Jason Belmonte's PBA quest continues in New York in bid for first US crown

HERE WE GO: Jason Belmonte at the PBA's Japan Invitational. The Orange gun will be looking to add a US Open to his resume this weekend. Photo: PBA.COM
HERE WE GO: Jason Belmonte at the PBA's Japan Invitational. The Orange gun will be looking to add a US Open to his resume this weekend. Photo: PBA.COM

For a man that’s seemingly done it all on the Professional Bowlers Association tour, Orange’s Jason Belmonte is hoping to achieve a personal first this weekend.

Belmonte is gunning for a first US Open crown, a notoriously difficult-to-win tournament and one of the few crowns the two-handed star is yet to claim on tour.

And this year getting his hands on that elusive prize will be a little more difficult when the competition proper starts on Saturday at the Flamingo Bowl, New York.

There’s a change to the practice format this year at the US Open, meaning competitors will have warm-up lanes and then bowl for score.

“I think it’s going to be a huge factor in the scoring pace,” Belmonte said.

“Those first five or six minutes of practice can totally change the first game’s score.

“Not getting that is going to probably decrease the scoring pace game one. I’m excited.”

Belmonte and fellow PBA gun EJ Tackett are both vying for the coveted PBA player of the year award.

Another major win, what would be his third this season, would almost certainly win the Orange star the best player prize.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Francois Lavoie rolled a historic 300 on his way to victory at the 2016 US Open and the 24-year-old right-hander is ready for his title defense.

The US Open will make its eighth trip to New York, the stepladder finals wrap up on November 1, with the eventual champion to earn a $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket. 

The US Open is the fourth of five major championships on the 2017 PBA tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the US Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America.

On the way to the title in 2016, Lavoie made history as the first player to roll a perfect game during the event’s TV finals.

The momentum carried into the championship match, Lavoie winning his first career PBA Tour title. 

Lavoie’s win at Las Vegas helped him become just the second foreign-born player to claim the title, joining Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi, who won the open in 2001. 

“I had expectations for myself when I first went out on Tour, and one of my goals was to win a PBA title,” Lavoie said. “But, I certainly didn’t expect it to happen that fast, and it was a very special moment for sure.”