May 3, 2009 19:00
Australian two-handed bowling sensation Jason Belmonte has been named the Professional Bowlers Association’s 2008-09 Harry Golden Rookie of the Year.
Belmonte, whose revolutionary bowling style will be featured on ESPN’s E:60 program Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, won The Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic, earning him an exemption to compete on the 2009-10 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.
The 25-year old from Orange, Australia made the match play field six times and cashed in eight of the nine events he entered during the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season. Belmonte averaged 219.2 and earned $44,380. His other top finishes during the season were 10th place in the season-opening PBA World Championship, 11th in the Etonic Marathon Open, 12th in the GEICO Plastic Ball championship and 15th in the Denny’s Dick Weber Open.
"To have won the same award as guys who I look up to as bowlers like Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones, Ryan Shafer and the legend Pete Weber is extremely cool and rewarding,” said Belmonte. “I hope that my career as a full-time player on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour is just as successful as my first season. I am excited and very thankful to the all of those who voted for me."
Belmonte and his unique method of bowling garnered a great deal of media attention throughout the 2008-09 season including appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show and The Fox Network’s Fox & Friends. He was also featured in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, ESPN The Magazine, Denver Post, Boston Globe and ESPN.com among many other media outlets.
The Rookie of the Year honor is named after the late hall of fame PBA Tour tournament director Harry Golden and is voted on by the PBA membership and a select group of bowling writers.
EDITOR’s NOTE: ESPN’s E:60, featuring Belmonte, will air Tuesday May 5 at 7 p.m. Eastern. Hosted by ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap, E:60 combines investigative reporting with in-depth profiles of sports personalities and features on emerging star athletes. A preview of the Belmonte interview can be seen by clicking here.
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