dropping to tenth in the standings, while fresh from his recent success in the 2021 Players Championship, Kyle Troup advanced to third after today’s second block.
The 2021 KIA PBA Tournament of Champions also offers players the chance to win a million-dollar bonus if a perfect game is shot in the title match of the tournament. Through a partnership between the PBA and broadcast partner FOX, the $1 million bonus is on the line on three more occasions this season: the KIA PBA Tournament of Champions, the PBA World Championship and the PBA Super Slam.
Belmonte is one of only three bowlers on the PBA Tour who have won the Tournament of Champions title three times – a victory and fourth ToC title would be another ‘first’ highlight of Belmonte’s record-breaking career.