Putting the finishing touches on one of the most exciting PBA Tour television finals in the organization’s 60-year history, Australia’s Jason Belmonte defeated Jesper Svensson of Sweden, 238-225, for the PBA World Championship title.
The finals of the tournament, which took place in November during the World Series of Bowling IX in Reno, Nev., were telecast last Sunday on ESPN.
The victory marked Belmonte’s third major championship in 2017, setting a PBA Tour record, and was his ninth career major crown. It also virtually locked up another PBA Player of the Year title (voting will take place later this month) for the 34-year-old two-hander and added another $60,000 to his bank account.
Furthermore, Belmonte moved into third place on the PBA’s list of all-time major champions behind PBA legends Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, who both won 10 majors.
As far as the show itself, two matches were decided in sudden-death roll-offs – the opening match between Matt Sanders of Evansville, Ind., and Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, S.C., and the semifinal match between Belmonte and Cheektowaga’s Ryan Ciminelli.
In the first match, Sanders and Troup finished in a 248-248 tie, before Troup struck in the extra frame to edge Sanders, who left a 7-pin. Ciminelli then topped Troup, 193-180, before battling Belmonte to a 257-257 tie.
Unfortunately for the Western New Yorker, he left the 2-5-6 on his first shot in OT after Belmonte had left a 7-pin.
Then in the title match against left-side two-hander Svensson, Belmonte got a break when he struck in the fifth frame despite the finger grip coming out of the ball. The match was close throughout, but Belmonte came through in the 10th frame with a pair of strikes to seal the deal.
Svensson earned $30,000, Ciminelli $25,000, Troup $20,000 and Sanders $15,000.
ESPN’s coverage continues at 1 p.m. this Sunday with the World Bowling Tour Women’s and Men’s Finals. Competitors are Malaysia’s Shalin Zulkifli, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and Diana Zavjalova of Latvia, and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.; Svensson and Belmonte.
LOCAL BOWLERS UNABLE TO DERAIL CHEEKTOWAGA’S VOYTOVICH
The local bowlers on the Beat the Champ TV show at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia ran into a “buzzsaw,” and were unable to unseat "the champ," Dana Voytovich of Cheektowaga. The show was taped on Nov. 29 and televised on Dec. 23-24 on WBBZ-TV (MeTV).
Voytovich concluded a perfect month – running his winning streak to eight matches – by knocking off Batavian Rich Wagner, 268-213; Brockport’s Chris Bardol, 245-237, and Batavian Rob Stefani, 255-185.
The victories enabled Voytovich to enter this month’s competition at Rapids Bowling Center in Niagara Falls as the champ. Those shows will be televised on Jan. 6, 13, 20 (repeated on Jan. 7, 14, 21).
The fourth show from Batavia featured eight youth bowlers form the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso’s, bowling as boy-girl doubles teams.
Emma Miller and James Townsend emerged victorious by defeating Corinne Saluste and Sam Miller in the final match. Miller/Saluste had advanced with wins over Samantha Balbi and Benjamin Sputore, and Tara Clattenburg and Skylar Laesser.
All in all, the Batavia-area bowlers competed at a high level, and put on a good show for the viewers.
GRUSBC SCRATCH MEMORIAL IN PORTAGEVILLE THIS WEEKEND
Genesee Region USBC men and women bowlers have a chance to see how they measure up against the best in the association this weekend by entering the 64th GRUSBC Scratch Memorial Tournament at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.
Qualifying squad (four games) times are noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. One in five from each squad will advance to four-game semifinals and, from there, the five bowlers with the highest eight-game total pinfall will advance to the stepladder finals.
Two different oil patterns will be used -- the 39-foot Kegel “Middle Road” during qualifying and the 45-foot Kegel “Route 66” during the semifinals and finals. First place, based on 80 entries, is $1,000; the entry fee is $55 and re-entry is allowed. To enter, call 585-861-0404 or send an email to [email protected].
Other tournaments this weekend include the Scott Whittier Memorial three-person, no-tap on Saturday at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion (squads are at 1, 3, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.) and the 60-and-over Tour at noon Sunday at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.
While one hopes that all tournaments are successful, having two other events the same weekend as a major GRUSBC tournament forces bowlers to choose – and that’s not a good thing.
Since the GRUSBC schedule is out before the season begins, it shouldn’t be difficult for promoters of other tournaments to avoid any conflicts. It’s simply a matter of common sense and working together – and that’s something to remember when setting up tournaments for 2018-19.
SPARE SHOTS: TOURNEY VICTORY GRAY JR., 300 FOR SANTINI
-- Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw captured the $700 first prize at the Domm’s Christmas Eve Sweeper at Domm’s Bowling Center in Rochester, rolling a 300 game during the qualifying round and surviving through three eliminator rounds. Other GRUSBC bowlers cashing were Tom Rohl of Le Roy, Rob Husted of Spencerport and Scott Gray of Warsaw.
-- Lefty Bob Santini opened the New Year with a bang by rolling a perfect game – his second of the season – in the Monday Night Merchants League at his (he’s the proprietor) Mount Morris Lanes. Santini now has 11 USBC-certified 300 games.
And on Tuesday night, Dave Emler of Rochester rolled a 300 game and 759 series in the G&W Vending League at Rose Garden Bowl.
-- Matt Slocum of Perry and Curtis Foss of Medina cashed at the Mike & Ruth Rose New Year’s Day scratch tournament at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes in Rochester, with both bowing out in the early rounds of the finals. PBA standout Brad Angelo of Lockport pocketed the $1,500 top prize, rolling a 299 game in the title match.
-- GRUSBC directors welcomed Steve Krna of Alexander to the local association board at their meeting last Saturday. An avid league bowler, Krna is president of Genesee Patrons insurance Cooperative Insurance Co. in Batavia.
The board voted to bring back the GRUSBC Invitational tournament, a 64-bowler “by invitation only” handicap singles event, and tentatively scheduled it for Sept. 29 at Mancuso Bowling Center.
Also, the board is accepting nominees for the GRUSBC Hall of Fame through Feb. 1. Nomination forms can be found at www.bowlgr.com.
-- Following a successful first half of its first season, the Sunday Roll-Offs league at Medina Lanes is gearing up for its second half, starting this Sunday at 10 a.m.
The format of the USBC-sanctioned handicap singles league is three games of qualifying with bowlers divided into groups by their averages. Winners from each group then bowl one more game to determine the weekly champion.
Additionally, points are awarded each week, which are worth prize money at the end of the season. The weekly fee is $20. For more information, call Medina Lanes at 585-318-4474.
-- The Genesee Region Youth Travel League reached its halfway point last Sunday at Mancuso Bowling Center and the Rose Garden I team from Bergen continues to hold a 12.5-point lead over second place Batavia Strike Force.
Weekly leaders were Josiah Yantz of Scopano’s Lanes with a 234 game and 660 series, James Townsend of Batavia Strike Force, 222—638; Ben Lennox of Oak Orchard I, 233—617; Paige Snook of Oak Orchard I, 192—554; Corinne Saluste of Strike Force, 205—554, and Logan Cadieux of Scopano’s, 177—476.
The league bowls again on Jan. 21 at Rose Garden Bowl.
-- The GRUSBC Adult-Junior Doubles Tournament is set for Jan. 12-14 at Mancuso Bowling Center, with squad times at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12, and noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 13 and Jan. 14. Competition will be in two handicap divisions -- based on youth bowlers ages: 12 & under and 13 & over. The entry fee is $40 per team. To enter, contact Tom Fluker at [email protected]sn.com.