The final round of the AMF Australian Masters was held on Sunday, Oct. 28, in Sydney, Australia. The AMF Australian Masters was part of the PBA International Tour, so the winning bowler would be credited with a PBA title. For such a large scale tournament, there were very few of the world's best bowlers in attendance. This may be due to the fact that they were all getting ready for the beginning of the PBA Tour, which is set to begin on November 2nd. There may not have been a lot of major stars taking part in the tournament, but it still featured two of the five best bowlers in the world with Jason Belmonte and Sean Rash both bowling in the tournament. Jason Belmonte was the favorite heading into the tournament bowling in his home country, and he did not disappoint his fans on his way to his fifth career PBA title.
Sean Rash and Jason Belmonte were sitting in the top two positions in the standings with only six more games left to bowl before the championship round. Rash would maintain his lead at the top of the standings, but Belmonte would fall to third heading into the final round. While Belmonte was the favorite heading into the tournament, Rash had to be the clear favorite prior to the title round. Rash was holding a 249.25 average for the entire tournament, which was over 12 pins better than Belmonte's 237.08.
The top eight bowlers would bowl head-to-head in best of three matches in the championship round until there was only one bowler left standing. Sean Rash had to face Eric Tseng of Hong Kong in his first match, and would advance two games to one. Belmonte would cruise to two easy victories over Michael Little to advance further in the tournament. Belmonte would then have no trouble getting by Christian Purdue in two games to make it to the title match. He would face Sean Rash in the title match after Rash got by Chris Castle in three games.
Both bowlers would struggle in the first game of the title match, but Belmonte would be able to squeak out a 174-172 victory. They would both step up the bowling in the next match, which saw Rash win by the score of 255-223. The third and final match would decide the tournament winner, and it would be Jason Belmonte who would be able to take home the title by winning 256-243.
I have considered Jason Belmonte to be the best bowler in the world for the past year after his performance on the PBA Tour last season. I believed he should have won the PBA Player of the Year award, but he ultimately lost to Sean Rash. Based on how they both performed in this tournament, I think he are in store for more battles this season on the PBA Tour. A nice little rivalry is building with these two bowlers, and I think we will see them battle many times in the years ahead.
Jake has been an avid bowler since the age of 8, and regularly follows the sport of bowling throughout the year.