Bowling News USA - February 1, 2015 MASTERS News: Belmonte looks to make more history in Green Bay
Defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia fired the third 300 game of the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Last year, Jason Belmonte of Australia accomplished something that hadn't been done in nearly 50 years. Next week, he will attempt to accomplish something no bowler has done in the 64-year history of the United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Belmonte made history last year by becoming just the third player to win the USBC Masters in back-to-back years. No bowler has ever won the event three consecutive years.
The two-handed star will again be the player to beat when the 2015 USBC Masters kicks off with the first round of qualifying Tuesday, Feb. 4, at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The event will feature a sold-out field of 336 of the top professional and non-professional bowlers in the world.
Belmonte climbed the stepladder from the fourth position, eventually defeating top seed EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, 221-177, to win the 2014 Masters.
While no player has won the Masters three consecutive years, Belmonte will look to join USBC Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as just the second three-time champion. Aulby won the event in 1989, 1995 and 1998.
"I think my chances this year are no different than any other year," said Belmonte, who was named the 2014 PBA Player of the Year on Monday for the second consecutive year. "I must remain patient, make the best shots I can every frame and then get a little lucky along the way. If that happens, I will have a great opportunity to win again."
As the reigning champion, Belmonte is guaranteed a spot in the 64-player double-elimination match-play bracket. He will bowl qualifying to try to earn the highest seeding position possible.
All players will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the match-play field. The top 63 players will join Belmonte in the unique three-game, double-elimination bracket.
"I think the keys for me in the matches are patience, capitalizing on openings and a little luck," Belmonte said. "I don't try to win the match in the first game. I wait for the opening, and then I've really jumped on my opponents when they have made an error in the match. I have also been great at adding pressure to my opponents as the match unfolds."
The top five players at the conclusion of the bracket will advance to the stepladder finals and compete in the live two-hour championship round on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. ET.
The Masters, which features a first-place prize of $50,000 and a total prize fund of $253,000, is a major event on the PBA Tour and is part of the World Bowling Tour for the fourth consecutive season.
All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters will be covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. For subscription information, visitpba.com.
For more information on the Masters, visit BOWL.com/Masters.
Video | The Sport of Bowling - USBC
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