Belmonte Successfully Defends Masters Title

by Bob Johnson 0

Jason Belmonte became the first bowler in nearly 50 years to successfully defend a USBC Masters title on Sunday as he defeated E.J. Tackett, 221-177, in the championship match.

Belmonte, the reigning PBA Player of the Year, opened up a big lead early and coasted to the title at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J.

With the victory, Belmonte, who earned $50,000 for the win, is just the third player to successfully defend a Masters title, joining Billy Welu (1964 and 1965) and Dick Hoover (1956 and 1957).

“This tournament is so difficult to win,” said Belmonte, who won his ninth career PBA title and third major. “I always have high expectations for myself, but to go down in history as the third one and first in 50 years to win back-to-back is a huge honor.”

BJI will have full Masters coverage in the April issue.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.