Belmonte thrills in WTB finals triumph to cap memorable calendar year

GREAT WAY TO FINISH THE YEAR: Professional Bowlers Association star Jason Belmonte had a 2017 to remember, capping the calendar year with a win in the WTB finals. Photo: PBA.COM
GREAT WAY TO FINISH THE YEAR: Professional Bowlers Association star Jason Belmonte had a 2017 to remember, capping the calendar year with a win in the WTB finals. Photo: PBA.COM

Tenpin bowling guru Jason Belmonte has capped his 2017 with a win in the World Bowling Tour (WBT) men’s tour finals.

The finals, which were part of GEICO Professional Bowlers Association World Series of Bowling IX used the experimental Current Frame WBT scoring system which awards 30 points for a strike, 10 plus pinfall on first ball of the frame for a spare and the total pinfall for the frame for an open.

There are no bonus or “fill” shots in the 10th frame and the maximum score is still 300.

The World Bowling Tour finals featured the top three players in WBT points in men’s and women’s divisions during the 2017 season with each division competing in a separate stepladder final.

Heading into the ninth frame of the drama-filled men’s championship match with a 10-pin lead, No. 3 qualifier and last year’s third-place finisher Marshall Kent failed to convert a 10 pin spare leaving the door open for a Belmonte win in the 10th.

In the 10th Belmonte closed with a 267 game forcing Kent to strike to tie the match.

Kent came through with a pressure-filled solid pocket hit to also close with 267 forcing a sudden-death roll-off. Belmonte won the roll-off with a strike in the first frame to Kent’s eight-count after he left the 2-8.

“Yeah, I was worried,” Belmonte said, referring to Kent’s fast start with the first five strikes in a row.

“Fortunately, after the spare in the first frame I was able to put five strikes together to get back in the match and then it was like anything could happen at that point.”

For Belmonte, it was his second consecutive WSOB IX win after his recent milestone PBA World Championship win on ESPN for a record third major win of the season and ninth of his career.

“It’s a unique feeling the pressure you feel to get a strike when it comes down to one shot after you’ve travelled the world to get to this point,” Belmonte added.

“The pressure you feel to get a strike was like the inside of your body wanting to be on the outside.”

The pressure you feel to get a strike was like the inside of your body wanting to be on the outside.

Jason Belmonte

In the semi-final match, Kent advanced to the championship match with a 231-224 win over No. 2 qualifier Jesper Svensson of Sweden, who finished second to Belmonte in the World Championship.

In another tightly contested title match, women’s champion Diana Zavjalova beat two-time defending champion Danielle McEwan 235-232 to win the women’s final.

With the match even in the fifth frame, McEwan opened in the sixth after missing a 1-2-4-10 washout giving Zavjalova a 25-pin lead. 

However, McEwan was able to come back and overtake Zavjalova with an eight-pin lead after striking in the seventh, eighth and ninth frames while Zavjalova could only manage spares.

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