AUSTRALIA’S BELMONTE PACES FIELD FOR PBA CHAMELEON CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 5, 2012) – Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, ageless Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla.; California attorney Scott Norton and Bahrain’s Fawaz Abdulla advanced to the stepladder finals of the Professional Bowlers Association’s Chameleon Championship at South Point Bowling Center Monday.
In the third of four “animal pattern” championships that make up the qualifying portion of the PBA World Championship, Belmonte posted a 14-game total of 3,462 pins to claim the top berth in Sunday’s stepladder finals by 29 pins over the 53-year-old Williams, the all-time leader in PBA Tour titles with 47 victories.
Norton, who won his only title in the 2010 Chameleon Championship, qualified third with a 3,399 total and Abdulla, the first player from Bahrain to ever qualify for a PBA television final, advanced from sixth place in the final game to claim the fourth spot in the TV field with 3,333.
Belmonte, who won three of his five career PBA Tour titles during the 2011 PBA World Series of Bowling, made his first stepladder final in this year’s World Series after finishing 23rd in the Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Cheetah Championship Saturday and 25th in the Viper Championship Sunday.
“I like to be on TV and I like to be No. 1,” Belmonte said.
“Every day is so different, so you just have to let go of what happened the day before. I was kind of bummed with the way I bowled on the Cheetah pattern. The Viper isn’t one of my favorites, but today I came in as though this was the first day of the tournament, and that’s the way I bowled.
“There was a lot of friction on the lanes today. Everyone moved in and with my speed and rev rate, it played right into my game plan. I got off to a great start tonight (278), but in the second game, I realized the lanes were changing, so I made a ball change that worked and I never looked back.”
Williams, who saw a string of 26 consecutive years with at least one television appearance end last season, held the lead through 12 games before Belmonte overtook him. But it was a great comeback after a less-than-stellar start to the World Series in the two previous events.
“After yesterday I was thinking I shouldn’t be bowling here,” the PBA Hall of Famer said. “But today I was able to do what I like to do – throw it nice and firm, get a good reaction, and I actually threw the ball pretty well. And I got some pin carry.
“I’d like to think I’m still competitive, but it’s a matter of doing the right things on the lanes,” Williams added. “Yesterday (in the Viper Championship) I didn’t; today I did. I still have to shoot a lot tomorrow (in the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship) to sneak into top 24 (the match play field for PBA World Championship is based on 32 games – eight games in each of four “animal pattern” events), but it’s possible.”
Williams said he’s well aware of his advancing years, but right now, coming from the East Coast to the Pacific time zone has been a bigger pain.
“I’ve been waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. every night. I’m still on Eastern time,” he said, “so I think I’ll go take a nap.
“I’ve got a few aches and pains,” he added. “(Sunday) night my shoulder ached, but I woke up this morning and felt fine. It’s not uncommon. I’ve dealt with that for a long time, not just the past few years, and it doesn’t seem to affect my play. Actually, most of my body parts are still pretty decent.”
With 47 titles, more than $4 million in career earnings and more PBA records than any player in PBA history, what’s left for him to accomplish?
“Win another title,” he said matter-of-factly. “Not a Senior Tour title. A regular one. That would be nice, especially after last year. That was definitely a negative on my radar.”
After three rounds of PBA World Championship qualifying, Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., maintained his lead, averaging at a 241.12 pace for a 24-game total of 5,787 pins, 60 pins ahead of Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C. Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, was third with 5,699.
GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling competition continues Tuesday with the fourth and final “animal pattern” event, the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship. Qualifying squads will begin at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., followed by the Scorpion semifinal round at 8 p.m.
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