Australia's Jason Belmonte wins PBA Oklahoma Open for 10th career title


    2014 PBA50 Tour #6

    Two-handed star tops No. 1 qualifier E.J. Tackett for title on demanding Bear lane condition

    2014PBA06JasonBelmonte5.jpgA2014PBA06EJTackett.jpgustralia's Jason Belmonte (pictured left with the trophy) won four straight matches on a demanding Bear lane condition, including a 193-145 decision over top qualifier E.J. Tackett (right) of Huntington, Ind., in the title match to win his 10th career title in the Professional Bowlers Association Oklahoma Open at the Grand Casino Resort Event Center.

    In a competition that mirrored the 64th United States Bowling Congress Masters held earlier in the year, reigning PBA Player of the Year Belmonte came into the Oklahoma Open finals as the No. 5 qualifier and won four consecutive matches for the victory. Belmonte also went from fifth to first in the Masters when he also defeated Tackett for that title.

    The finals of the fourth of five Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing events, contested on the flat 40-foot Bear lane condition, have been staged May 25 at Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort Events Center in Shawnee, Okla., for tape-delay broadcast on June 24 on CBS Sports Network.

    2014PBA06EJTackett2.jpgTackett, as the leading qualifier, earned the right to select the lane condition for the finals and he opted for the demanding U.S. Open-style oiling pattern. The difficulty of the scoring conditions resulted in the first PBA Tour finals in history without a 200 game.

    2014PBA06JasonBelmonte2.jpgBelmonte, who won $18,000 and a berth in the end-of-series Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing special event, reached the 10 career titles milestone in only 80 PBA Tour events, the second-fastest in PBA history behind legendary hall of famer Dick Weber. Weber won 10 of the first 23 PBA events held between 1959 and 1962.

    The Australian two-handed star's climb to the Oklahoma Open title – his third of the 2014 season – was even more impressive considering he was in seventh place going into the final game of match play at FireLake Bowling Center earlier in the week, and threw a 256 game to move up two places and qualify for the CBS Sports Network finals.

    "The one thing I really pride myself on is I don't care how bad I'm bowling or how low I'm scoring, every time I throw a ball it's with everything I've got," Belmonte said. "That's what you have to do on the PBA Tour. I knew I still had a mathematical chance and I never gave up."

    2014PBA06TommyJones.jpg2014PBA06BillONeill2.jpgBelmonte began his march to the title with a 187-171 decision over Tommy Jones (left) of Simpsonville, S.C., throwing three strikes in the 10th frame after failing to convert the 3-4-6-7-10 split in the ninth frame to clinch the win. Jones threw strikes on four of his five shots on the left lane, but his failure to strike on the right lane cost him a chance to win.

    After struggling on the right lane throughout the second match, Belmonte threw two clutch strikes in the 10th frame to rally from a 25-pin deficit and eliminate Bill O'Neill (right) of Langhorne, Pa., 199-191. O'Neill also could have won with a double in the 10th frame, but left a 2 pin after striking on his first shot.

    2014PBA06ChrisLoschetter2.jpgIn the semifinal match, Belmonte's error-free game was enough to get past Chris Loschetter (left) of Avon, Ohio, 194-175. Belmonte and Loschetter each threw only three strikes the entire game, but Loschetter's one open frame gave the Australian the margin he needed.

    In the championship match, Tackett started with two strikes but then the challenging lane condition got the best of him. Belmonte broke open a 74-74 tie in the fifth frame with a string of three strikes and Tackett never challenged.

    "Today was a matter of trying to not leave any splits and make the spares you did leave. I did horribly on my spares in the title match," Belmonte said, "but the lanes were brutal and E.J. couldn't get on a run, so it ended up being not so bad for me.

    "Generally when a lane condition breaks down, it goes from fresh oil to a transition and then you'll have something stable for about a game. Then there will be another transition where you have a bit of room. But today it felt like the condition changed every two or three frames, and you didn't know if the ball was going to hook or not," he continued. "It was really tough making adjustments. I kept hoping the lanes would calm down, but they never did.

    "Pretty much everyone except Tommy (Jones) and I got off to fast starts, but after a couple of shots in each match, the balls started doing silly things. Splits were common, spares were tough, so after E.J. started with two strikes, I told myself to just hang in there.

    "Today was a grind fest and I lasted longer than the other guys."

    A pre-game show for each PBA Summer Swing event will be posted on PBA's subscription-based online bowling channel, Xtra Frame and on PBA's YouTube page on Monday prior to the telecast. Post-game shows will air on Xtra Frame and YouTube following each telecast. The complete telecast of each event will be archived on Xtra Frame seven days after the original air date.


    Related Articles:

    E.J. Tackett captures top berth in PBA Oklahoma Open finals
    Bill O'Neill slows Brian Valenta express to win PBA Badger Open
    Ronnie Russell wins PBA Bear Open for second PBA Tour title
    Sean Rash rolls 300, strikes his way to PBA Wolf Open title
    2014 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions


    PBA Oklahoma Open - Stepladder Finals

    Qualifying at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., United States (May 19-22, 2014); Finals at Grand Casino Resort Events Center (May 25, 2014)




    Championship Round:
    1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 773 (4 games), $18,000
    2, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 145 (1 game), $9,000
    3, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 175 (1 game), $7,000
    4, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 191 (1 game), $6,000
    5, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 171 (1 game), $5,000

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: No. 5 Belmonte def. No. 4 Jones, 187-171
    Second Match: Belmonte def. No. 3 O'Neill, 199-191
    Third Match: Belmonte def. No. 2 Loschetter, 194-175
    Championship: Belmonte def. No. 1 Tackett, 193-145.