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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Powered by a big finish, Jason Belmonte jumped to the top of the leaderboard to close out the second round of qualifying Tuesday night at the 2020 PBA Players Championship.
Belmonte leads the 92-player field with a 12-game total of 2,849 (+449), a 237.42 average, at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. The field returns for six final games of qualifying Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern live on FloBowling.
The Australian two-hander who owns a record 11 major wins finished with games of 279, 258 and 258 late Tuesday night to rocket into the top spot.
“It was a combination of using all of your experience and making some good guesses with your adjustments,” said Belmonte, who finished second to Anthony Simonsen last year at the event. “After the third game the lanes can be really tricky. I started playing right, had to move left and then moved right again so finishing with those 258 games was big.”
Canadian two-hander Zach Wilkins made a huge jump in the second round, shooting games of 224, 248, 245, 219, 259 and 277 to sit in second with 2,823 (+423).
Marshall Kent was leading the field going into the final game but shot 215 as Belmonte and Wilkins jumped ahead of him. He finished the day third with 2,822 (+422).
“It was a really solid day all around physically, mentally and lane play wise,” Kent said. “It’s one of my better days I’ve had in a while. It definitely helps the confidence going into the next few days.”
Kent threw back to back 279 games in the first round of qualifying to jump up in the standings. He credits taking some time off before the majors this month to keep his mind and body fresh for a grueling stretch ahead.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Francois Lavoie led qualifying after the first round which included a 300 game, one of three on the day out of the field. He finished at 2,820 (+420) in fourth place.
Norm Duke, a 40-time PBA Tour champion, is proving once again this week is health is of no concern as he sits in fifth place after the first day with 2,811 (+411).
Tom Daugherty finished strong with a 278 final game to jump to the sixth spot with 2,795 (+395). There is a three-way tie for seventh between Shawn Maldonado, EJ Tackett and Bill O’Neill at 2,783 (+383). And rounding out the top 10 was England’s Stuart Williams at 2,777 (+377).
After Wednesday’s final round of qualifying, the field will be cut to the top 24 for round robin match play. After 42 total games, the top five players will advance to Saturday’s show live on FS1 (United States) and FloBowling (international).