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Belmonte, O’Neill run away with top qualifier spot for PBA Doubles finals

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Barbasol PBA Players Championship top qualifier Jason Belmonte of Australia and eight-time PBA Tour winner Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., averaged 236.57 as a team to earn top qualifier honors for the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship presented by BowlerX.com stepladder finals.

After each player’s 30 games of qualifying during the Players Championship earlier in the week and 16 games of Baker format qualifying Friday, Belmonte and O’Neill (l-r) led the field with a 17,979 pinfall total at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio.

Pictured above from left to right: Bill O’Neill, Jason Belmonte, EJ Tackett, Marshall Kent,
Brandon Novak, Kristopher Prather, Shawn Maldonado, DJ Archer, Darren and Michael Tang.

The Doubles Championship will be taped by ESPN Sunday at 5 p.m. ET after the Barbasol PBA Players Championship live finals which are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Fans can also catch the livestream of the Roth/Holman Doubles finals on ESPN3. The Doubles Championship will air on ESPN March 25 at 2 p.m. ET.

Belmonte and O’Neill, looking for their first doubles title, held a commanding 327-pin lead over 2016 PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett (left) of Huntington, Ind., and four-time tour winner Marshall Kent (right) of Yakima, Wash., who finished second with a 17,652 pinfall. Kent also qualified second for the Players Championship finals.

For Belmonte and O’Neill it’s their fourth consecutive Doubles Championship finals appearance having finished fourth in their three previous appearances. Kent and Tackett will be hoping to improve on their runner-up finish in 2017.

Qualifying third were Kris Prather (left) of Milton, Fla., who qualified third for the Players Championship finals, and Brandon Novak (right) of Chillicothe, Ohio, with a 17,382 pinfall.

Texans DJ Archer and Shawn Maldonado qualified fourth combining for a 17,316 pinfall. Archer will be trying for his third PBA Tour and Maldonado his first.

Brothers Michael and Darren Tang of San Francisco moved from seventh after the day’s first Baker round to take the fifth qualifying spot with a 17,273 pinfall. The Tang’s, former collegiate standouts at San Jose State, combined for games of 249, 226, 185, 277, 290, 213, 257 and 205 to beat out two-time doubles champions PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke and 10-time tour winner Wes Malott who finished sixth with 17,201.

In 2017 Michael (left), 22, finished second in the United States Bowling Congress Masters, and Darren (right), 24, finished fourth. Both players will be trying for their first PBA Tour title.

The Baker format requires each player on the team to alternate frames in the game to combine for one score.

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Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship – Eighth Round Standings

Players with position, hometown and 76-game total; top five doubles teams advance to Sunday’s Baker format stepladder finals to be taped by ESPN at 5 p.m. ET.

1, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa./Jason Belmonte, Australia, 17,979
2, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind./Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 17,652
3, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio/Kristopher Prather, MIlton, Fla., 17,382
4, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas/Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 17,316
5, Darren Tang, San Francisco/Michael Tang, San Francisco, 17,273

6, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla./Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 17,201, $7,000
7, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas/Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 17,153, $6,500
8, Patrick Girard, Canada/Zacharay Wilkins, Canada, 17,145, $6,000
9, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio/Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 17,053, $5,500
10, Francois Lavoie, Canada/Stuart Williams, England, 17,039, $5,000
11, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo./Kyle Sherman, O’Fallon, Mo., $4,500
12, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas/Sam Cooley, Australia, 16,928, $4,000
13, Dom Barrett, England/Osku Palermaa, Finland, 16,870, $3,500
14, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas/Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 16,751, $3,000

Herbert Bickel

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