ALLEN PARK, Mich. (June 5, 2018) – Four-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia won his PBA Tour Finals Group 1 stepladder semifinal round at Thunderbowl Lanes to earn the first berth in the title match. The Group 1 Semifinal Round aired Tuesday on CBS Sports Network.
In a battle of two of the premier two-handed stars on the Go Bowling! PBA Tour, Belmonte, the reigning player of the year, defeated three-time PBA Tour titlist Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, 2-0, in the best of two-game final match to advance to the title match which will air on CBS Sports Network Tuesday, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET. Belmonte will face the winner of the Group 2 Semifinal Round, which airs next Tuesday (June 12) at 8 p.m.
Starting with nine strikes in the first game of the final match on the 45-foot Dick Weber lane condition, Belmonte barely won a strike-fest with Simonsen, 265-259. In the second game, Belmonte overcame a 35-pin deficit in the fifth frame after failing to convert the 3-6-10 but then capitalized on an open frame by Simonsen in the sixth and then picked up the 3-4-7-10 split in the sixth frame before reeling off five consecutive strikes.
Belmonte was still trailing by 10 pins heading into the ninth frame when Simonsen fell victim to the same unusual 3-4-7-10 split in the 10th, which he did not convert, ending his hopes. Belmonte doubled in the 10th frame to win the second game, 239-216, for a two-game sweep.
“The start of the match was good, but all of a sudden there was an abrupt change and I couldn’t find the (lane condition) blend with the ball I was using,” Belmonte said about his second game mid-match troubles. “I switched to a ball with more surface and was able to start striking again.”
Had Belmonte and Simonsen tied after the second match they would have entered a 9th and 10th frame roll-off to break the tie.
“You never allow yourself to think you’re out of the match,” Belmonte added. “Even though I was assured of a roll-off after winning the first game, I was thinking as long I can still string strikes to win, I’m still in it. The pressure was actually off so if I could start throwing strikes, there was an opportunity to force him to throw another strike somewhere to stay ahead of me.”
Sean Rash started the Group 1 Semifinals stepladder with a 279-169 win over England’s Dom Barrett. Simonsen then eliminated Rash, 247-218, to move on to the title match.
Belmonte, who was runner-up in the 2017 PBA Tour Finals will take on the winner of the Group 2 Semifinal which will involve Tommy Jones, Marshall Kent, Jesper Svensson and EJ Tackett, the group’s top qualifier and the defending PBA Tour Finals champion.
As the runner-up in Group 1, Simonsen will bowl in the third-place match vs. the Group 2 runner-up in the opening match of the final show on June 19.
The semifinal stepladder rounds, as well as the championship round, feature the best-of-two-game championship final match with ties broken by a 9th and 10th frame roll-off. The two group winners will then meet in the best-of-two-game championship match which will air June 19.
PBA TOUR FINALS GROUP 1 SEMIFINAL ROUND RESULTS
(Winner advances to championship match to air on CBSSN June 19 at 8 p.m ET)
Match One – Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill. def. Dom Barrett, England, 279-169.
Match Two – Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas def. Rash, 247-218.
Best-of-two-game Championship Match - Jason Belmonte, Australia def. Simonsen, 265-259 and 239-216.
CBS Sports Network PBA Tour Finals Remaining Schedule
Thunderbowl, Allen Park, Mich. (all times Eastern)
June 12 – 8 p.m. - PBA Tour Finals Group 2 Semifinal Stepladder
June 19 – 8 p.m. - PBA Tour Finals Championship