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With a 5-3 record, 2012-13 PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia, held a 249–pin lead over Dom Barrett of England after the first round of match play in the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions Monday night at Thunderbowl Lanes.

The 24 players still in contention will bowl two more eight-game match play rounds Tuesday to determine the five players who will compete in Sunday’s live stepladder finals on ESPN at noon ET.

Storm's Belmonte, a seven-time Tour winner, who is trying for his first Tournament of Champions title after finishing second in 2012 and third in 2013, finished with an 8,239 33-game pinfall including bonus for match wins. A win would also be his second major title after having won the United States Bowling Congress Masters in 2013.

Storm National Tour Representative Del Ballard Jr. reports that Belmonte stayed with the Roto Grip Uproar on Monday, while Barrett used an IQ Tour Pearl, Roto Grip Asylum, and IQ Tour Edition.

“I started slow and finished strong, said Belmonte, who has led since the tournament’s second round. “I thought the conditions would play more into my hands toward the end of the round and I would have the opportunity to put up some big numbers. That’s the goal put up the big numbers and add to the lead.”

Barrett, the winner of the PBA World Championship last November in Las Vegas had a 6-2 match play record and finished the round with 7,990. Sixteen-time Tour titlist and 2006 Tournament of Champions winner Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, is in third finishing the round with a 5-3 record and a 7,880 total.

Rounding out the top five were 2013 U.S. Open winner Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, who finished the round in fourth with a 6-1-1 record and 7,876 total, and Dan MacLelland of Canada who ended the round with a 5-3 record 7,861 total.

Among other Tournament of Champions winners in the top 24 were defending champion and 1987 winner Pete Weber in 7th, 2011 winner Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich. in 15th, 2007 winner Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., in 16th, and 2012 winner and 2011-12 Player of the Year Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., in 17th.

First alternate, 2009 PBA World Championship winner Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., who was runner-up to Koivuniemi in the 2011 Tournament of Champions, replaced 2009 winner Patrick Allen who qualified 24th but had to withdraw because of injury. Smallwood made the most of the opportunity with a 6-2 record and finishing the round in 10th.

Bowling legend and 17-time PBA Tour titlist Carmen Salvino of Schaumburg, Ill., who is the oldest player to compete in a PBA Tour event at age 80, completed competition in his record 29th Tournament of Champions after Monday’s final qualifying round. His best career finish was in the inaugural event in 1962 in Indianapolis finishing third.

“It was a great experience and honor to bowl in a field like this,” said Salvino, who finished 77th with a 4,516 pinfall total for 25 games. “But after the way I bowled I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board, get the barbells out, get more sleep, eat better and throw it like you’re supposed to.”


Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.

Monday’s results

SIXTH ROUND (after 33 games, including won-lost records and match play bonus pins)

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 5-3, 8,239. 
2, Dom Barrett, England, 6-2, 7,990. 
3, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 5-3, 7,880. 
4, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 6-1-1, 7,876. 
5, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 5-3, 7,861. 
6, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 4-4, 7,773. 
7, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4-4, 7,759. 
8, Stuart Williams, England, 5-3, 7,713. 
9, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 3-5, 7,712. 
10, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 6-2, 7,685. 
11, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 5-3, 7,678. 
12, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 4-4, 7,675. 
13, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 4-4, 7,668. 
14, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3-5, 7,645. 
15, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 4-3-1, 7,636. 
16, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3-5, 7,608. 
17, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 4-4-0, 7,578. 
18, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 4-4, 7,568. 
19, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 4-4, 7,566. 
20, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 2-6, 7,537. 
21, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 3-5, 7,536. 
22, Jason Poli, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2-6, 7,494. 
23, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 3-5, 7,341. 
24, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 1-7, 7,338.

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