(Chris Schlemer, Pete Weber, Wes Malott, Dom Barrett, Jason Belmonte, Del Ballard Jr.)
Roto Grip star Wes Malott will make a 'Major' bid for the PBA Tournament of champions title!
Storm's Jason Belmonte led a group of four reigning Professional Bowlers Association major tournament titlists who qualified for the stepladder finals of the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions Tuesday at Thunderbowl Lanes.
Belmonte used the Roto Grip Uproar all week.
It marked the first time that four reigning major winners have qualified for the finals which will be telecast live Sunday on ESPN at noon ET.
After earning all eight finalist spots in the 2013 Men's and Women's U.S Open, Storm and Roto Grip staffers almost turned another hat trick at the Tournament of Champions, garnering four of the five finalist positions.
Belmonte, the newly crowned 2012-13 PBA Player of the Year, and the winner of the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Masters is one win away from winning his second major title.
“It was really important to make it the finals after just getting Player of the Year,” said Belmonte, who averaged 243 for the tournament. “I wanted to keep the momentum going. You don’t have that many opportunities to be in this spot especially in a major so you really want to take advantage of these situations.”
After leading four of five qualifying rounds and all three match play rounds, Belmonte finished with an 18-6 match play record and 12,451 49-game pinfall (including bonus for match wins) to finish 363 pins ahead of no. 2 qualifier three-time Tour winner and Storm staffer Dom Barrett of England who won the PBA World Championship last November in Las Vegas. Barrett finished with a 12,088 overall pinfall and 16-7-1 match play record.
A seven-time PBA Tour winner, Belmonte, who uses a unique two-handed delivery, is trying to win his first Tournament of Champions title after finishing second in 2013 and third in 2012.
Qualifying third with the help of a 17-6-1 match play record was 2013 U.S. Open winner and Roto Grip staffer Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas. Finishing with a 11,974 pinfall, The 2008-09 Player of the Year will be trying for his 10th Tour title and second major.
Qualifying fourth was Dan MacLelland of Canada who finished with a 11,687 pinfall and a 15-9 match play record. He will be trying for his first PBA Tour title.
Qualifying for the fifth and final spot with a 15-9 match play record and 11,671 pinfall was defending champion and Storm staffer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. Weber won the 2013 Tournament of Champions by defeating Belmonte 224-179 in the title match. The win tied Earl Anthony for most PBA major titles (10) and he became the only player to win PBA’s Triple Crown twice.
At age 50, the PBA Hall of Famer also became the oldest player to win the title and moved into a tie for third with Norm Duke on the all-time Tour titles list with 37 wins. A win would make Weber the third three-time champion, joining fellow Hall of Famers Mike Durbin and Jason Couch who also accomplished the feat.
The stepladder finals will also feature the return of the revolutionary blue lane conditioning oil that was introduced at the World Series of Bowling last November. The blue oil provides fans with a visual reference for PBA lane conditioning oil application and the challenges players face.
49TH BARBASOL PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
FINAL MATCH PLAY STANDINGS
(after 49 games, including won-lost records, match play bonus pins, money earned; top five advance to stepladder finals live on ESPN Sunday at noon ET)
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 18-6, 12,451.
2, Dom Barrett, England, 16-7-1, 12,088.
3, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 17-6-1, 11,974.
4, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 15-9, 11,687.
5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 15-9, 11,671.
6, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 12-12, 11,596, $7,000.
7, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 14-10, 11,570, $6,000.
8, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 12-11-1, 11,465, $5,500.
9, Stuart Williams, England, 13-11, 11,446, $5,000.
10, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 11-12-1, 11,426, $4,500.
11, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 12-12, 11,412, $4,000.
12, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 14-10, 11,401, $3,600.
13, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 10-13-1, 11,378, $3,400.
14, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 13-11, 11,366, $2,620*.
15, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 11-11-2, 11,365, $3,200.
16, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 12-12, 11,330, $3,000.
17, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 11-12-1, 11,287, $2,800.
18, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 9-15, 11,136, $2,600.
19, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 9-14-1, 11,099, $2,500.
20, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 9-14-1, 11,052, $2,400.
21, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 7-17-0, 11,011, $2,300.
22, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 11-13-0, 10,954, $2,200.
23, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 7-17, 10,899, $2,100.
24, Jason Poli, West Des Moines, Iowa, 5-19, 10,767, $2,000.
*As alternate Smallwood split earnings with Patrick Allen who finished 25th