On Sunday March 15th, Australia’s Jason Belmonte won the 2020 Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) World Championship for the third consecutive time, a record extending 13th major victory and his 24th PBA Tour title.
The PBA World Championship in Las Vegas was the last PBA tournament to-date, as the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The TV finals was telecast live on Fox Sports (US), but was also played in front of no crowd, with the PBA closing the event to spectators with exception of the players families and tour representatives.
After a slow start during the opening round of qualifying, Belmonte blitzed the field of 120 competitors over 56 games on four different oil patterns (lane conditions) to earn top seed for the stepladder finals, where he went on to defeat Anthony Simonson from Texas in the final match, 213-190 and collect a cool $150,000 prize for first place.
Despite spectators being locked out of the event, the win was extra special for Belmonte as it was the first time he won an event in front of his family. Wife Kimberley, son Hugo and daughters Sylvie and Aria made the trip to the US to watch their husband and dad become just the second player in PBA history after Hall of Famer Earl Anthony, to win the World Championship three consecutive times.
“A day I will never forget. Winning my 13th major championship! My third and back to back to back World Championship in front of my family will be a moment that will I look back at and be forever grateful I had the opportunity.
“It was certainly a very different feel having the public closed today the event, but the ones who wanted here most were here and winning in front of them was all that mattered to me.
Kimberly, Aria, Hugo and Sylvie. Thank you for being the best caddies and cheer team ever! I love you!” Belmonte said in an Instagram post.
It was also Belmonte’s second consecutive major championship title this season, after his PBA US Open triumph on February 23rd. The five-time and current PBA Player of the Year is now the clear front runner to claim the award for a sixth time.
Belmonte has since returned to his home town of Orange in country New South Wales, quarantined with his family as he awaits for restrictions to be lifted and the restart of the 2020 PBA season.