Thanks in part to an eighth-game collapse by 10-time champion Wes Malott, who led the PBA Indianapolis Open at Woodland Bowl as the second round of match play neared its conclusion today, Jason Belmonte once again leads the field in a PBA Tour event. It is the 14th time he has done so in the last 16 rounds of competition on the PBA Tour.
While Malott began his final match today with four consecutive open frames against Shawn Maldonado to eventually shoot 140, Belmonte blasted 300 against Marshall Kent to reclaim the lead he temporarily had lost to the towering Texan known by the moniker “Big Nasty.” Belmonte (+1251) thus far has gone 9-7 through 16 games of match play, posting second-round scores of 215, 268, 215, 183, 226, 212 and 166 before throwing that round-ending perfecto.
Prior to the grind he endured in his final game, Malott (+1065) otherwise enjoyed a successful round on scores of 257, 210, 235, 247, 227, 204 and 279 before shooting 140 in his final match. He has posted a 10-6 record through the first two rounds of match play and now sits in second place, having lost only two of his eight matches today.
Rounding out the top five are 54-year-old Norm Duke (+1012), who is looking to make his first PBA Tour telecast since finishing fifth in the 2017 U.S. Open, Rhino Page (+995) in fourth and Jakob Butturff (+947) in fifth. Butturff essentially is bowling the PBA Indianapolis Open this week as “defending champion,” having won his third PBA Tour title at Woodland Bowl last year when this event was called the 60th Anniversary Classic.
A tightly packed cluster of players remain within 60 pins of the TV show heading into tonight’s final round of match play, as Tom Daugherty (+941) is six pins off the show, Osku Palermaa is eight pins outside the number, and Kent (+932) is 15 pins behind in eighth. BJ Moore, who led the event after the second round of qualifying, is 20 pins behind Butturff at +927; Josh Blanchard is 50 pins out at +897, and Shawn Maldonado, who shot 279 at Malott while the Texan bowled 140 in today's final match, is in 11th place and 58 pins outside the show.
Get the full standings here: https://www.pba.com/PBALiveScoring?TournamentID=2763
Tonight’s final round of match play gets underway at 6 p.m. ET and will determine the five finalists advancing to Sunday’s telecast, which airs live on FS1 at 3 p.m. ET.