ALLEN PARK, Mich. – On a night where executing exceptional shots was required to carry all 10 pins, Jason Belmonte made just enough of those shots to pick up his 20th career title at the 2019 PBA Chameleon Championship.
Belmonte defeated three-time PBA Tour champion Andres Gomez, 236-194, at Thunderbowl Lanes for his second title of the season and put himself back in the driver’s seat in the PBA Player of the Year race.
“That was a fortunate match,” Belmonte said. “This arena bay, it’s so different to the main bay that the way the ball goes through the pins is crazy. You have to hit the one-three (pocket) perfectly otherwise you leave something and you’re picking your spare ball up.”
In the championship match, Belmonte and Gomez combined to leave 10 pocket 10 pins. The difference, however, was Gomez never threw a double until he got to the final frame, which was meaningless.
Belmonte, meanwhile, had a clutch double in the eighth and ninth frames to take the lead for good. The victory for Belmonte was all but sealed when Gomez left and missed a 10 pin in the ninth frame.
There are now three players with two titles this season with Belmonte joining Norm Duke and Dick Allen, who won the PBA Cheetah Championship last night. Belmonte has an edge in the Player of the Year race, however, by virtue of his major title at the PBA Tournament of Champions and second-place finish at the PBA Players Championship.
Belmonte will have a chance to add to his title count in the coming days as well. He’s in the field for tomorrow’s PBA Scorpion Championship and has already earned the top seed for the season’s third major, the PBA World Championship, which will be contested Thursday night.
In the semifinal Tuesday night, Belmonte survived a tense match against AJ Chapman, who was seeking his first title, with a 200-197 victory.
The match came down to the final frame with Belmonte finishing first and needing a double and five pins for the shutout. Belmonte struck on his first shot and ran out the second shot thinking it would strike. Instead, he left a 4-10 split, giving Chapman a chance.
Chapman needed a double and four pins to secure the victory. He got the first one but pitched the second shot wide right. It came back to hit the pocket but left a 10 pin to lose.
In the opening match of the stepladder, Chapman built a 31-pin lead on Ronnie Russell halfway through the match and held on for a 244-233 victory.
Russell threw six strikes in a row from frames four through nine to take the lead. Chapman got a clutch strike in the ninth and two in the 10th to force Russell to strike and get eight pins in the final frame. Russell left a light 10 pin on his first shot in the 10th to lose.
The championship round started with the four players competing in a seeding round to determine the lineup for the stepladder finals. Gomez fired six strikes in a row to close the seeding round and lead with a 235 game, coming from behind to overtake Belmonte’s 227. Chapman was third with 205, while Russell had 179.
World Series of Bowling X resumes Wednesday with the PBA Scorpion Championship match play rounds starting at Noon Eastern with the Round of 16 live on FloBowling. The Round of 8 will be at 3 p.m. and the finals will air live at 8 p.m.