RENO, Nev. - Australian two-handed superstar Jason Belmonte leads a group of 16 undefeated players remaining in the winners bracket at the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Masters being held at the National Bowling Stadium this week.
The group includes five past Masters champions, Rick Steelsmith (1987), Doug Kent (1991 and 2006), Parker Bohn III (2001), Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Jan. 2004) and Mike Scroggins (2005) and Thursday's qualifying leader, Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio.
Prior to this week's Masters, Belmonte spent a week in Australia with his wife, Kimberly, and their 5-week-old daughter, Aria Rose, and although the visit didn't turn out exactly how he hoped, he did get some much needed rest and a little motivation.
"I was very sick and in bed for most of the week, but just hearing Aria cry from the other room was enough for me to know she was healthy and doing well," Belmonte said. "I didn't get to see her much, but I definitely got a lot of rest. I'm glad I went home, but I'm also glad to be back out here. It's the back half of the season, the business half, and now is the time to prove you want to be here. I want to do well for me, and I want to do well for Aria."
Although he's still not feeling 100 percent better, the 26-year-old Belmonte is rolling along at the Masters, where he earned the No. 2 seed after 15 games of qualifying and started match play with wins against 1990 Masters champion Chris Warren (658-580) and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli (671-610).
Belmonte, the 2008-09 PBA Rookie of the Year, may be relatively new to the Tour, but he definitely understands the significance of winning a major championship.
"Everyone holds the major championship wins above all else because there are only four majors each year, and they are so hard to win," said Belmonte, who owns one standard title on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour. "Of course I want this tournament more than most. Winning a major is a dream. I've bowled well this week and my first two matches went how I wanted them to, so I'm happy. My goal the rest of the way is to throw the best shot I can every time I step up on the approach. If I do that, I'll still be happy, no matter what the outcome is."
Loschetter overcame a major personal obstacle when he started match play with a 673-573 win against Tim Mack of Indianapolis. He also defeated Tony Reyes of San Bruno, Calif., 705-638.
"This is the first time I won my first match at this tournament, and that was a really big hump to get over," said Loschetter, who also was the top qualifier in 2007, but finished match play with a 1-2 record. "I'm definitely pleased with how I've bowled so far, but it's been a long day. I'm ready to get some rest so I can come back and bowl well again tomorrow."
After Thursday's competition, only 32 of the event's 267 competitors remain in the hunt for the $50,000 top prize and two-year PBA Tour exemption.
When competition resumes Friday at 1 p.m. EST, Loschetter will face Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan., while Belmonte takes on Joe Ciccone of Buffalo, N.Y.
Defending champion John Nolen of Grand Blanc, Mich., opened the day with a 668-662 win against former Team USA member Derek Eoff of Arlington, Texas, but then fell to Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 696-642, and John May of Lincolnton, N.C., 699-595, in consecutive matches.
2010 USBC MASTERS
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Name/hometown followed by three-game pinfall total)
OPENING MATCH PLAY ROUND
(Winners remain in winners bracket. Losers move to losers bracket)
(1) Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, def. (61) Tim Mack, Indianapolis, 673-573
(33) Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., def. (29) Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 697-636
(45) Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., def. (17) Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 643-642
(13) Rick Steelsmith, Wichita, Kan., def. (49) John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., 695-684
(41) Jonathan Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., def. (21) Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 588-586
(9) Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., def. (53) Ryan Abel, Bel Aire, Kan., 596-594
(25) Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., def. (37) Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 614-595
(5) Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., def. (57) Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 729-695
(3) Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. (63) Paul Bober, Morton Grove, Ill., 634-631
(35) Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., def. (31) Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 684-501
(19) Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., def. (47) Ronnie Horton, Christiansburg, Va., 717-661
(15) Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., def. (51) John May, Lincolnton, N.C., 688-594
(43) Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland, def. (23) Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 662-619
(11) Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, def. (55) Daniel Miyamoto, Mililani, Hawaii, 702-652
(27) Andrew Cain, Phoenix, def. (39) Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 703-639
(59) Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., def. (7) Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 679-654
(2) Jason Belmonte, Australia, def. (62) Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 658-580
(30) Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, def. (34) Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 636-611
(18) Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., def. (46) Bob Aleksinski, Hillsboro, Ore., 700-582
(14) Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., def. (50) PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 695-575
(42) Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., def. (22) Andres Gomez, Colombia, 617-532
(54) Erik Vermilyea, Mansfield, Texas, def. (10) Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 648-575
(26) Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., def. (38) Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 617-564
(58) Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., def. (6) Vinny D'Ambrosio III, Staten Island, N.Y., 647-645
(4) Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. (64) Jon Brandon, Santa Clarita, Calif., 634-552
(32) John Nolen, Grand Blanc, Mich., def. (36) Derek Eoff, Arlington, Texas, 668-662
(48) Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., def. (20) Andrew Frawley, Australia, 588-532
(52) Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., def. (16) Andrew Loose, Chicago, 633-558
(24) Mike DeVaney, San Diego, def. (44) David Langer, Brooklyn Park, Minn., 652-546
(56) Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., def. (12) Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 678-670
(28) Dave Wodka, Chatsworth, Calif., def. (40) Dan Bock, Albert Lea, Minn., 666-661
(8) Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (60) Matthew O'Grady, South Amboy, N.J., 685-545
ROUND 1 WINNERS BRACKET
Loschetter def. Reyes, 705-638
Steelsmith def. Page, 716-688
Weber def. Van Hees, 746-648
O'Neill def. Shafer, 646-616
Smallwood def. P. Allen, 609-591
Williams Jr. def. McCune, 680-630
Scroggins def. Lehtonen, 556-543
Bohn III def. Cain, 699-622
Belmonte def. Monacelli, 671-610
Ciccone def. Jurek, 602-570
Ciminelli def. Vermilyea, 696-672
Carter def. Edwards, 683-608
Barnes def. Nolen, 696-642
Boresch Jr. def. Newell, 577-566
Kent def. DeVaney, 625-578
Malott def. Wodka, 708-593
ROUND 1 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,600)
Bock def. Mack, 617-507
R. Allen def. O'Grady, 682-633
Haugen Jr. def. Langer, 644-643
Koivuniemi def. Janawicz, 656-587
Fagan def. Frawley, 701-592
Abel def. Loose, 659-627
Brandon def. LeClair, 652-604
Angelo def. Eoff, 671-603
Waliczek def. Bober, 594-586
MacLelland def. D'Ambrosio III, 647-610
Gomez def. Horton, 581-545
May def. Castillo, 593-588
Voss def. Aleksinski, 598-542
Haggerty def. Miyamoto, 626-555
Harman def. Warren, 604-580
Jones def. VanDaniker Jr., 632-586
ROUND 2 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $1,900)
Bock def. Cain, 601-593
R. Allen def. McCune, 694-647
Haugen Jr. def. Lehtonen, 667-666
P. Allen def. Koivuniemi, 721-636
Van Hees def. Fagan, 603-569
Reyes def. Abel, 759-544
Shafer def. Brandon, 595-572
Angelo def. Page, 646-632
Wodka def. Waliczek, 671-654
Newell def. MacLelland, 588-561
Gomez def. DeVaney, 733-729
May def. Nolen, 699-595
Vermilyea def. Voss, 621-597
Haggerty def. Monacelli, 592-580
Edwards def. Harman, 687-655
Jurek def. Jones, 697-624