‘A brand new start’: Belmonte breaks-through for seventh major

SEVENTH HEAVEN: Orange's two-handed tenpin bowling champion Jason Belmonte claimed his seventh major Professional Bowlers Association crown on Monday morning. Photo: PBA.COM

SEVENTH HEAVEN: Orange's two-handed tenpin bowling champion Jason Belmonte claimed his seventh major Professional Bowlers Association crown on Monday morning. Photo: PBA.COM

A two-year Professional Bowlers Association drought was broken in style on Monday morning Australian Eastern Time when Jason Belmonte secured victory in the Barbosal PBA Players’ Championship.

His seventh major crown, Belmonte captured victory over fellow two-handed bowler, Texas’ Anthony Simonsen in a 221-204 result in the final.

It’s Belmonte’s second players’ championship crown and 13th overall tournament win on tour, but none tasted sweeter than this victory on Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl lanes.

“It feels fantastic,” Belmonte, 33, told PBA.COM, his first major coming in the 2011 players’ championship.

WINNER: Jason Belmonte with the coveted Players' Championship trophy. Photo: PBA.COM

WINNER: Jason Belmonte with the coveted Players' Championship trophy. Photo: PBA.COM

“Two years is a long time to wait (for a win), especially considering all the times I had made TV.

“I’ve always believed in myself but I’ll admit there’s a lot of weight off of my shoulders now after all that time because believe me, people will remind you.”

The three-time PBA Player of the Year, the top seeded Belmonte broke a dry spell that started after he won his record third straight USBC Masters and his second consecutive PBA Tournament of Champions back-to-back in February of 2015.

I’ve always believed in myself but I’ll admit there’s a lot of weight off of my shoulders now after all that time because believe me, people will remind you. - Jason Belmonte following his drought-breaking major win

Going into the players championship he had a string of 16 tournaments in which he made the top five but failed to win. He finished second in five of those events.

“It’s a brand new start,” Belmonte said of the new season. 

“I was successful staying focused the whole tournament from start to finish. I’ve learned that if you look ahead or behind you’re not staying in the moment.”

In the title match, Belmonte held a commanding 37-pin lead in the fifth frame that was too much for Simonsen to overcome.

The 20-year-old Simonsen, who qualified second for the finals, was trying to become the youngest player to win two PBA Tour majors. He won the 2016 USBC Masters at 19 to become the youngest to win a PBA major.

“I didn’t make my best shots in that match,” said Simonsen. “There were probably a couple of shots where I should have reset myself. I’ll just use it as a learning experience.”

BARBASOL PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Sunday

Final Standings

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $40,000.

2, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, $20,000.

3, Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, $12,000.

4, Martin Larsen, Sweden, $11,000.

5, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., $10,000.

Stepladder Results

Match One – Pickford def. Chapman, 243-154.

Match Two – Pickford def. Larsen, 266-182.

Semifinal Match – Simonsen def. Pickford, 204-191.

Championship Match – Belmonte def. Simonsen, 221-204

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