By Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications
NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte completed a sweep of six three-game matches Saturday at Brunswick Zone Carolier to earn the No. 1 seed for Sunday’s stepladder finals in the United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Belmonte, a five-time Professional Bowlers Association title winner, is seeking his first major championship. He defeated Stuart Williams of England, 750-616, in a contest between the two remaining unbeaten players to complete his perfect record in the double-elimination, match-play bracket. Williams will be the No. 2 seed for Sunday’s ESPN finals, which will air live at 3 p.m. ET.
In his previous matches, Belmonte defeated Brian Ziesig, Levittown, N.Y., 674-646; Dan MacLelland of Canada, 749-711; Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., 761-685, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 642-632; and Michael Machuga of Erie, Pa., 687-686.
Earlier in the 2012-13 season, Belmonte finished second in the PBA World Championship when he lost to Bohn in the title match, 254-227. A year ago, Belmonte finished third in the U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier for his previous high finish in a major championship.
“I have unfinished business. I want that major title so bad, but every bowler does,” Belmonte said. “I’m extremely proud of my performances in the big events. I’ve made TV shows in five of the last six majors over the past two seasons. I’ve given myself the opportunities, but I have to put the experiences I’ve had – good and bad – together this time.”
Rounding out Sunday’s ESPN stepladder field will be Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas; Bohn and Finnish native Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich. Malott won the four-player final elimination match with a 773 series to earn the No. 3 seed for the finals. Bohn was second with 732 and Koivuniemi was third with 704. Machuga shot 692 and was eliminated.
Earlier Saturday, Koivuniemi, the 2000 Masters champion and a two-time PBA Player of the Year, ended Walter Ray Williams’ bid for a record-tying third Masters title in the seventh elimination round, 753-676.
Bohn, who won the 2001 Masters, is hoping to become the seventh player in PBA history – and the first since Norm Duke in 2007-08 – to win two major titles in the same season. Duke won the PBA World Championship and U.S. Open during the 2007-08 campaign.
The Masters, which features a total prize fund of $325,000 including a $50,000 first prize, is also part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour.
UNITED STATES BOWLING CONGRESS MASTERS
Brunswick Zone Carolier, North Brunswick, N.Y., Saturday
THREE-GAME, DOUBLE-ELIMINATION MATCH PLAY
WINNERS BRACKET ROUND THREE
Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, def. Manuel Otalora, Colombia, 740-614.
Stuart Williams, England, def. John Janawicz, Lake Wales, Fla., 687-667.
Jason Belmonte, Australia, def. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 642-632.
Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., def. Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 638-630.
ELIMINATION BRACKET ROUND FIVE
(Losers eliminated, earn $3,400)
Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 714-586.
Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., def. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 741-726.
Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., def. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 768-656.
Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., def. Matt McNiel, Prior Lake, Minn., 740-681.
ELIMINATION BRACKET ROUND SIX
(Losers eliminated, earn $4,000)
Kretzer def. Daugherty, 630-605.
Bohn def. Jones, 671-649.
Koivuniemi def. Janawicz, 717-715.
W.R. Williams def. Otalora, 731-681.
WINNERS BRACKET ROUND FOUR
Belmonte def. Machuga, 687-686.
S. Williams def. Malott, 711-664.
ELIMINATION BRACKET ROUND SEVEN
(Losers eliminated, earn $5,000)
Bohn def. Kretzer, 782-509.
Koivuniemi def. W.R. Williams, 753-676.
WINNERS BRACKET ROUND FIVE
(Winner earns No. 1 seed for Sunday’s ESPN finals; loser is No. 2 seed)
Belmonte def. S. Williams, 750-616.
ELIMINATION BRACKET ROUND EIGHT
(Three highest scores advance to ESPN finals, high score is No. 3 seed, second high is No. 4, third high is No. 5, lowest score is eliminated, earns $7,000)
Malott 773, Bohn 732, Koivuniemi 704, Machuga 692.