14/04/2024

Jason Belmonte in action at the PBA Players Championship West region finals (Picture @PBATour)

Australian tenpin bowling juggernaut Jason Belmonte has put the PBA Tour on notice with a near flawless display.

Australian tenpin bowling juggernaut, Jason Belmonte, has put the PBA Tour on notice with a near flawless display.

On Monday at 7pm (US time), Belmonte hit the lanes at Bowlero Cerritos, CA as the fourth qualifier of the West region. He had to win four straight matches to progress through the stepladder final and onto next weeks grand finale.

Not an uncommon scenario for Belmonte, but one he hadn’t faced for some time after a lengthy stint at home last year following the birth of his son Bowie. As a result of this leave of absence, many questions were raised. Some speculation lingered on whether he would even return to fulfil his last year of the contract he holds with Storm Bowling.

After such a time away from the professional circuit, one would be excused for being a little rusty. That’s just not ‘Belmo’. After safely qualifying last week, Belmonte did what he does best. Undoubtedly the greatest television show bowler ever seen, he was flawless.

Accounting for his competitors one by one, he bowled games of 238, 246, 278 and 257, an average of 254.75. An amazing performance when you consider each lane was oiled differently, meaning adjustments had to be made every shot.

Belmonte told FOX Sports 1 at the completion, “it’s good to be back, I’m loving being here”.

He looked fresh, energised, and genuinely excited to be back on tour. A great sign going into the finals and the rest of the season, as he hunts for major title number 14.

East region

Commencing proceedings on Saturday (US time), the East region threatened to secure result of the round first up. Lowest qualifier Patrick Dobrowski knocked off defending Champion, and 2021 PBA Player of the Year, Kyle Troup in a low scoring 177-171.

Dobrowski continued to show fight through the rounds, climbing to the final match with a string of strong games. In the title match top qualifier, Graham Fach halted Dobrowski’s run with a dominant 259-192 win.

The win gives Fach a shot at another Players Championship after winning this event back in 2016.

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South region

Down in the South, the second final for the day, DJ Archer looked to replicate Dobrowski’s earlier feat. Bowling well through games one and two, Archer was primed for a title match.

It took the ultimate professional in Norm Duke to knock him off, the match finishing a tight 248-246. Duke carried that form through to the final, posting another strong 242, however it was not enough.

2020 PBA Hall of Fame inductee, Tommy Jones, showed why he was the top qualifier with a fantastic 268 out of the blocks.

Midwest region

Kicking off Sunday (US time) in the Midwest, 2021 PBA Rookie of the Year Matt Russo would be left feeling like he had just thrown a 299 game. Starting in the first match, he worked his way past his opponents, knocking off the likes of EJ Tackett and AJ Johnson along the way.

He entered the last frame of the final, against top qualifier Sean Rash, needing only a mark to take the victory. Instead, he threw it shallow, the ball breaking early through the head pin leaving a nasty split. Unable to convert, he handed the game on a platter to Rash, who appeared as shocked as the crowd.

Rash, not opposed to controversy, voiced his displeasure at a number of things both throughout and following the match. The comments, deemed ‘unprofessional conduct’ by the PBA Tour, landed him a one year probation and a suspension for next month’s tour events.

Southwest region

Wrapping up the day in the Southwest, Mexican Arturo Quintero put in a sensational first half of the title match to defeat English champion Dom Barrett. Barrett, leaving two open frames early, battled to gain ground, but the start proved enough for Quintero.

The win sees Quintero through to his first Major final of his PBA career.

Arturo Quintero secures the Southwest region final against Dom Barrett.

Players now get a week to rest up before the national final on Saturday (US time).

Full results available at PBA.com

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