Australia's Jason Belmonte charges into U.S. Open lead

    02/26/12

    2011-12 PBA Tour #12

    Fagan, Shafer, Barnes round out top four heading into the final round of match play

    201011PBA12JasonBelmonte.jpg201112PBA10MikeFagan7.jpgAustralian two-handed star Jason Belmonte (pictured left) not only claimed the sixth-round lead in 69th U.S Open Saturday at Brunswick Zone-Carolier, but did it by demolishing his competitors.

    Belmonte, who won three of his four career PBA titles earlier this season in the PBA World Series of Bowling, put an exclamation point on his rise to the top by defeating previous leader Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., 254-191, in the final match of Saturday's afternoon round.

    Belmonte finished the sixth round with an 11-4-1 match play record and a 42-game total of 9,520 pins including 30 bonus pins for each match victory to take a 42-pin lead over USBC Masters champion Mike Fagan (above right) of Dallas heading into Saturday night's final eight games of match play.

    201112PBA10ChrisBarnes.jpg201112PBA05RyanShafer3.jpgRounding out the top four were Shafer (right) with 9,309 pins and Chris Barnes (left) of Double Oak, Texas, with 9,191 pins. Rhino Page of Dade City, Fla., was 86 pins behind Barnes in the battle for four spots in Sunday's stepladder finals which will air live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern.

    Lurking in sixth place was Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., who is trying to win the event for a record fifth time. First prize is $60,000 and an automatic berth in the Round of 36 for the end-of-season PBA Tournament of Champions.

    Belmonte, who qualified for match play in 14th place, moved up to third place during Friday night's eight-game round of head-to-head match play and completed his charge into the lead Saturday, throwing games of 256 against P.J. Sonday of Luzerne, Pa., and 267 against Barnes before capping his round against Shafer, who had led the tournament since round two.

    201112PBAJasonBelmonte.jpg"I had fun all day," Belmonte (left) said. "But I lost a match to Dino (Castillo), 224-223, and I acted kind of childish. There's a difference between getting frustrated and acting childish, and I let that loss get to me.

    "But then I walked away and came back a different person. I looked at myself and said, hey, this is the U.S. Open. This is the biggest stage in the world, and I'm on it, and I needed to stop acting like a child. So I went into the locker room, calmed down and came back, and all of a sudden messengers were taking out 10 pins."

    Belmonte, the PBA Tour's 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, is still looking for his first major title. "Yes, I want to win a major," he said. "Why not make it the U.S. Open?"

    Saturday's final round of match play will be webcast live on the PBA's exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, at 6 p.m. Eastern.

     


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    69th U.S. Open - Sixth Round Results


    Players with position, hometown and 42-game total including match play bonus pins. * indicates non PBA members