IF anyone thought Jason Belmonte planned to take it easy after winning the Bowling World Cup, they were wrong.
Belmonte returned to Orange on Saturday night after becoming the first Australian to win the men’s Bowling World Cup title last week in South Africa.
The 28-year-old downed American Tommy Jones 2-1 in a best-of-three-games final on Thursday morning (AEDT).
It capped off a fantastic few months for Belmonte after he had won three Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) titles in November.
“I just feel happy to end the year on a really good note like that,” Belmonte told the Central Western Daily yesterday.
“Losing the World Cup would have brought the last few months just down a little bit because I really wanted to win it.”
By winning three PBA titles in November (the Chameleon Open, the Geico Shark Open and the Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship) and making six finals, Belmonte has made himself a serious contender to take out the 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year.
Winning the Player of the Year title, an award voted for by the PBA players, would give Belmonte one of his two goals.
His second aim is to win the PBA’s Tournament of Champions to be held in April.
“The Tournament of Champions if our biggest prize purse,” Belmonte said.
“It’s a $US1million tournament.
“So I want to be able to win that and win the Player of the Year because being the Player of the Year means you’re basically the best player in the world.
“That’s something that I really want.”
If Belmonte took out the Player of the Year he would become the third international bowler, after Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi and Venezuela’s Amleto Monacelli, to win the award, an achievement the Orange product described as “ridiculously cool”.
The Tournament of Champions will be held in April and by winning the Elite Players Championship last month, Belmonte earned a place in the top 36.
However, the two-handed bowler may have to wait until the following season to chase the TOC title as his wife, Kimberly, is due to have their second child on the day the tournament starts.
“We’re hoping for it to come a week early,” Kimberly said of the birth.
If the two dates clash, Belmonte said it was an easy decision to make.
“Ultimately, bub comes first,” Belmonte smiled.
For now, he plans to have a rest before preparing for the second half of the PBA season, which will start with the Cheetah Open on January 20.
“I don’t want to necessarily throw a ball for a week or so,” Belmonte said.
“I want to catch up with all my friends and family and enjoy the moment. Then I’m sure I’ll go to the bowl next week and bowl league and see everyone there. I don’t think I’ll hit the practice too hard yet.”