Australia’s Jason Belmonte scored his second Major of the PBA Tour season and 13th career Major with another history-making victory in the PBA World Championship in Las Vegas overnight.
After day one of qualifying, in 70th position and nearly 400 behind the leader Belmonte out-bowled a field of 120 Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI competitors over 56 games on four different lane conditions to earn the top seed for the PBA World Championship stepladder finals at South Point Bowling Plaza.
In the title match, Belmonte’s opponent – fellow two-handed player Anthony Simonsen from Texas – had a bad start with two opens after leaving difficult splits. Belmonte surged to a commanding lead by stringing strikes from the third through seventh frames to seal a 213-190 win and collect US$150,000 in prize money.
“Going into the match it was all going to be about speed control,” Belmonte said. “Keeping it slow and getting a good consistent release was the key. Anytime you can keep striking, keep a big lead and your opponent believes he has to strike out to win, that’s when you can really keep the pressure on.”
In the wake of the PBA’s decision to close the event to the public in response to coronavirus concerns the stepladder final was contested before an audience limited to PBA players, family members and tournament officials, but televised live to a massive audience across the United States on FOX FS1 and streamed around the globe to international fans. The excitement of the win was shared by Belmonte’s wife and three children who joined the 36-year-old Aussie in the United States two weeks ago, and
dubbed ‘Team Belmo’ by local media.
A dominant season on the PBA Tour in 2019 earned Belmonte his fifth PBA PLAYER OF THE YEAR and PLAYER OF THE DECADE honours, and this latest win eclipses his ‘Super Slam’ achievement when he claimed the U.S. Open title last month. The World Championship was the fourth and final event of the season that offered a US$1 million bonus if the winning player bowled a 300 game in the title match.
“Obviously you can’t ignore the money in a tournament like this but it’s never been the motivating factor for me,” said Belmonte. “It’s always about the title because that’s what people will remember when the history is written.”
“A day I will never forget …. winning my 13th Major championship! “My third and back to back to back World Championships in front of my family will be a moment that will I look back at and be forever grateful I had the opportunity.
“It was certainly a very different feel having the public closed today to the event, but the ones who I wanted here most were here, and winning in front of them was all that mattered to me. “Thank you Kimberly, Aria, Hugo and Sylvie for being the best caddies and cheer team ever!” stated an elated Belmonte who will return to Australia sooner than anticipated following the
postponement of several Tour events that are now on hold.
PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia $150,000.
2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $70,000.
3, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., $40,000.
4, Francois Lavoie, Canada, $30,000.
5, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, $20,000.
Match one – Lavoie def. Via, 269-258.
Match two – Simonsen def. Lavoie, 224-204.
Semifinal – Simonsen def. Tackett, 215-177.
Championship – Belmonte def. Simonsen, 213-190.