BY JEF GOODGER
His 27th PBA Tour title is his second of the season
Kokomo, Ind.—Jason Belmonte won his second Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour title of the season and 27th of his career, leading every round of THE STORM CUP: David Small’s Kokomo Championship and ultimately defeating Nick Pate in the championship match at Heritage Lanes.
After Belmonte failed to double in the 10th frame, leaving a 10 pin on his second shot, Pate had a chance to win, needing two strikes and count in the final frame to win. Like Belmonte, Pate got the first strike but left a 10 pin on his second shot.
“I was really nervous,” Belmonte said of watching Pate. “All you can do is throw the ball where you’re looking and we both did that. We both left a 10 pin, but he could’ve easily struck on that shot. If it were to be, he would be fully deserving.”
Pate qualified third for the stepladder finals and advanced to the title match with wins over Anthony Simonsen and EJ Tackett. Pate put up the front seven against Belmonte’s front six in the championship match, but a split in the eighth frame and the stubborn 10 pin cost Pate the chance at his first career title.
Belmonte, who is the all-time record holder with 14 major championships, is now ninth all-time in total PBA Tour titles, passing “Kokomo Kid” Don Johnson, who won 26 times in his career. Belmonte has competed in all four events so far this season, winning two and finishing third in the U.S. Open.
The win also moved Belmonte into first place in THE STORM CUP standings, giving him a 110-point lead over second place Pate, who is the only player to have qualified for the stepladder finals in both THE STORM CUP events this season. Belmonte also increased his lead in the PBA Playoffs race, now holding a nearly 5,000-point advantage over Anthony Simonsen.
- Jason Belmonte, earns $ 20,000
- Nick Pate, $ 12,000
- EJ Tackett, $ 7,000
- Anthony Simonsen, $ 5,500
Match 1 – No. 3 Pate def. No. 4 Simonsen, 237-226
Match 2 – No. 3 Pate def. No. 2 Tackett, 237-186
Match 3 – No. 1 Belmonte def. No. 3 Pate, 249-243