Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Is Belmonte Dominating the U.S. Open?

I just don't understand it. As I wrote the other day, the U.S. Open is supposed to feature the tougest lane conditions on tour, with a flat oil pattern that separates the men from the boys and makes even the men weep and wail and gnash their teeth. So it would stand to reason that the low to medium rev, board-splitting, grind-it-out sparemeisters like Chris Barnes, Walter Ray, Norm Duke, Jack "The Ripper" Jurek, Danny Wiseman, and Mike Scroggins would sit atop the standings after 18 games of qualifying.

But one quick glance at the leaderboard reveals that it's bowling's powerballing elite who seem to occupy a disproportionate share of the top places with big-handed guys like Robert Smith, Amleto Monacelli, Tommy Jones, P.J. Haggerty, and Jason Couch planted in the top twelve. And at the very top, almost 200 pins ahead of anybody else, is none other than two-handedm thumbless throwing wunderkind Jason Belmonte, the King of Crank, the guy who puts the P in power game.

Indeed, of all the big names on tour, Belmo, God bless him, is perhaps the last guy you'd expect to be first in the U.S. Open. Sure, you wouldn't be too surprised to see him make the first cut and maybe even squeak into the final spot for match play, but who in their right mind would predict that he'd average almost 230 for 18 games of qualifying, average a blistering 249 for the last 6 of those games, and shoot an unbelievable 278-278-280 for 836 in the middle of that set? Well, I can tell you one thing. I would never have predicted it. And I don't understand it. What does it all mean?

Does it mean that the disparaging remarks we often hear that guys who crank the bejesus out of the ball can score well only on blocked lanes where there's a Grand Canyon of area is a bunch of male bovine manure? Judging from Belmo's awesome performance thus far, it would seem so.

But having said that, one never knows, at this point, where the power players will end up in this tournament. The aforementioned Barnes, Williams, Duke Jurek, and Scroggins are also near the top and firmly in contention not only by virtue of their present standings but also because of their track records.

Nevertheless, I'm still baffled over why so many power players, like Wes Malott, a guy who seldom practices and admits that he plays areas rather than boards, are doing so well on the allegedly toughest oil pattern in bowling, and I seriously wonder if I shouldn't go back to throwing my stike ball without my thumb.


  1. You did have a good strike ball when bowling without your thumb in the ball but you are doing pretty well with it in also.

  2. The obvious answer to why Belmonte led the tournament for so long was that he can be just as accurate as the tweeners at times. He was in a mental zone where he was able to repeat his movements nearly perfectly and hit his spot time after time. It is sad for him that a pulled hamstring ruined it for him at the last and he did not even make the show. He threw lots of strikes but he also picked up his spares as well or better than the rest of them this week.