SHOUTS of Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi almost lifted the roof at AMF Rooty Hill RSL bowling centre on Saturday afternoon as local hero Jason Belmonte stormed home to clinch the AMF Australian Masters title, a first for the Orange ace.
Billed as a battle of the titans against American Sean Rash, the best-of-three final started in an unusually low-scoring fashion as Belmonte took the initial lead 174-172, but Rash bounced back with six strikes in the second game and equalled the scorecard with a 255-223 win.
In the decider, Rash again came out of the blocks with a six-bagger but was unable to maintain the momentum, and in a sensationally close contest that came down to the final frames, Belmonte bowler struck out to a heart-stopping 256-243 victory.’
It’s another massive feather in the cap of Orange’s World Cup winning tenpin extraordinaire.
“This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world - $25,000 pays more than many PBA titles and is testament to Cara (Honeychurch) and her (TBA) team, and AMF Australia,” Belmonte said at the trophy presentation.
“I couldn’t have done this without Aussie support. I’ve bowled here plenty of times but never in such a great tournament as this, and it’s one of my proudest moments.”
Earlier, an all-American final saw Chicago’s Diandra Asbaty, Belmonte's business partner, take the women’s title in two matches, 204-200, 221-192, from Californian Missy Parkin who leads the 2012 WTBA World Bowling Tour rankings.
The win was emotionally-charged for Asbaty, dedicating the victory to her grandmother Betty, who passed away only recently.
“I was choking back my tears because this was the first time I couldn’t call her after the match,” Asbaty said.
“She put a bowling ball in my hands for the first time and is the reason why I bowl. Grandma was my biggest fan and my inspiration.”
The thrilling final matches were live-streamed to a worldwide audience.