History is made: Belmonte wins 20th career title at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park
The world's best bowler lived up to his reputation by winning his 20th career title Tuesday night at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park.
The thirty-five year old Australian's twenty titles include 10 majors, which ties him for most all-time major victories in PBA history.
The PBA Chameleon Championship started with all four qualifying bowlers rolling a game to decide their seeding for the match. Andres Gomez from Columbia grabbed the first seed, followed by Belmonte, A.J. Champman and Ronnie Russell.
The first game of the step-ladder finals came right down to the end, with the twenty-five year old A.J. Chapman, seeking his first career PBA title, beating tour veteran Ronnie Russel 244-233.
So the second game came down to the youngster versus the bowling legend, and the kid gave Belmonte all he could handle. jumping out to a 113 to 96 lead in the fifth frame on the strength of four strikes in the first five frames. Right out of the mid-game commercial break, Chapman's open frame after failing to convert the 2-4-8-10 split opened the door for Belmonte to make up some ground. The game was now tight, and Belmonte struck in the ninth frame.
Chapman was in position to clinch the match, but his pocket hit in the ninth frame left the dreaded 7-10 split, as the stunned crowd gasped. Belmonte then threw a strike on his first ball in the tenth frame, and had the opportunity to clinch the match, but then left the 4-10 split on his next ball.
Chapman then came up, needing two strikes plus seven pins to win. He threw the first strike, then left a 10-pin on the second ball, and Belmonte breathed a huge sigh of relief, knowing that he was advancing to the championship game. So what did he do next? Tweet his fans about that tough game and the tough lane conditions!
The final game between Belmonte and Gomez was very close through the first seven frames. But it could have been a very different game at that point when, after leaving a 10-pin in the third frame, Belmonte's spare shot barely grazed the pin, which barely tipped over to the right.
When I interviewed him after the match, I told him that, just a centimeter to the left, and that pin would still be standing. His reply was "a millimeter!" But great champions bowl their best in the biggest moments and, Belmonte's four strikes starting in the eighth frame clinched his twentieth title. Immediately after receiving the trophy, Belmonte continued his tradition of taking a selfie with the fans to tweet out!
Belmonte now has a chance to win Wednesday night's tournament, and then really make history if he can win Thursday night...that tournament is a major and, he has already clinched the top seed. If he wins that one, then history will be made in the world's official bowling capital, again!
I spoke with Belmonte right after his historic win, and he also had some tremendous things to say about Thunderbowl and Detroit's fans:
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