Jason Belmonte, from Orange, New South Wales and tenpin bowling’s world number one, made PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) history on Friday – winning the PBA World Championship to claim a record breaking 11th PBA major title and his 21st title overall.
It was a tense final match against Jakob Butturff. Belmonte was in command with a 32-pin lead after six frames, but Butturff managed six strikes in-a-row to close out his game, forcing Belmonte to close out his tenth frame with a strike and at least a spare to win 236-227.
Not surprisingly, the two-handed sensation nailed a ‘double’ (two strikes) in the tenth and was met with a thunderous ovation with “AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! OI OI OI!” chants from the packed crowd as they witnessed history at Thunderbowl Lanes in Detroit, Michigan.
In a touching moment for Belmonte, with the World Championship final being live streamed at his children’s school here in Australia and during his post-match interview, a video was played of his kids class watching the live stream and erupting when they saw Belmonte throw the final strike to win.
Belmonte equalled the majors record set by PBA Hall of Famers Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, both with ten, by winning the PBA Tournament of Champions back on February 10th, only to be denied holding the majors record outright when he lost the final of the PBA Players Championship a week later.
But that loss only delayed the inevitable for Belmonte, who has dominated the tour this season, winning the Chameleon Championship just days before his historic World Championship victory.
George Frilingos, a former Australian representative and long-time friend of Belmonte believes he should be recognized as one of the most successful sporting athletes that Australia has produced.
“Jason has not only become a world champion several times over, he has rewritten the record books at every possible level throughout his amateur career through to his professional career. In the US, he is regarded as tenpin bowling’s equivalent to the likes of Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and Michael Jordan”.
“Belmo is a legend of the sport and he’s now the most successful major title holder in the history of tenpin bowling”.Embed from Getty Images
At 35-years-old, it’s scary to think that the four-time player-of-the-year may still compete on the PBA tour for another 10 years and may set records that will never be broken.
It’s unfortunate that tenpin bowling doesn’t get the same exposure in Australia as it does in the US, because Jason Belmonte certainly deserves to be mentioned among Australia’s premier sporting athletes.