ORANGE's Jason Belmonte, officially the best best bowler in the world, will look to continue his golden run in 2013-14 when he takes on a field of 468 of the world’s best bowlers at the United States Bowling Congress Masters this week.
As reigning champion, Belmonte heads into the event, held at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, New Jersey, an undeniable favourite.
Last year’s title also guarantees Belmonte passage to the 64-player double elimination match play bracket. He will bowl in qualifying stages to ensure he earns the highest seed he possibly can.
Traditionally defending the Masters is extremely difficult, with just two bowlers winning in consecutive years - Billy Welu in 1964 and 1965 and Dick Hoover, who was the first to defend his title in 1956 and 1957.
“It’s so difficult to win any event back-to-back,” Belmonte said.
“With a three-game, knockout format, you can come up against the wrong guy at the wrong time and be knocked out.
“Last year, I focused purely on my own game, and this year I’ll be doing the same thing.”
All players bowl 15 games of qualifying to determine the match-play field.
The top 63 other players will join Belmonte in the knockout stage, before the top five players advance to the stepladder finals and compete in the two-hour championship round.
The Masters features a first-place prize of $50,000 and a total purse of $315,000. It is a major event on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and is part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour.