Amateur Brian Ziesig Defeats Jason Belmonte to Win PBA GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship

by Jerry Schneider March 28, 2010 10:00

Brian Ziesig of Levittown, N.Y., won the Professional Bowlers Association GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship Sunday at AMF Babylon Lanes to become the first amateur to win a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour event since 2002.

Ziesig rolled three strikes in the 10th frame in the championship match to tie Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte 247-247 in regulation which forced a one-ball, sudden-death roll-off that was won by Ziesig with a strike to Belmonte’s nine-count in which he left the 7 pin.

“Whenever I tried to over-hook the ball, it seemed I wouldn’t get the carry so those last few shots I paid special attention to avoiding that,” Ziesig said. “Believe it or not I really wasn’t that nervous so that helped me throw those shots the way I wanted to.”

Ziesig became the first amateur to win a Tour title since Brett Wolfe won the 2002 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

“This is my 15 minutes of fame” said the 35-year-old Ziesig, who works for a local bowling supply company. “It’s back to work tomorrow morning. To be able to accomplish this on national TV in front of a hometown crowd is really kind of a fantasy.”

Ziesig, who earned $25,000 for the win, had been a Touring professional in the 1998, ’99 and 2000 seasons with a previous best finish of 10th. He earned his way into the tournament field through a tour qualifying round earlier in the week.

The 26-year-old Belmonte, who earned $13,000 for second, was hoping to win his second career title having won The Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic here last year to become the first bowler to win a PBA Tour title using a two-handed delivery.

“The best you can hope for is to throw 10 good shots but I threw nine—what can you do?” said Belmonte, who finished second for the third time this season. “I left that 10 pin in the eighth frame because I got behind the ball too much and I just didn’t get the break.”

In the opening stepladder match, Wayne Garber of Modesto, Calif., defeated two-time Tour titlist Michael Michael Machuga of Erie, Pa., 258-245. Machuga earned $5,000 for fifth.

In the second match, the Tour’s all-time career win leader with 47 titles, Walter Ray Williams Jr., defeated Garber 280-211. In the semi-final match Ziesig defeated Williams 255-237 to advance to the championship match.

William’s third place finish was enough to put him in tie for the Player of the Year race with Bill O’Neill going into the final event of the season in Baltimore next week. Williams earned $8,000 for third and Garber $6,000 for fourth.

The Plastic Ball Championship required all players to use identical plastic bowling balls and is the one event on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour that turns back the clock on ball technology creating an equalized playing field and eliminating the reliance on today’s high-powered equipment.

PBA GEICO MARK ROTH PLASTIC BALL CHAMPIONSHIP

AMF Babylon Lanes

West Babylon, N.Y., March 28

Final Standings

1, Brian Ziesig, Levittown, N.Y., 502 (two games) $25,000

2, Jason Belmonte, Australia 247 (one game) $13,000

3, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 517 (two games) $8,000

4, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 469 (two games) $6,000

5, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 245 (one game) $5,000

Stepladder Results

Match One – Garber def. Machuga, 258-245

Match Two – Williams def. Garber, 280-211

Semifinal Match – Ziesig def. Williams, 255-237

Championship – Ziesig def. Belmonte, 247-247 with one ball sudden death roll-off, 10-9

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Australia’s Jason Belmonte Leads 24 Finalists into Match Play in U.S. Open

by Jason Thomas February 26, 2010 08:01

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Australia’s Jason Belmonte slowed his torrid scoring pace, but still led the field of 24 top qualifiers into the match play portion of the 67th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Woodland Bowl Friday.

Belmonte finished the final qualifying round with a 27-game total of 6,051 pins, an overall average of 224.1, and held an 87-pin lead over Colombia’s Andres Gomez. Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., was third with 5,958 pins followed by Jason Couch of Clermont, Fla., at 5,866 and Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., with 5,850 pins. Williams won U.S. Open titles in 1998 and 2003.

“It’s not like I bowled bad,” the Australian two-handed player said. “I didn’t have quite the same look as yesterday. I got a couple of bad breaks that turned 200s into 180s. But, hey, this is the U.S. Open. I’m a realist. I’m still in first, so I’m happy.”

Also advancing to match play were past U.S. Open champions Robert Smith (2000), Chris Barnes (2005), Tommy Jones (2006), Norm Duke (2008), Mike Scroggins (2009) and four-time winner Pete Weber.

Weber made up a 102-pin deficit in the final qualifying game to earn a tie for 24th place, and then defeated P.J. Haggerty of Clovis, Calif., 236-202, in a one-game roll-off for the final match play position. More...

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Australia’s Jason Belmonte Races into Third Round Lead in U.S. Open

by Jason Thomas February 25, 2010 14:24

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Jason Belmonte, Australia’s two-handed star, made one of the most difficult scoring conditions in bowling look easy Thursday as he raced into the third round lead in the 67th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Woodland Bowl.

Belmonte, who sat in sixth place after the first 12 qualifying games, averaged a blistering 248.33 for his six qualifying games Thursday to finish with an 18-game total of 4,117 pins and a 178-pin lead over Dave Beres of Waukesha, Wis. At one point in his round, Belmonte rolled consecutive games of 280, 278 and 278 to break away from the field.

Andres Gomez of Colombia was in third place with 3,920 pins followed by 2005 U.S. Open champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, at 3,915 and Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., at 3,914. O’Neill was in 185th place after the first six games.

"I grew up bowling long-format tournaments in Australia where there was lots of qualifying and match play games,” the 26-year-old said. “I think most bowlers will tell you that if you're consistently bowling well, you have a better chance in a long format competition.

“Today, for those three big games, I think that’s the best 36 shots I’ve ever thrown. You can’t bowl any better than that.” More...

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SUNDAY 1pm ET on ESPN: Belmonte and Feldman are Top Qualifiers for PBA Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles ESPN TV Finals

by Jason Thomas February 19, 2010 16:31

Jason Belmonte of Australia and Michelle Feldman of Auburn, N.Y., picked up where they left off in qualifying and combined forces in match play to earn the No. 1 qualifying position for Sunday’s stepladder finals of the Professional Bowlers Association Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.

Belmonte and Feldman combined for an 11-5 Baker format match play record and a 7,289 30-game overall pinfall Friday giving the pair a 386-pin lead over No. 2 qualifiers, reigning PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott and Shannon O’Keefe. O’Keefe, trying for her first PBA Women’s Series presented by BOWL.COM title, won a PBA regional title on Feb. 5 in Houston.

The Baker format requires each player to alternate frames in a game to combine for one score.

“The only strategy we had was determining which lane we felt best bowling on,” said Belmonte, the 2008-09 PBA Rookie of the Year. “We have a lot of confidence in each other right now which helps develop a good rhythm which I feel is very important in a doubles or team situation.

“I think we’re pretty relaxed and confident for Sunday and we’ll formulate our strategy then.”

Belmonte, using his trademark two-handed delivery, is trying for his second career Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title and Feldman her third PBA Women’s Series title. More...

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Belmonte and Feldman are Top Pair Heading into Match Play for PBA Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles

by Jason Thomas February 18, 2010 15:49

After earning top qualifier honors, 2008-09 PBA Rookie of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia and Michelle Feldman of Auburn, N.Y., will head a field of 16 mixed doubles teams going into Friday’s match play rounds in the PBA Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.

Looking for his second Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title, Belmonte led the 64-player PBA Tour men’s field with a 3,389 14-game pinfall (242 average). Belmonte, with his trademark two-handed delivery, had games of 245, 257, 258, 268, 220, 233 and 211 in Thursday’s seven-game qualifying round.

“She’s bowling great and I’m bowling great and what more can you ask for than that,” Belmonte said of his pairing with Feldman. “Michelle’s a winner, she has lots of titles so I’m looking forward to bowling with someone that has the experience she has.”

Feldman, a two-time PBA Women’s Series titlist ended Thursday’s qualifying with a 3,199 14-game overall pinfall (228 average). She had games of 258, 229, 211, 194, 258, 217 and 247 in Thursday’s qualifying round.

“The one thing we have in common is that we’re here to bowl well and try the best we can,” Feldman said. “I haven’t had a real good year so this is the last hurrah for me this season and I’m hoping we can make the best of it.”

The PBA Tour players and PBA Women’s Series presented by BOWL.COM players competed in separate qualifying rounds which determined the doubles parings. Based on their qualifying ranking, the top 16 men and top 16 women are paired together to compete in Baker format match play beginning Friday. After 16 head-to-head doubles matches, the top five teams will advance to the stepladder finals. The finals format will also use the Baker format where each player will bowl five alternate frames to combine for one score.

The Mixed Doubles finals will be televised live by ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain) on Sunday, Feb. 21. More...

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