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Bowling News USA - April 23, 2012 Belmonte Wins in Orange...

Reigning Orange Open champion and International Storm staffer Jason Belmonte clinched a third consecutive win by finishing 724 over the card and a 231.5 average in the 2012 Audi NSW Country Open in Orange today.  The spectacular hattrick capped a momentous week for Jason who recently returned from the completion of a highly successful season on the PBA Tour in the USA, just in time to share the joy of his wife Kimberly giving birth to their second child, Hugo.

The cut to top 16 after 16 games saw Belmo seeded #1 on 3646, just ahead of Campbelltown’s Sam Cooley on 3619 and another Sydney bowler, Glen Loader, trailing by a mere 14 pins on 3605.  

Three women - Julie Price, Lauren Evans and Lexi Nicoll - made the initial cut to the top 32 amongst an impressive line-up of some of Australia’s top bowling talent.   Jason Belmonte was surrounded by a bevy of Australian representative bowlers including George Frilingos, Paul Trotter, Glen Loader, Lexi Nicoll, Stephen Cowland and Sam Cooley who travelled to the picturesque central tablelands city of Orange from all over the country.

In the last seven-game block Belmo consolidated his lead, and sealed the result after a neck and neck battle against second seed Glen Loader with an emphatic 268-211 final game.   Runner-up Glen Loader posted a 224.1 tournament average, with Sam Cooley finishing third with a 221.2 average, each collecting trophies and cheques from the substantial prize-money pool sourced from entry fees and the generous support of major sponsors Audi and QubicaAMF .

Girlpower also struck in Orange today.  Gosford’s Lexi Nicoll’s initial high game of 289 in Game 12 was eclipsed in Game 15 by 30 year-old Nathan Jenner from Maitland, but undeterred, Nicoll responded in Game 17 by rolling her own perfect game, the third in her bowling career.

The 25th edition of the NSW Country Open was significant in many ways – the Silver anniversary was marked by a Presentation Dinner and Awards Night celebrating the history of this popular tournament, with crystal trophies awarded to previous champions.   More than 50 guests were entertained by Aldo Belmonte’s fascinating overview of the Orange Open, numerous tributes from past champions and a glimpse of its history via an AV presentation of images covering the period since its inception in 1984.   Another highlight of the evening was the re-broadcast of what was then called the Central West Open – won that year by Orange lefty, Peter Brown.   The tournament was originally televised live by CBN8 (now Prime TV/7) in 1984.

In his victory speech, Belmo congratulated his parents and tournament organisers, noting that he has bowled in some ‘pretty remarkable’ centres in almost 40 countries around the world but “nothing beats bowling here in front of my family and friends .. it’s something I treasure,” he said.   “Any time I put the shoes on, I want to win, and winning three in a row here in Orange where every pair of lanes has special memories achieved my goal today,” he continued.

 “25 years is a prestigious milestone and a testimony to my parents – to run a tournament for that longin today’s tough times for the industry, to run two full squads and encourage so many people to travelto Orange for this event is something they can be very proud of,” he added.

An elated Belmonte then dedicated his win to his wife and ‘dream woman’ Kimberly.   “I was really tired today but you find concentration and you find focus.   I dedicate this one to Kim … this one was for her – her support allows me to do my job and have peace of mind, and makes the win so much sweeter,” he told reporters following the prize giving ceremony.

Dates for next year’s event are yet to be confirmed, but the first weekend of May 2013 has tentatively been reserved and an announcement will be made when the tournament committee has consulted the sport’s accreditation body, Tenpin Bowling Australia.

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April, 2012