Nine days after winning his first Professional Bowlers Association Tour title in Germany, Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz., made it back-to-back titles, winning the PBA’s Xtra Frame Maine Shootout at Bayside Bowl Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Australia’s Jason Belmonte in the best-of-three-game title match.
The Maine Shootout, the first PBA Tour event held in Maine, was a best-of-three-game, single-elimination match play tournament that was covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.
Blanchard, fresh off his first career win in the Brunswick Euro Challenge, won five consecutive best-of-three-game matches, including a stunning Round of 64 decision over Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, on his way to the title. In his first match, Malott won the first game, 270-202, but the 2011-12 PBA Rookie of the Year then rallied for consecutive 258-256 victories to begin his march to the title. He then eliminated Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 2-0; Jason Sterner of Covington, Ga., 2-0; Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore., 2-0, and Osku Palermaa of Finland, 2-0, to reach the title match against the two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year where he won the first game, 243-180, lost the second, 204-234, and started with six strikes en route to a 249-211 in the deciding game.
“I just decided to stop trying to hook the ball,” Blanchard said of his career-changing strategy. “I decided I just don’t have the ball rotation to hook the ball with these guys, so I went back to playing it straight, and I think I’ll keep doing it for awhile.”
For his victory, Blanchard earned $10,000 and he denied Belmonte a third 2015 title.
The PBA Tour will resume competition May 9-17 in Shawnee, Okla., with Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Hotel and Resort PBA Summer Swing at Firelake Bowling Center and the Grand Casino Event Center. The Wolf, Bear, Badger and Oklahoma Open titles will be decided, along with a King of the Swing special event. Preliminary rounds will be covered line on Xtra Frame and the finals of all five events will air on CBS Sports Network on dates to be announced.
PBA XTRA FRAME MAINE SHOOTOUT
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 31
Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz. ($10,000) def. Jason Belmonte, Australia ($6,000), 2-1 (243-180, 204-234, 249-211).
Semifinal Round (best of three games, losers earned $4,000)
Blanchard def. Osku Palermaa, Finland, 2-0 (255-247, 245-204).
Belmonte def. Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 2-1 (191-214, 226-198, 220-168).
Round of 8 (best of three games, losers earned $2,500)
Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., def. Dan MacLelland, Canada, 2-0 (214-209, 234-219).
Osku Palermaa, Finland, def. Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 2-1 (226-235, 242-225, 200-138).
Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., def. Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 2-0 (257-201, 257-192).
Jason Belmonte, Australia, def. Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2-0 (214-193, 257-201).
Round of 16 (best of three games, losers earned $1,500)
Smallwood def. Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 2-0 (279-247, 207-191).
MacLelland def. Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 2-1 (237-258, 258-247, 195-177).
Palermaa def. Scott Moore, Lewiston, Maine, 2-0 (226-224, 212-191).
Wodka def. Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 2-0 (259-222, 235-231).
Blanchard def. Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 2-0 (211-183, 217-183).
Smith def. E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 2-0 (221-181, 232-208).
Belmonte def. Eric Malone, Brewster, N.Y., 2-0 (191-171, 237-211).
Daugherty def. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2-0 (245-190, 249-218).