Jason Belmonte of Australia, the franchise player of the Los Angeles X, reached the finals of the Barbasol Professional Bowlers Assn. Tournament of Champions on Sunday, but he was subdued in the championship match by heralded Pete Weber.
The top-seeded Weber, a PBA Hall of Famer, overwhelmed Belmonte, 224-179, at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis to tie Earl Anthony for the most PBA major titles with 10.
The 50-year-old Weber of St. Ann, Mo., also became the first player to win the PBA Triple Crown for a second time.
The second-seeded Belmonte won his opening game by eliminating defending champion Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 229-171, in a semifinal match between two arch-rivals.
Before the match, Belmonte said of the bad feelings that existed with Rash: “I can promise you that I have attempted to the extreme to build a relationship there. Unfortunately, it’s not a two-way street. He has his own reasons why.”
And Belmonte added: “I can’t allow my personal relationship to affect my game.”
Wearing a confident smile, the 29-year-old Belmonte opened his game against Rash with five straight strikes and was never headed. Rash, who edged Belmonte for PBA 2011-12 player of the year, mustered only two strikes – in the third and seventh frames.
Against Weber, Belmonte got down in the third frame after opening with two strikes and never caught up. Weber took a 23-pin lead midway through the match.
Meanwhile, Belmonte was plagued with the 4-10 split on three occasions (third, seventh and eighth frames), one of which he converted.
“Ultimately, when you play your idol,” said Belmonte about Weber afterwards, “it doesn’t matter the result. I was really happy.
“If he’s not the most talented player to ever walk on Earth, he’s certainly the greatest guy.”
It was Weber’s second PBA Tournament of Champions title to go with five U.S. Open championships and two PBA world titles to complete the PBA’s Triple Crown for the second time. Weber won his first Tournament of Champions back in 1978.
Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., began the stepladder finals with a 217-189 victory over Osku Palermaa of Finland, who never really found his groove.
Rash then outscored Jones, 247-233, in the second match.
Weber picked up $50,000 for the victory. Belmonte earned $25,000, Rash $15,000, Jones $12,000 and Palermaa $10,000.