It’s hard not to like Belmo.

Australia’s Jason Belmonte became the first bowler in nearly 50 years to successfully defend a United States Bowling Congress Masters title Sunday as he defeated EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 221-177.

Belmonte, the reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year, opened up a big lead early and eased to the title at Brunswick Zone Carolier. With the victory, Belmonte, who earned $50,000 for the win, is just the third player to successfully defend a Masters title, joining Billy Welu (1964 and 1965) and Dick Hoover (1956 and 1957).

Belmonte, who won his ninth career PBA title and his third major, also added his name to a short list of players who have won back-to-back major titles. He won the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions in January and is the seventh player in history to win back-to-back majors.

The Masters, which featured a total prize fund of $315,000, is part of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour. A sold-out field of 468 players from 15 countries started the week in their quest to take home the trophy.

Belmonte joined the PBA in 2008, has nine PBA Titles and has earned more than $601,000 dollars in prize money.

In his first partial year on tour in 2008-09, he became the first two-handed bowler to win a PBA Tour event by capturing the Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic which helped him win rookie of the year honors.

Belmonte’s trademark style of keeping two-hands on the ball (which doesn’t have a thumb hole) through his swing allows him to spin the ball at nearly 600 revolutions per minute, at least 50 percent more than most one-handed pros.

Belmonte is so good you’d expect a movement to ban two-handed bowling. But at the last possible second before his release, Dell Ballard notes, Belmonte’s left hand comes off the ball, making him actually a one-handed bowler. It’s there beforehand only to keep the ball secure as he quickly makes his way to the line.

Love his style or not, he’s a force to be taken seriously on the PBA Tour

The Centex Men’s Travel League went to Mel’s Lone Star Lanes in Georgetown last weekend and the current standings have Bowlerama Men of War on top in District 1 with a record of 47 wins and 37 losses. Sparetime is second with a 46-42 record.

District 2 has Lake Aire Strikers of Waco on top at 54-34. Max Attack Pro Shop from Killeen is second with a record of 50.5-37.5.

The current high average is held by Brad Dewald with a 218.

Sandi Charles competed in the Texas State USBC Bluebonnet Tournament at Emerald Lanes and finished sixth overall with total pins of 2,124.

The Southwest Region PBA Tour director, Pete McCordic, captured the Texas State USBC Masters Tournament with a score of 2,531 after match play. McCordic is a member of the Greater Houston USBC.

Local bowler, Mark Morgan finished in 13th place with a score of 2,590.

Remember to mark your calendar and alert your bowling friends and league bowlers of the Scratch Tournament scheduled for March 9 at Hallmark Lanes. Bowling starts at 1 p.m. and it is the final scratch event prior to the Tournament of Champions.

Entries close on March 16 for the Greater Killeen-Fort Hood Men’s and Women’s Tournaments. The events will be held March 29-30 and April 5-6, with teams competing at Hallmark Lanes and doubles and singles at Killeen Bowlerama.

Well, I am off to my torture chamber to do my physical therapy on my shoulder. I have to get ready for Reno in June and see the doc in two weeks.

See you on the lanes.

Don Wright has been sharing insights on area/national bowling with Herald readers for more than 25 years. Contact him at

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