Belmonte maintains lead after first round of match play in West Babylon


    2009-10 PBA Tour #17

    200910PBA13JasonBelmonte.jpgWith a 5-4 record and a 245.4 nine-game average in today's first match play round, two-hander Jason Belmonte (pictured) maintained his lead after three rounds of the PBA GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship at AMF Babylon Bowl.

    The Australian nearly bowled his third 300 game of the tournament in the final game of today's first block, rolling 299 in the final game. He left a 4 pin on the final shot of the 10th frame.

    "I think I put a little pressure on myself that last shot and it wasn't the best shot," Belmonte said. "But I'm here to win the tournament not bowl 300 games.

    "As well as I'm bowling I can't relax," the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year continued. "Hopefully I can avoid my usual slow start in tonight's block, but if things continue the way they have, I'll fall back in the standings and then hopefully come back strong at the end."

    Belmonte won the The Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic at AMF Babylon Bowl last season to become the first two-hander to win a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title.

    Belmont holds a 34-pin lead over amateur and former Tour player Brian Ziesig of nearby Levittown, N.Y., who had a 6-3 record in Friday's first match play round.

    "I've got a great cheering section that's for sure," said the 35-year-old Ziesig who works for Ace Mitchell Bowlers Mart in West Babylon. "Anything can happen tonight so I'm hoping for the best."

    Ziesig bowled on Tour in the 1998, 99 and 2000 seasons and had a best finish of 10th.

    "I've really prepared for this tournament practicing the last four weeks with plastic equipment, which probably is a little bit of an advantage over the other guys because they haven't had that opportunity," Ziesig added.

    The Plastic Ball Championship requires all players to use two specially-made Mark Roth plastic bowling balls incorporating 1970s-era technology.

    Two bowlers in a battle for Player of the Year honors—Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. and two-time Tour titlist Bill O'Neill are in third and four place, respectively. O'Neill leads Williams in the Player of the Year race by four points. Rounding out the top five is two-time titlist Michael Machuga.

    The field has now been cut to 16 players who will return this evening at 6 p.m. Eastern to bowl the final nine-game match play block that will determine the top five who will advance to Sunday's finals to be telecast by ESPN at 2 p.m. Eastern.


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    GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship - Third Round

    Players with position, hometown after 23 games, includes match play record, total pins including bonus. Top 16 advance to this evening's final match play round.

    1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 5-4, 5,725
    2, Brian Ziesig, Levittown, N.Y., 6-3, 5,691
    3, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 3-6, 5,611
    4, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 7-2, 5,592
    5, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 5-4, 5,551
    6, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 4-4-1, 5,543
    7, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 6-3, 5,483
    8, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 6-3, 5,468
    9, Johnny Petraglia Jr., Youngstown, Ohio, 6-3, 5,464
    10, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 4-5, 5,438
    11, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 6-3, 5,418
    12, Ronnie Russell, Camby, Ind., 4-4-1, 5,416, $100
    13, Alex Cavagnaro, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 3-6, 5,406
    14, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 3-6, 5,397
    15, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 5-4, 5,383
    16, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 6-3, 5,374

    Missed Cut:
    17, Brian Waliczek, Birch Run, Mich., 6-3, 5,370, $2,890
    18, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 6-3, 5,349, $2,700
    19, Cassidy Schaub, Ashland, Ohio, 6-3, 5,345, $2,600
    20, (tie) Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., 4-5, 5,333, and Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3-6, 5,333, $2,450
    22, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 4-5, 5,310, $2,300
    23, (tie) Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 5-4, 5,308, and Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2-7, 5,308, $2,225
    25, Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 3-5-1, 5,302, $2,150
    26, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 6-3, 5,272, $2,100
    27, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 2-7, 5,267, $2,050
    28, Derek Sapp, Keokuk, Iowa, 4-5, 5,233, $2,000
    29, (tie) Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 4-4-1, 5,232, and Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 4-5, 5,232, $1,925
    31, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 0-9, 5,174, $1,950
    32, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 4-5 5,116, $1,800