USBC NEWS: Australia's Belmonte wins 2013 USBC Masters

February 24, 2013


CONTACT: Lucas Wiseman

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NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Australian two-handed star JasonBelmonte picked up his first major title and became just the second foreignplayer to win the United States Bowling Congress Masters on Sunday in front ofa capacity crowd at Brunswick Zone Carolier.

Belmonte defeated Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas,258-245, to win the $50,000 first-place prize and a major title on theProfessional Bowlers Association Tour. The victory was his sixth career PBATour title.

"This is without a doubt the greatest feeling I'veever had on a pair of the lanes," said Belmonte, who joined Finland's MikaKoivuniemi as the only foreign players to win the Masters. "You come outon the PBA Tour, the hardest tour in the world with the greatest players in theworld, and at the top of that tree are the majors. To finally get atop one andcheck the view out for the first time is golden. It's absolutelybeautiful."

The title match was filled with drama in the final frameas Belmonte delivered three strikes, including a heart-stopping second shot inthe 10th when a pin darted across to take out the 10 pin at the last second.

Belmonte's perfect 10th frame, capping a string of sixstrikes in a row, forced Malott to match him with three strikes of his own totake the title by one pin. Malott's first shot barely struck with the 4 pinfalling late, but his second shot went high and left the 3-6-10, giving thetitle to Belmonte.

"Watching that 4 pin fall at first I was like 'ohno,' but then I had an overwhelming feeling that if it was meant to be it wouldbe," said Belmonte, who went undefeated in the double-eliminationmatch-play bracket to earn the top seed for the finals. "It was like thetension just doubled, and there was already a lot of tension. I can assure youthe last thing I thought I was going to see was Wes not get the ball to thepocket."

After the loss, Malott said a distraction caught his eyeon the second shot in the 10th and caused him to pull the ball left.

"Someone in the crowd caught me in the 11th frame. Idon't want to say anything against the fans in New Jersey because they've beengreat, and it happened to some other guys during the week, but it's a bummer, aheart-breaker," Malott said. "It happened during the biggesttournament of my career, when I had a chance to win, but I'll take thepositives from this week and move forward. That's all I can do."

Malott, who entered the day as the No. 3 seed, advancedto the title match with a 202-185 victory over England's Stuart Williams in thesemifinal. Malott took down Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J.,255-248, in his first match of the day.

The stepladder finals started with a bang as Bohn openedthe first game with the first eight strikes against Koivuniemi in a 278-246victory.

The Masters, which featured a total prize fund of$325,000, is part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour. Asold-out field of 468 players from 13 countries started the week in their questto take home the trophy.

For more information on the Masters, visit BOWL.com/Masters.

United States Bowling Congress

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Brunswick Zone Carolier, North Brunswick, N.Y., Sunday

Final standings

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia 258 (one game), $50,000 2,Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 702 (three games), $25,000 3, Stuart Williams,England, 185 (one game), $18,000 4, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 526 (twogames), $13,000 5, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 246 (one game), $10,000

Stepladder results

Match One - Bohn def. Koivuniemi, 278-246 Match Two -Malott def. Bohn, 255-248 Match Three - Malott def. Williams, 202-185Championship - Belmonte def. Malott, 258-245

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