Can he do it?
After earning top qualifier honors for the Barbasol PBA Players Championship finals, three-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte will need to win only one match to capture his seventh major title and first Tour win in two years.
After the fifth round, the Orange two-hander finished with a 9,249 40-game pinfall total (231.2 average) to clinch the top berth for Sunday’s Players Championship finals at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
After nearly three years of dominance, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, when he won his Player of the Year crowns, Belmonte’s dry spell started after he won the USBC Masters and Tournament of Champions back-to-back in February of 2015.
Since then he has finished in the top five in 16 PBA Tour tournaments without a win finishing second in five of those events.
“I feel as good as I’ve ever felt bowling in a tournament,” said the 12-time Tour titlist.
“I just need to focus on what I need to do and eliminate the distractions.
“I’ve always had 100 percent belief in myself so whatever happens in the championship match I’ll walk away with my head held high.
“After last year the weight is off my shoulders,” Belmonte added.
“I didn’t get the wins last year but I was bowling well.
“It’s a new season and now I just need to focus on what I need to do in each tournament and let the season unfold.”
In addition to winning the 2011 Players Championship for his first major, Belmonte won a record three consecutive USBC Masters (2013, 2014 and 2015) and won back-to-back PBA Tournament of Champions titles in 2014 and 2015.
The finals begin Monday, Australian Eastern Time.