Jason Belmonte earns top seed for PBA GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship


    2009-10 PBA Tour #17

    Two-hander rolls three 300s and two 299 games in the tournament

    2010PBCPIAJasonBelmonte.jpgAustralian two-hander Jason Belmonte (pictured left) earned the top seed for Sunday's stepladder finals of the Professional Bowlers Association GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship Friday at AMF Babylon Lanesl.

    The 2008-09 Rookie of the Year had a 10-8 match play record and 32-game 8,081 overall pinfall total to edge out amateur Brian Ziesig of Levittown, N.Y., for the top spot by 11 pins. Ziesig, a former Tour player, qualified second for the finals with a 12-6 match play record and 8,070 pinfall.

    The unique Plastic Ball Championship requires all players to use two specially-made Mark Roth plastic bowling balls incorporating 1970s-era technology. Sunday's finals will be telecast by ESPN at 2 p.m. Eastern.

    Belmonte bowled three 300s and two 299 games in the tournament. He bowled one 300 Friday in addition to the 299s in which he left a 4 pin on the final shot of the first one and an 8 pin on the final shot of the second.

    200910PBA11WalterRayWilliams2.jpgThe record for most 300s in a PBA Tour event by an individual is four held by three bowlers—Dave D'Entremont, John Bauerle Jr. and Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. (right), who qualified as the No. 3 seed for Sunday's finals.

    "The 300 game in the first game really surprised me but the rest of the block went as I expected," said Belmonte of Friday's second nine-game match play block. "I had to hang in there as the block went on but then I started to get stronger toward the end like I usually do."

    Belmonte, who has two second-place finishes this season, won 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.

    "I love this place and apparently it loves me," Belmonte added. "Being the top seed is where I want to be."

    The 35-year-old Ziesig, who earned his way into the field through Wednesday's tour qualifying round, bowled on Tour in the 1998, '99 and 2000 seasons with a best finish of 10th.

    "I've really prepared for this tournament by 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 said. "I've had tremendous support from the hometown fans so even with all that preparation it's way more than I could have imagined."

    200910PBAWayneGarber_small.jpg200910PBAMikeMachuga_small.jpgWilliams, PBA's all-time leader in career Tour titles, will be trying for his 48th title and third of the season having won the season opening Motor City Open and the United States Bowling Congress Masters in February. With one tournament remaining after the Plastic Ball Championship Williams is making a run at a record seventh Player of the Year honor.

    Competing in the opening stepladder match will be No. 4 seed Wayne Garber (left) of Modesto, Calif., trying for his first title against No. 5 seed and two-time Tour titlist Michael Machuga (right) of Erie, Pa. Garber finished second in the Pepsi Red, White and Blue Classic presented by USBC earlier this season.


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    GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship - Fourth Round

    Players with position, hometown after 32 games, includes match play record, total pins including bonus. The top five players advance to Sunday's stepladder finals.

    1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 10-8, 8,081
    2, Brian Ziesig, Levittown, N.Y., 12-6, 8,070
    3, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 9-9, 7,944
    4, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 11-6-1, 7,912
    5, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 9-9, 7,825

    Missed Cut:
    6, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 12-6, 7,818, $4,500
    7, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 12-6, 7,800, $4,300
    8, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 10-8, 7,777, $4,100
    9, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 9-9, 7,701, $3,900
    10, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 10-8, 7,628, $3,700
    11, Johnny Petraglia Jr., Youngstown, Ohio, 10-8, 7,622, $3,600
    12, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 7-11, 7,559, $3,500
    13, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 11-7, 7,533, $3,400
    14, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 8-10, 7,513, $3,400
    15, Ronnie Russell, Camby, Ind., 7-10-1, 7,506, $3,300
    16, Alex Cavagnaro, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 4-14, 7,334, $3,100

    300 games – Jason Belmonte, Robert Smith