Belmonte Will Try for Record 11th PBA Major Title as Top Seed For PBA Players Championship Finals
by Jerry Schneider | Friday, February 15, 8:14 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second consecutive week, Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte will have the opportunity to make bowling history as he tries for a record 11th PBA major title from the top seed of the PBA Players Championship stepladder finals.
The 35-year-old Belmonte earned the top seed for Sunday’s finals after finishing Friday’s final match play round at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl with a 17-7 overall match play record and 10,183 42-game pinfall total.
The finals will air live on FS1 Sunday at 1 p.m. ET and will carry with it a $1 million bonus if Belmonte or his opponent can bowl a 300 game in the title match.
Belmonte, who averaged 230 and led all six rounds of the tournament, won last week’s PBA Tournament of Champions for his 10th major to tie Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Earl Anthony on the all-time PBA majors list.
A win in the Players Championship would also make Belmonte the event’s first three-time winner. The four-time PBA Player of the Year who won the event in 2011 and 2017, is currently tied with Dave Ferraro, Dennis Horan and Steve Hoskins with two Players Championship titles.
“I really feel like I know where the ball is going every single frame,” said Belmonte, who earned his third consecutive top seed in the Players Championship. “These past couple weeks are probably some of the best weeks I’ve ever bowled in my life. It’s really nice when you feel like you are physically executing and the pins are also falling.”
“I’d love to get 11 now, just get it out of the way and done, and that’s exactly what my game plan is going to be,” the 19-time tour winner added. “I want to come out, throw the exact same shots I’ve been throwing all week and hopefully I’ll raise the crown again.”
Belmonte is one of three players who uses the unique two-handed delivery to make the finals.
Coming all the way from 21st heading into Thursday’s first match play round, two-hander Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, posted a 17-6-1 record and finished with a 10,014 pinfall to earn the No. 2 seed for the finals.
The 22-year-old Simonsen, who became the youngest player to win a major when he won the 2016 USBC Masters at age 19, is trying for his second major and sixth career title.
Another Texan, two-time tour winner DJ Archer of Spring, Texas, who is trying for his first major, compiled an 18-5-1 match play record and 9,763 pinfall to qualify third for the finals.
EJ Tackett, of Bluffton, Ind., will try for his third major and 13th career tour title from the No. 4 seed after finishing with a 15-9 record and 9,744 pinfall.
Tackett finished second in last week’s Tournament of Champions, losing to Belmonte 225-196 in the title match.
Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., the third two-hander to make the finals field, qualified fifth for the finals with a 12-12 match play record and 9,736 pinfall.
In sixth heading into the final position round match, Troup, a three-time tour winner, earned his way into the finals with a 246-192 win over 2018 Players Championship winner Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., who ended up finishing seventh.
PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Friday
SIXTH ROUND RESULTS (after 42 games. Includes match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins. Top five players advance to Sunday’s stepladder finals on FS1)
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 17-7, 10,183.
2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 17-6-1, 10,014.
3, DJ Archer, Spring, Texas, 18-5-1, 9,763.
4, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 15-9, 9,744.
5, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 12-12, 9,736.
6, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 17-7, 9,703, $7,000.
7, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 13-10-1, 9,665, $6,000.
8, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 11-12-1, 9,613, $5,000.
9, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 10-13-1, 9,571, $4,500.
10, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 13-11, 9,568, $4,200.
11, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 14-9-1, 9,522, $4,000.
12, Zachary Wilkins, Canada, 13-11, 9,507, $3,800.
13, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 12-12, 9,481, $3,600.
14, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 13-11, 9,457, $3,500.
15, Brad Miller, Lees Summit, Mo., 11-12-1, 9,453, 3,400.
16, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 11-13, 9,447, $3,300.
17, Stuart Williams, England, 13-10-1, 9,383, $3,200.
18, AJ Chapman, Manchester, Iowa, 7-16-1, 9,331, $3,200.
19, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 10-14, 9,140, $3,100.
20, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 7-17, 9,059, $3,000.
21, Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, 10-14, 9,030, $2,900.
22, A.J. Rice, Salem, Ala., 5-18-1, 8,957, $2,800.
23, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 7-17, 8,926, $2,700.
24, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 7-17, 8,637, $2,600.
300 games – Kyle Troup