Belmonte claims 10th PBA major title
Think of the notoriety Australian Jason Belmonte would be getting if he compiled his accomplishments with a golf club, tennis racket or strapped into a race car instead of rolling a bowling ball down wood or synthetic lanes.
Belmonte made the latest of his many statements last week. The man who revolutionized the two-handed shot won the PBA Tournament of Champions at storied AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio. It’s the third time he’s won the event, but more importantly it was the 10th major title of his career and put him in elite company. Belmonte is now tied for first with Hall of Famers Pete Weber and the late Earl Anthony on the all-time major titles list.
A four-time PBA Player of the Year who is only 35 entered the stepladder finals on the FOX Sports national telecast as the No. 1 seed. No. 3 E.J. Tackett made it to the championship match where Belmonte, using a urethane ball, overcame a missed 10-pin early in the match to prevail 225-196.
The post-event hoopla doesn’t match what goes with the green jacket for the Masters golf champion, the silverware for the Wimbledon champion or a trophy the winner holds aloft today at the end of the Daytona 500. Belmonte had to be content with picking up the trophy and raising both hands with all fingers extended to represent the 10 majors.
“It’s madness,” Belmonte told Jeremy Schneider of pba.com. “To work so hard at your craft means the world to be here at this moment. It hasn’t completely sunk in and to have my name next to Pete and Earl is an overwhelming feeling right now. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would achieve this. It doesn’t seem real to have my name on that list with two of the greatest bowlers of all time.”
There was a $1 million bonus for either Tackett or Belmonte if they shot 300 in the finals. Neither did.
Belmonte’s first chance for his 11th major comes this week in the PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl (he is No. 1 seed for the stepladder finals). FS1 has the show live Sunday at 1 p.m. Also on the show are Anthony Simonsen, D.J. Archer, E.J. Tackett and Kyle Troup. The $1 million bonus for the 300 in the title game is in play again, too. “Now that I’ve won 10, I can’t wait to get to 11,” Belmonte said. One win and he’s at the top in majors won. And then he just becomes that much harder to catch.
SWEETHEART TOURNAMENT: Scotch Doubles Sweetheart Tournament is Sunday at Dixie Lanes in Grayson, Kentucky. Start time 2 p.m. Entry fee $30 per couple.
ON TARGET: Tammy Wells and Janey White put up big numbers in the Industrial Management League at the Strike Zone Bowling Center. Wells fired games of 257-288-215 for a 760 series. White shot 248-255-234 for 737. In juniors at Strike Zone, Sam Clay had a high game of 245 on the way to a 643. Allie Miles shot 244 on the way to 604. Trenton Fuller had a high game of 247.
MARSHALL FUNDRAISER: Marshall University Southern Coalfields Alumni chapter and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation have a March 3 tournament at Pinheads Bowling Center in Oak Hill, West Virginia. Time from 1 to 6 p.m. $15 for at least two games of bowling, shoe rental, meal and non-alcoholic beverages. Prizes, raffle, silent auction and other events to raise money for the Big Green. Call 304-465-5500 or visit pinheadsbowling.com.
CITY REMINDER: Dates for the Huntington USBC Championship Handicap Tournament are May 4-5 at Strike Zone. Huntington USBC officials working out event details. Strike Zone proprietor Mike Prater is not charging lineage for the event and that’s a big plus for the tournament prize fund.
David Walsh covers bowling for The Herald-Dispatch. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.