INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 22, 2019) – Australia’s Jason Belmonte rolled a perfect game to close the fifth round of the Go Bowling! PBA Indianapolis Open Friday at Woodland Bowl to take the lead and he continued his torrid pace in the final round to earn top qualifier honors for a record-tying third consecutive tournament.
As the no. 1 qualifier, Belmonte will head the five-player stepladder finals field that will air live on FS1 Sunday at 3 p.m. EST. A win Sunday will give Belmonte his second title of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season and the 20th of his career.
Belmonte, a 35-year-old two-handed player, posted a 16-8 match play record while averaging 229.69 for 42 games to finish with 10,127 pins, 386 pins ahead of PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla.
Belmonte became the fifth player in the PBA’s 61-year history to lead qualifying in three consecutive tournaments. He joins Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz., who accomplished the feat in the 2019 season’s first three tournaments; Earl Anthony, who did it in 1976; Johnny Petraglia in 1971, and Walter Ray Williams Jr. in 1993. Petraglia is the only one in the group who won all three tournaments he led.
Belmonte, who won the PBA Tournament of Champions two weeks ago, also led qualifying in the PBA Players Championship last week but lost in the title match to fellow two-hander Anthony Simonsen when he left a pocket 7-10 split in the 10th frame. Regardless of that loss, the Australian star has taken a big lead in the new PBA Playoffs points race and has established himself as an early favorite to win a fifth PBA Player of the Year award.
“We’re in the beginning stages of the season,” Belmonte said of the Player of the Year idea. “There are a lot of majors coming up. It’s way too early. I’m not taking anything for granted.”
But tying the record as top qualifier for a third consecutive tournament was another matter.
“Someone told me about that tonight.,” he said. “That’s pretty cool. It’s fun to lead but it’s a lot more fun to win the tournaments. It’s now a matter of bowling the best game I can on Sunday.”
Reinforcing his lead in the PBA Playoffs points race also is a big deal.
“The Playoffs is a huge event for us,” he said. “I’m going to miss a few events, so it’s important for me to do as well as I can when I have the opportunity. That’s my job; that’s why I fly around the world, to do the best I can and capitalize on the moment. Now it’s one more match. Ten little pins, knock them over 12 times and walk away happy.”
Duke, who ranks third on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with 38 – behind only Williams’ 47 and Anthony’s 43, posted a 14-9-1 match play record and a 9,741 pinfall total. He is trying for his first title since winning the 2015 Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship with partner Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas. Rounding out Sunday’s stepladder finals field will be Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla., with 9,695 pins; Malott with a 9,672 total, and Rhino Page of Orlando, Fla., with a 9,649 total.
All rounds of the Indianapolis Open, a Tier 2 event in the 2019 PBA Playoffs points competition, are being contested on a mixed lane conditioning environment where the Dick Weber 45 oiling pattern is applied to the left lane and the Mike Aulby 38 oiling pattern is applied to the right lane. The numerical designation refers to the length in feet oil is applied to each lane.
GO BOWLING! PBA INDIANAPOLIS OPEN
Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis, Friday
Final Match Play Standings (after 42 games, including match play records; top five after 42 games advance to Sunday’s live FS1 finals at 3 p.m. EST):
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 16-8, 10,127.
2, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 14-9-1, 9,741.
3, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 14-10, 9,695.
4, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 15-9, 9,672.
5, Rhino Page, Orlando, 13-11, 9,649.
6, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 13-11, 9,551, $6,000.
7, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 12-11-1, 9,546, $5,500.
8, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 13-11, 9,535, $5,000.
9 (tie), Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 11-11-2, and Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 11-13, 9,527, $4,250.
11, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 15-8-1, 9,526, $3,800.
12, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 8-16, 9,490, $3,600.
13, Patrick Girard, Canada, 11-11-2, 9,488, $3,500.
14, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 12-12, 9,422, $3,300.
15, Richie Teece, England, 10-14, 9,411, $3,100.
16, Matt Kuba, Chicago Ridge, Ill., 12-12, 9,394, $3,000.
17, Nicholas Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 12-11-1, 9,334, $2,900.
18, Matt Sanders, Indianapolis, 14-10, 9,328, $2,800.
19, DJ Archer, Spring, Texas, 10-14, 9,282, $2,700.
20, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 10-14, 9,275, $2,600.
21, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 10-14, 9,261, $2,500.
22, Brad Miller, Lees Summit, Mo., 10-13-1, 9,116, $2,400.
23, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 11-13, 9,106, $2,300.
24, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 6-17-1, 9,033, $2,200.
300 Games: Jason Belmonte, Patrick Girard.