Tenpin Bowling: Australia’s Jason Belmonte wins PBA US Open

Jason Belmonte, Australia’s two-handed tenpin superstar, continues his dominance on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) tour by winning the 2020 US Open – his 23rd PBA Tour title and a record-extending 12th PBA major title.

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Belmonte has once again entered the record books with his US Open triumph at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska on Sunday, becoming only the second bowler in PBA history, joining Hall of Famer Mike Aulby, to complete the Super Slam, by winning all five PBA majors which includes the PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA World Championship, PBA Players Championship, USBC Masters and the US Open.

The US Open was the only major tournament which had alluded the five-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year. He had previously qualified for the stepladder finals on three occasions, finishing third in 2012, runner-up in 2013 and a forgetful US Open finals appearance last year which saw Belmonte shoot a 148 game – the lowest TV finals score of his illustrious career to finish fourth.  

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Televised live on Fox Sports in the US, Belmonte, the second seed for the stepladder finals, had to overcome his recent struggles on TV to take down Dick Allen (215-187) in the semi-final, before defeating top seed Anthony Simonsen in a tense final match 226-201.

It was a fitting final showdown between Simonsen and Belmonte, as the 23-year-old Texan was pursuing his own piece of history by becoming the youngest bowler to win three major championships. He’s also had the better of his rival when they’ve met head-to-head in recent majors, defeating Belmonte in final of the 2019 PBA Players Championship before beating him again in last year’s US Open finals.  

“My 12th major championship victory and the one I wanted (US Open) so much. To wear the green jacket and hold the eagle is one of the proudest moments of my career” Belmonte wrote on Instagram.

“The struggles on TV this year have made this win so much sweeter.

“When you are critiqued by everyone for every move you make, the weight of poor performances can weigh heavy. This was my chance to break those shackles and win this one for me.”

Belmonte briefly sent shockwaves through the bowling industry by declaring that he can “retire now”, but he later clarified that he misspoke and meant to say “I can retire fulfilled”.

There’s still a long way to go in the 2020 PBA season and the world’s number one bowler, from Orange in country New South Wales, will be determined to add more titles to his record-breaking career.