Jason Belmonte Sweeps Key 2017 PBA Tour Statistics Including Record 229.39 Average for 380 Games

by Bill Vint January 9, 2018 09:01

CHICAGO – Australia’s Jason Belmonte put an exclamation mark on another sensational year in Professional Bowlers Association competition by sweeping the PBA Tour’s two most defining statistical categories for 2017 – official earnings and scoring average, which included a record scoring pace.

Belmonte concluded his 2017 season with a victory in the PBA World Championship in Reno, Nev., to become the first player in PBA history to win three major championships in a single season. The finishing touches to his four-title season included a Tour-best $238,912 in total earnings, and a third George Young Memorial High Average Award after posting a record 229.39 average for 380 games bowled.

Belmonte, who previously won George Young High Average Awards for the 2012-13 and 2014 seasons, broke his own scoring record of 228.81 set during the 2012-13 season. He won the average contest by 2.5 pins-per-game over fellow two-handed competitor Jesper Svensson of Sweden, who scored at a 226.88 pace for 308 games in 2017. Svensson was the 2016 George Young Award winner with a 226.07 average.

Belmonte, who also led the PBA in earnings in 2012-13 and 2014, finished that race more than $7,000 ahead of runner-up EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., who took $220,708 to the bank last season.

For complete lists of PBA earnings and average leaders for 2017, as well as other stats and records, visit pba.com (https://www.pba.com/SeasonStats/TotalWinnings/95).

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Belmonte, Zavjalova Win World Bowling Tour Finals

by Jerry Schneider January 7, 2018 13:19

RENO, Nev. -- Top World Bowling Tour Finals qualifiers Jason Belmonte of Australia and Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova capped a 2017 PBA/WBT season with wins in the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals televised Sunday on ESPN from the National Bowling Stadium.

The Finals, which were part of GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX presented by Eldorado Resort Reno Properties and the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season, 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 of Yakima, Wash., failed to convert a 10 pin spare leaving the door open for a Belmonte win in the 10th.

Belmonte.Jason_WS_2017PBAWorldChampionship(5)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,” said Belmonte 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.”

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, Zavjalova beat two-time defending champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., 235-232, to win the women’s final.

Zavjalova.Diana_2017WSOBWBTwomen(24)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 in those frames.

With the match coming down to the 10th, Zavjalova finished with a strike to post her 235. Needing a strike to win, McEwan left a solid 10 pin handing the win to Zavjalova.

“I didn’t feel comfortable in the middle of the game, but that’s going to happen now and then,” said Zavjalova, who was competing in her first WBT final. “I just had to deal with what was in front of me and hope it was good enough to win.

“When Danielle put those three strikes together at the end of the game I thought I had lost the match,” she added. “After I struck in the 10th it was out of my hands at that point—whatever happens, happens. It was just my day today.”

In the semifinal, McEwan defeated international standout Shalin Zulkifli of Malaysia 244-231 to advance to the title match.

WORLD BOWLING TOUR FINALS

Presented by PBA

National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.

(aired Jan. 7 on ESPN)

Women’s Finals

1, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, $12,500.

2, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., $7,500.

3, Shalin Zulkifli, Malaysia, $5,000.

First match: McEwan def. Zulkifli, 244-231; Championship match: Zavjalova def. McEwan, 235-232.

Men’s Finals

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $12,500.

2, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., $7,500.

3, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $5,000.

First match: Marshall def. Svensson, 231-224; Championship match: Belmonte tied Kent, 267-267. Belmonte won one-ball roll-off, 10-8.

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PBA Spare Shots: 2018 PBA League Draft Moves to Saturday, February 17 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis

by Bill Vint January 5, 2018 13:56

The 2018 PBA League draft, originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12, is moving to Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Woodland Bowl. The draft, which will fill vacancies on all eight PBA League teams, will be live streamed on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel.

Here’s a revised summary of how the 2018 PBA League draft will work:

● Each team manager will protect up-to three players from their 2017 roster according to the following deadlines. Protected players for each team will be announced on the following Monday: the Dallas Strikers (manager Norm Duke) and Portland Lumberjacks (Tim Mack) will select their protected players by Sunday; Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mark Baker) and Philadelphia Hitmen (Jason Couch) by Jan. 14; LA X (Andrew Cain) and NYC Kingpins (Carolyn Dorin-Ballard) by Jan. 21 and the Motown Muscle (Del Ballard Jr.) and Brooklyn Styles (Johnny Petraglia) by Jan. 28.

● The final roster spots will be filled during the 2018 PBA League draft on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, site of the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Classic. Xtra Frame will cover the draft live.

● The draft order will be in reverse order of finishing positions in 2017 for both rounds (No. 8 Brooklyn will select first followed by Motown, NYC, L.A., Philadelphia, Silver Lake, Portland and Dallas. There will not be a “serpentine” reverse order this year.

● Players eligible to be drafted will consist of the top 75 PBA players on the PBA Tour/WBT earnings list for 2017 plus 2018 events through the PBA Tournament of Champions, which ends Feb. 11. Note that players from 2017 teams left off the protected list will not be automatically eligible; they must be on the top 75 earnings list to be eligible. The eligibility list will be published on Monday, Feb. 12, and those players must then declare for the draft by Thursday, Feb. 15.

PBA STAR DANNY WISEMAN ELECTED TO USBC HALL OF FAME

Baltimore’s Danny Wiseman, a 12-time PBA Tour champion and 2013 PBA Hall of Fame inductee, has been elected to the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame along with former PWBA star Tennelle Milligan.

Wiseman, 50, won his only major title in the 2004 USBC Masters which was contested on specially-constructed lanes in the infield of Miller Park in Milwaukee. It was the first championship bowling event ever held in a major league baseball stadium. He will be inducted during ceremonies as part of the USBC Annual Meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev., on April 25.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: REGIONAL PROGRAM RETURNS JAN. 19-21

PBA’s Regional tournament program is taking a break over the holidays, returning to action in the PBA Central Region over the Jan. 19-21 weekend with the PBA/PBA50 Don Vay Memorial Central Classic at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

● The PBA South Region returns to action in February with the PBA and PBA50 Break Point Alley Challenge events, both open to players who have not won a PBA title. Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla., will host the doubleheader over the Feb. 9-11 weekend.

● The PBA South Region’s second weekend of competition includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., over the Feb. 16-18 weekend.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple device users using the new PBA app).

QUICK NOTES

Three-time PBA Regional champion Missy Parkin and husband Drew are the elated parents of their first child, Drew Steven Parkin Jr., who arrived on Dec. 30 at 6:41 a.m., weighing in at 8 lbs., 6 oz., and measuring 19 inches long.

● Former PBA member Jack Horner of Belpre, Ohio, died Dec. 30 at the age of 87. Horner, who was a PBA member from 1972 to 2001, owned one PBA regional title. He competed on the PBA50 Tour for several years compiling 11 match play appearances and 37 cashes in 129 tournaments. He was a member of the Parkersburg and West Virginia Bowling Halls of Fame.

● Neil Gahl of Wilton, N.Y., is the winner of a new high-performance ball from DV8; Allen Pankow of Lonsdale, Minn., will receive a new high-performance ball from MOTIV, and Kelly Lake of East Palatka, Fla., wins a new Brunswick ball as December sweepstakes winners for subscribing to Xtra Frame. The monthly sweepstakes is sponsored by the respective PBA Product Registered partners. Monthly winners are selected from among new Xtra Frame subscribers, who are automatically entered when they enroll as a monthly or Xtra Frame Season Ticket (full year) subscriber.

Brian Knauer is the December winner of a $200 HotelPlanner.com certificate, redeemable for future lodging expenses, compliments of PBA’s official travel partner. The monthly sweepstakes is open to anyone who books a hotel through the HotelPlanner.com link on pba.com. Those who book through HotelPlanner.com are automatically entered.

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Sunday On ESPN: GEICO WSOB IX Concludes with World Bowling Tour Finals at 1 p.m. ET

by Jerry Schneider January 3, 2018 07:38

RENO, Nev.  – ESPN’s coverage of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties concludes with the seventh World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA Sunday at 1 p.m. EST from the National Bowling Stadium.

After competing in selected PBA-WBT international events in 2017, the top three points earners in men’s and women’s divisions earned berths in separate stepladder finals which are part of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA ESPN schedule.

Competing in the women’s semifinal match will be No. 3 qualifier Shalin Zulkifli, an international star from Malaysia, against two-time defending WBT Finals champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., the No. 2 qualifier. The winner will take on top qualifier Diana Zavjalova of Latvia for the championship and a $12,000 first prize.

In the men’s semifinal, No. 3 qualifier Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., will try to improve upon his third-place finish in 2017, meeting PBA World Championship runner-up Jesper Svensson of Sweden, in the semifinal match with the winner taking on top qualifier and PBA World Championship winner Jason Belmonte of Australia. The men’s winner will also receive $12,000.

Belmonte, the No. 1 ranked bowler in the world, will be trying for his first World Bowling Tour Finals victory after winning the PBA World Championship – his record third major title of the 2017 season – earlier in WSOB IX.

The WBT Finals will once again feature World Bowling’s  “Current Frame” scoring system, where players earn 30 pins a frame for each strike, 10 pins plus the total from their first shot of that frame for a spare, or actual total pinfall for the frame for an open frame. The alternative scoring format consists of 10 frames, the same as in a traditional game, but there are no additional shots in the 10th frame if a player strikes or spares. The maximum score is still 300 if a player strikes in all 10 frames.

The World Bowling Tour Finals was established in 2011 when the PBA and World Bowling joined forces to conduct several PBA/WBT international events during the season. The Finals, which does not count for an official PBA title, was created to showcase the top men and women performers who competed in professional events around the globe. 

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Australia’s Jason Belmonte Wins Historic PBA World Championship for Ninth Major Title, Third in 2017

by Bill Vint December 31, 2017 11:54

RENO, Nev. – Australia’s Jason Belmonte re-wrote the Professional Bowlers Association record book again, winning his ninth career major championship with a thrilling 238-225 victory over top qualifier Jesper Svensson of Sweden in the PBA World Championship at the National Bowling Stadium. With the win, Belmonte became the first player in PBA’s 60-year history to win three major championships in a single season.

The PBA World Championship, the final tournament of the 2017 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season, aired Sunday on ESPN as part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties. Belmonte’s 16th career PBA Tour title was worth $60,000, and it moved him into sole possession of third place on PBA’s list of all-time major titlists behind PBA legends Earl Anthony and Pete Weber who both won 10 majors.

In addition to his historic victory, Belmonte was part of the first nationally-televised PBA Tour event that included two sudden-death roll-offs, one of which gave the two-handed Australian star his shot at the title.

“That’s going to go down as one of the most exciting shows in a long time,” said Belmonte, who added the PBA World Championship to his collection of major titles that includes two PBA Tournament of Champions, two PBA Players Championship and an unprecedented four United States Bowling Congress Masters titles. At age 34, he is a U.S. Open title away from the PBA Triple Crown (U.S. Open, TOC and PBA World Championship, Grand Slam (Triple Crown plus Masters) and the “Super Slam” (Grand Slam plus Players Championship).

Since winning his first major in the 2011 PBA Players Championship at age 27, Belmonte has won his nine titles over a span of seven seasons. It took Anthony 11 seasons to win his first nine majors; it took Weber 26 seasons to accomplish the same feat. Both won their 10th majors in the next season.

“It feels bloody amazing,” Belmonte said. “I wasn’t aware of being the first to win three majors in a year until Kimberly Presser mentioned it after the show. It’s been a really, really great year. I don’t know what else to say.

“I’m honored to be one win away from arguably the two best bowlers who ever lived on the all-time majors list,” he added. “I don’t know how I’ll feel if I get to 10 majors, but I’ll tell you that no. 9 is a pretty good feeling.”

SandersThe opening match of the World Championship set the stage for the rest of the day when 2017 PBA Rookie of the Year contender Matt Sanders (photo at left) of Evansville, Ind., and two-time PBA Tour winner Kyle Troup (at left, middle photo) of Taylorsville, N.C., finished in a 248-248 tie. After missing a 10 pin spare attempt on his final shot, Troup struck on his first shot in the one-ball sudden-death roll-off and moved on when Sanders left a 7 pin on his roll-off shot.

In the second match, Ryan Ciminelli (at left, bottom photo) of Cheektowaga, N.Y., survived a 193-180 battle with Troup, who missed a pair of three-pin spare Troupconversion attempts.

In the semifinal match, Ciminelli appeared to have Belmonte on the ropes after striking on seven of his first eight shots while Belmonte began with four spares. But Belmonte got lined up and threw the final eight strikes, forcing the finals’ second sudden-death roll-off when Ciminelli left the 2-4 on his fill ball for a 257-257 tie. In the roll-off, Belmonte went first and left a 7 pin. Needing a strike to win, Ciminelli left the 2-5-6 on his first shot.

“I was fortunate Ryan didn’t bowl one pin higher than me,” Belmonte admitted. “If you watch Ryan enough, you know he’s one of the best players out here in the clutch.”

In thCiminellie championship match, Belmonte started with three strikes, converted a 10 pin spare and then got a fortunate strike in the fifth frame when a finger grip came out of his ball.

“I thought I was in real trouble when the grip came out and I still struck,” he said. “But then I was wondering if the glue (on the new grip) would set, or if I’d start thinking about it coming out again.

“I also know that just when you think Jesper’s having a bad game, he’ll strike out on you.”

It appeared that was exactly what was about to happen. After leaving the 4-6-10 in the first frame for an open, Svensson threw the next five strikes to take the lead. Svensson was nursing a nine-pin lead after six frames when the changing lane conditions impacted both players.

“The traffic of urethane balls Jesper (photo below) and Kyle were using laid down an oil track that made reading the progression difficult,” Belmonte said. “You can usually see early tell-tale signs, but not this time. It got to the point I didn’t know what to do.”

SvenssonFour consecutive single-pin spares, including a 7 pin on Svensson’s first shot in the 10th frame, gave Belmonte an opening.

“In the last frame, needing two strikes to win after not striking on that lane the three previous attempts, I made two of the best shots I’ve ever thrown in my life,” Belmonte said. “It was a good guess and even better execution.

“After Jesper left that 7 pin, I knew all I had to do was throw one more great shot,” Belmonte said. “I never think I’ve won until I look up and see, mathematically, I’ve won.”

Working on a strike in the ninth frame, Belmonte struck on his first shot in the 10th and needing only a high count on his second to lock up the title, Belmonte struck again and then he looked up at the scoreboard, confirming he had won.

With his fourth title of the 2017 season – including three majors – Belmonte became the odds-on favorite to win his fourth GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year title in the past five years. Voting will take place early in January.

The PBA Tour will return to action Jan. 23-27 when a field of 15 PBA Tour stars, led by Belmonte and defending champion EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., head to Tokyo to compete in the 2018 DHC PBA Japan Invitational.

ESPN’s coverage of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX concludes next Sunday with the World Bowling Tour Women’s and Men’s Finals presented by the PBA at 1 p.m. EST. Competing in the women’s finals will be Malaysia’s Shalin Zulkifli, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and top qualifier Diana Zavjalova of Latvia. Men’s finalists will be Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.; Svensson and Belmonte.

PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

National Bowling Stadium, Reno (aired on ESPN on Dec. 31)

Final Standings: 1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $60,000. 2, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $30,000. 3, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., $25,000. 4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., $20,000. 5, Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind., $15,000.

Stepladder Results: Match One – Troup def. Sanders, 248-248, 10-7 in one-ball roll-off. Match Two – Ciminelli def. Troup, 193-180. Semifinal – Belmonte def. Ciminelli, 257-257, 9-7 in one-ball roll-off. Championship – Belmonte def. Svensson, 238-225.

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