Jason Belmonte

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Jason Belmonte
Personal information
Nickname(s) Belmo
Nationality Australian
Born (1983-07-29) 29 July 1983 (age 31)
Orange, New South Wales, Australia
Residence Australia
Sport
Sport Ten-pin bowling
Turned pro 2008
Achievements and titles
World finals World Tenpin Masters (2007)
Regional finals Brunswick Euro Challenge, Greece (yyyy)
National finals PBA Tour title (2009)
Korea Cup (2010)

Jason Belmonte (born 29 July 1983 in Orange, New South Wales), an Australian ten-pin bowler, is a professional player on the PBA Tour in the United States[1] and world circuits. He is known for using the rare two handed "shovel" style to deliver his shot. He has won 12 PBA titles, including five major tournaments.

Early life[edit]

Belmonte's father opened the Orange Ten Pin Bowl[2] when Jason was a toddler. As a result, he started rolling a ball at 18 months. Interviewed in 2009, he commented: "The only problem for me though was as an 18-month-old baby boy lifting a nine- to 10-pound (4-4.5kg) bowling ball ... it was a little hard, so like all babies I pushed the ball with two hands."[2] In doing so he developed a two-handed style which he uses today, placing only two fingers and no thumb in the ball to produce more revolutions.[1] He started competing at the age of three, winning his first event at the age of four. At the age of five, he had a league average of 117 and a high game of 179.[citation needed]

Belmonte was described by friends as motivated and compassionate. He also participated in many local charity events in his youth.[citation needed]

Titles[edit]

Belmonte has won one European Bowling Tour title, the Brunswick Euro Challenge, held in Greece. He also won the World Tenpin Masters championship in 2007. In September 2010, he defeated American Sean Rash in the finals to earn the 2010 Korea Cup title.[3]

On the PBA Tour, Belmonte owns eleven titles, including his first title at the Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic (2009), and three titles in the 2011–12 season (GEICO Shark Open, World Series of Bowling Chameleon Open, and the Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship). After making the televised finals in five of six PBA majors without winning, he defeated Wes Malott to capture his first PBA major title: the 2012–13 USBC Masters. He captured his second major at the 2014 Barbasol Tournament of Champions, again defeating Malott in the title match. On February 8, 2015, Belmonte became the first bowler to win three consecutive USBC Masters tournaments after defeating No. 1 seeded AJ Johnson. On February 15, 2015 he defeated No. 1 seed Rhino Page to capture his second consecutive Barbasol Tournament of Champions title, and his second major title in two weeks.

Bowling career[edit]

Amateur and international accomplishments[edit]

Aged seventeen, Belmonte became the first Junior Australian to bowl a 300 game overseas. He also took five Gold medals at the 2000 Junior National Championships, was selected for the Youth Australia team, and also held a place in this team in 2002 and 2004. Belmonte was awarded the 2001 Orange Junior Sportsperson of the Year and won the 2002 Senior Award. He also was awarded the Orange Sportsperson of the Year award in both 2002 and 2003. Belmonte won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Championships in Scotland and a silver medal at the WTBA World Youth Championships in Thailand. Later in the year, he was selected in the Australian Open men's team, where he remains to the present time.

In 2004, Belmonte took three gold, one silver and one bronze in the Asian Youth FIQ in Hong Kong and followed this up in the World Youth FIQ titles in Guam with a gold in the singles and a gold in all events. He also competed in the 2004 AMF World Cup in Singapore where he was lead qualifier and never lost the lead in five days of qualifying events, finishing in 5th place after being knocked out in the quarter final. He won the prestigious 2004 Bowler of the Year award, voted by the Board of Directors of the World Bowlers Writers' Association. Belmonte was invited to participate in the 2005 World Tenpin Masters in England where he was defeated in the semi-finals. In this event, he made history by bowling the first-ever 300 game in the event. The game was filmed by Matchroom Sport.

Belmonte represented Australia in the 2006 World Youth Championships in Berlin. He was part of the team to take the gold medal in the Team Event and went on to make the Masters after finishing in sixth place in the All Events. He was defeated in the second step of the Masters by the eventual winner, Mads Sandbaekken from Norway. In 2007, Belmonte was once again invited to take part in the World Tenpin Masters, held at the Barnsley Metrodome. After defeating the defending champion Chris Barnes of the United States in the semi-finals, Belmonte went on to defeat England's Paul Moor in the finals where he rolled the event's second-ever 300 game. Belmonte rolled 23 out of a possible 24 strikes to win the event with a 566 score for two games, against Moor's 524.

Belmonte participated in the 2007 World Ranking Masters and after qualifying in second position, was defeated in the quarter finals by eventual runner-up Peter Ljung from Sweden, 2–0 (190–258, 158–279), finishing in sixth place.[4]

During 2011, on the World Bowling Tour, Belmonte defeated good friend and fellow PBA Player Mike Fagan, 300–205, to win the 2011 Thailand Open.[1]

PBA Tour[edit]

2008–09: Rookie of the Year[edit]

In 2009, Belmonte won the Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic PBA Tour event in his PBA TV finals debut. As the second seed, he defeated Bill O'Neill, and went on to defeat number one seed Mike Fagan 215–201 for his first PBA title. The title earned Belmonte "exempt" status for the 2009–10 PBA Tour, and he was also named the 2008–09 PBA Rookie of the Year.[1]

2009–10[edit]

2009–10 marked his first season as an exempt PBA bowler. Belmonte qualified for the TV finals in three events, but did not win a tournament. He came close at the GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship on 28 March 2010. Finishing as the top qualifier, he faced Brian Ziesig in the finals. Ziesig was a non-exempt amateur who had to qualify via the TQR round. The two were tied at the end of the regulation game, 247–247, which sent the championship to a sudden-death, one-ball rolloff. Belmonte's high flush shot on his first attempt left a solid 7-pin standing for a count of 9. Ziesig then threw a strike to dash Belmonte's hopes and take the title.[5]

2010–11[edit]

In the 2010–11 season, Belmonte appeared in 10 of 12 PBA events, making match-play 9 times and appearing on TV 4 times. Without a victory, he had earnings of US$62,950.[1] while averaging 218.82 pins per game. In his first three years on tour, Belmonte cashed in 33 of 37 tournaments, making match-play a total of 25 times, with 8 television appearance; and earnings of US$187,420.[1]

2011–12: Return to victory[edit]

Belmonte won his second, third and fourth PBA titles at the PBA's "World Series of Bowling" in November, 2011, taking the trophies in the Chameleon Open, GEICO Shark Open and the Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship.[6][7] Belmonte also rolled a nationally-televised 300 game in the quarterfinals of the PBA World Championship, broadcast on 8 January 2012 in North America; however, he did not go on to win the tournament.[8] Despite his three titles in the 2011–12 season, Belmonte did not win the PBA Player of the Year honors. The award was won by Sean Rash in an extremely close vote (Rash received 29% of the vote to Belmonte's 26.6%).[9]

With his home crowd watching, Belmonte defeated Sean Rash in a best-of-three final (174–172, 223–255, 256–243) for his fifth PBA title at the 2012 Australian Masters in Sydney, Australia.[10]

2012–13: Player of the Year[edit]

On 24 February 2013, Belmonte won his sixth PBA Tour title and first PBA major at the USBC Masters in North Brunswick, NJ. Belmonte finished with six consecutive strikes in the dramatic final match to top Wes Malott, 258–245.[11] Belmonte won a second title on the 2012–13 season, his seventh overall, at the PBA Lucas Oil Bear Open in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.[12] He was runner-up to Wes Malott in the 2013 Bowling's U.S. Open. It marked Jason's seventh appearance in the TV finals of a major over the last eight major tournaments.[13]

On 17 January 2014, Belmonte was named the Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year for the 2012–13 season. Along with two titles on the season, including a major title and runner-up finishes at three other major championships, Belmonte won the George Young High Average Award (228.81) and the Harry Smith Points Leader Award (238,903). He became only the third PBA player born outside the USA (after Amleto Monacelli and Mika Koivuniemi) to win PBA Player of the Year.[14]

2014: Major success[edit]

Belmonte won the first tournament of the 2014 PBA season, the Barbasol Tournament of Champions in Allen Park, Michigan, which marked his second major tournament win and eighth title overall. As he did in his first major championship win, Belmonte defeated Wes Malott, this time in a 219–218 single game match.[15] Jason continued his dominance on 23 February 2014, when he became the first player to repeat as USBC Masters champion in nearly 50 years, and also the first player in history to win a major as the 5th seed, defeating every rival in the championship stepladder final. (Billy Welu won back-to-back Masters in 1964–65.) This was Belmonte's ninth PBA title and third major.[16] He captured his tenth title winning the Oklahoma Open during the PBA's summer swing.

His three titles (two majors) in the 2014 season made Jason an easy choice to win his second consecutive Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year award. In doing so, he became the first bowler to repeat as Player of the Year since Walter Ray Williams, Jr. won three consecutive awards from 1996 to 1998. Jason led all bowlers in season earnings ($163,788), average (226.71) and competition points (136,454).[17]

2015[edit]

Jason again won the USBC Masters on February 8, 2015, defeating amateur A.J. Johnson, a surprise #1 seed, in the final match, 202-157. In doing so, Belmonte joined Mike Aulby as the only three-time winners of this tournament, while becoming the only player to win the Masters in three consecutive seasons.[18] On 15 February 2015, in Indianapolis, he captured his 12th PBA title by winning the Barbasol Tournament of Champions for the second consecutive season. As in the USBC Masters, Belmonte won from the #2 seed position, knocking off #4 seed Sean Rash in the semifinals, 235-203, before defeating top seed Rhino Page in the final match, 232-214. It was Belmonte's tenth appearance in the TV finals over the last 12 PBA major tournaments, and his fifth win in a major.[19]

Personal[edit]

Belmonte is married to Kimberly and together they have two children, daughter Aria, born in December 2009 and son Hugo, born in April 2012.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Jason Belmonte: player profile". Professional Bowlers Association. 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Hall, Lex (6 February 2009). "Aussie bowler Jason Belmonte is still using techniques he learned when he was a toddler". The Australian. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Belmonte Defeats Rash for 2010 Korea Cup Victory". United States: Professional Bowlers Association. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Williams comes from behind to win men's title at Kegel/USBC World Ranking Masters". Bowling Digital. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Schneider, Jerry (28 March 2010). "Amateur Brian Ziesig Defeats Jason Belmonte to Win PBA GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship". Professional Bowlers Association. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Vint, Bill (4 March 2012). "Barnes Bowls 300 One Game Too Early; Belmonte Wins GEICO Shark Open for Second World Series Title.". Professional Bowlers Association. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Vint, Bill (8 April 2012). "Australia's Belmonte Wins Third 2011-12 Title in Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship". Professional Bowlers Association. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Vint, Bill (15 January 2012). "Finland's Osku Palermaa Becomes First International Player to Win PBA World Championship, First Two-Hander to Win PBA Major Title". Professional Bowlers Association. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Vint, Bill. "Sean Rash Wins Closest PBA Player of the Year Contest in Years; Belmonte Second, Fagan Third." www.pba.com, 28 May 2012. [1]
  10. ^ Vint, Bill. "Belmonte Rallies to Defeat Rash for AMF Australian Masters Title." Article at www.pba.com on 27 October 2012. [2]
  11. ^ Australia's Jason Belmonte Wins First Major, Tops Wes Malott in USBC Masters Title Match, pba.com on 24 Feb. 2013.
  12. ^ Perfect Finish Helps Jason Belmonte Win Lucas Oil PBA Bear Open for Seventh Career Title Vint, Bill at pba.com on 25 June 2013.
  13. ^ Malott, Johnson Capture Lipton Bowling's U.S. Open Titles Jerry Schneider at pba.com on 27 July 2013.
  14. ^ Australia's Jason Belmonte Named 2012–13 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Schneider, Jerry at pba.com on 17 January 2014.
  15. ^ Australia's Jason Belmonte Strikes on Final Shot to Win Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, 219–218 Vint, Bill at pba.com on 26 January 2014.
  16. ^ Jason Belmonte Becomes First Player in Nearly 50 Years to Successfully Defend USBC Masters Title Schneider, Jerry at pba.com on 23 February 2014.
  17. ^ Vint, Bill (January 26, 2015). "Australia’s Jason Belmonte Wins Second Consecutive Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Award". pba.com. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  18. ^ Schneider, Jerry (February 8, 2015). "Belmonte Becomes First to Win Three Consecutive USBC Masters Titles". pba.com. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  19. ^ Vint, Bill (February 15, 2015). "Belmonte Repeats as Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions Winner; Rash Rolls Historic 300 Game". pba.com. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
United States Walter Ray Williams, Jr.
Best Bowler ESPY Award
2011
Succeeded by
United States Sean Rash
Preceded by
United States Sean Rash
PBA Player of the Year
2012–14
Succeeded by