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Zavjalova, Belmonte capture World Bowling Tour finals titles


Two-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour champion Diana Zavjalova of Latvia and three-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia concluded the 2017 World Bowling Tour with victory in the World Bowling Tour women’s and men’s finals, which were held in conjunction with PBA World Series of Bowling IX.

Pictured above from left: PBA CEO & Commissioner Tom Clark, wmen’s winner Diana Zavjalova, men’s winner Jason Belmonte and World Bowling CEO Kevin Dornberger.

Zavjalova delivered a strike in the final frame at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada on Sunday to capture her first World Bowling Tour Finals title.

The strike forced two-time defending champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, to do the same in the 10th frame to win, but a 10 pin denied McEwan her third consecutive title, giving Zavjalova the win, 235-232.

Zavjalova earned $12,500 for the win, while McEwan pocketed $7,500.

The semi-final and final matches were contested on the 39-foot Seoul pattern from World Bowling’s bank of oil patterns and featured the “Current Frame” scoring system, where players earned 30 pins a frame for each strike and 10 pins, plus the total from their first shot of that frame, for a spare. Players earned their total pinfall for the frame for an open.

Bowlers only compete for 10 frames in the “Current Frame” system, so there are no additional shots in the 10th frame if a player strikes or spares. The maximum score still is 300.

Zavjalova, who was the top seed, trailed through the first four frames of the match, which included an open in the second. She came back to take the lead in the fifth and remained clean through the end of the match.

Following an open in the sixth, McEwan rallied for strikes in frames seven, eight and nine, but was denied in the 10th frame.

Zavjalova, who lives in Austin, Texas, didn’t completely feel comfortable during the title match but ultimately it was enough to claim victory.

“I woke up and everything felt off,” Zavjalova said. “When I went to the TV pair before my match, I didn’t feel comfortable, and I honestly didn’t feel comfortable throughout the entire match. During the last couple frames, I told myself, ‘you know what, it’s going to happen every now and then and you have to deal with whatever you have in front of you. So, your uncomfortable is going to be good enough to win.’ And, it was.”

In the semifinal match, McEwan bested Malaysia’s Shalin Zulkifli, 244-231. Zulkifli took home $5,000 for finishing in third place.

Australia’s Jason Belmonte defeated Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, in a one-ball roll-off, 10-8, to win the men’s title and the $12,500 prize after both players finished with 267.

Kent began the title match with five consecutive strikes and seven of the first eight, but Belmonte stayed close, rolling five consecutive strikes of his own starting in the second frame.

Kent missed a 10 pin in the ninth frame to open the door for Belmonte to claim the win with a strike in the 10th frame. Belmonte left a 10 pin, which he spared for 267, allowing Kent to strike and force a roll-off.

Belmonte, the top seed, elected to start the roll-off and delivered a strike, forcing Kent to match. Kent was unable to do so, leaving a 2-8. Kent earned $7,500 for the runner-up finish.

“It means a lot,” Belmonte said. “The World Bowling Tour Finals is an event I’ve been in quite a few times, but I’ve never performed well in the finals and I don’t know why. In the past, I’ve thrown a few errant shots here and there, but when you think about all the traveling you do across the year, and in today’s case, it came down to one shot. Bowling in Sweden, Thailand and the United States, when you think of it like that, to make one shot to be the champion of it all, it really does mean a lot to me.”

In the men’s semifinal, Kent delivered in a must-strike situation to edge Jesper Svensson of Sweden, 231-224. Svensson took home $5,000 for the third-place finish.

The 2017 World Bowling Tour Finals followed the PBA World Championship finals Sunday and were taped the finals for broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. EST.

The top 3 men and women received their spots in the finals based on accumulating points earned in 2017 World Bowling Tour events to compete for $12,500, $7,500 and $5,000 in prize money.

2017 World Bowling Tour Finals

ESPN delayed telecast airs on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. ET.

Women’s Finals
1. Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 235 (1 game), $12,500
2. Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 476 (2 games), $7,500
3. Shalin Zulkifli, Malaysia, 231 (1 game), $5,000

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 2 McEwan def. No. 3 Zulkifli, 244-231
Championship: No. 1 Zavjalova def. McEwan, 235-232.

Men’s Finals
1. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 267 (1 game), $12,500
2. Marshall Kent, Yakima, Washington, 498 (2 games) $7,500
3. Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 224 (1 game), $5,000

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 3 Kent def. No. 2 Svensson, 231-224
Championship: No. 1 Belmonte def. Kent, 10-8, in roll-off after a 67-267 tie.

Herbert Bickel

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