BY JEF GOODGER
His win in THE STORM CUP: PBA Lubbock Sports Open is the 29th of his career
Jason Belmonte won three matches in the stepladder finals of THE STORM CUP: PBA Lubbock Sports Open to claim his fourth title of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour season and second in three THE STORM CUP events. Belmonte defeated Jesper Svensson, Sean Lavery-Spahr and top seed EJ Tackett to claim the title at South Plains Lanes in Lubbock, Texas.
In the championship match, Belmonte needed two strikes in the 10th after Tackett left a solid 9 pin that gave Belmonte a chance.
“I don’t think we will ever see a more solid 9 pin in our lives,” said Belmonte of Tackett’s bad break. “In these situations, it can be a coin flip. I had just a little bit more luck than he did.”
Tackett finished with 245 before Belmonte struck twice, then knocked down nine more pins to win his fourth title of the season. It’s the third time in Belmonte’s career he’s won four times in a single season. The other two times—2017 and 2019—led to two of his six PBA Player of the Year Awards.
To get to Tackett, Belmonte first had to defeat 11-time PBA Tour champion Svensson, who is the only player aside from Belmonte to win a THE STORM CUP event so far. The match was close most of the way until Svensson left and failed to convert a 5-10 late.
In the semifinal match, Belmonte got past Lavery-Spahr, who was attempting to win his first title. A slow start for both players came down to Belmonte needing to fill 29 in the 10th to shut out Lavery-Spahr, which is exactly what Belmonte did, taking a 202-201 victory.
Now with 29 PBA Tour titles, Belmonte is tied with Mike Aulby for eighth all-time, one behind Dick Weber, who won 30 times in his PBA career. Belmonte and Aulby are also the only two players ever to complete the Super Slam of all five major championships.
The win also increases Belmonte’s lead in both the PBA Playoffs points race and THE STORM CUP points race, the latter of which pays a $ 10,000 bonus to the player with the most points over the course of the four events. THE STORM CUP concludes with THE STORM CUP: PBA Colorado Springs Open beginning Wednesday. Only two players—Svensson and Tackett—are capable of catching Belmonte, but can only do so with a win in Colorado Springs along with a very low finish from Belmonte.
- Jason Belmonte, earns $ 20,000
- EJ Tackett, $ 12,000
- Sean Lavery-Spahr, $ 7,000
- Jesper Svensson, $ 5,500
Match 1 – No. 3 Belmonte def. No. 4 Svensson, 246-221
Match 2 – No. 3 Belmonte def. No. 2 Lavery-Spahr, 202-201
Match 3 – No. 3 Belmonte def. No. 1 Tackett, 245-253