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Belmonte flub sends a message to bowlers

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Whoops!

Was that really Jason Belmonte who misfired so badly in the crucial 10th frame during the Professional Bowlers Assn. King of the Swing tournament this week in Oklahoma?

Belmonte, the Australian franchise player of the Los Angeles X the past two years, was competing in the stepladder semifinals against Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.

Belmonte needed two strikes in the 10th frame and three pins on his last shot to seal the victory over Rash, who would bowl his 10th frame after Belmonte.

On his first shot in the 10th, the two-handed Belmonte lofted the ball in the pocket, but he didn’t carry the 10 pin.

Said the announcer: “Boy, that’s something you don’t see very often from Belmonte . . . leaving a weak 10.”

Belmonte, the likely winner of the “Best Bowler” ESPY award July 16 in L.A., then let loose with one of the worst shots of his life in an effort to notch a spare and keep himself in the match.

The ball rolled well left of the 10 pin . . . ostensibly handing the match to Rash.

There was a lesson or two there.

First, there is no sure thing in bowling – even in pro bowling.

More importantly, league bowlers must realize they shouldn’t kick themselves over missing seemingly easy shots.

It even happens to the pros.

And it even happens to the very best of them.

Postscript: With a spare in the 10th frame, Rash defeated Belmonte, 236-224, to advance to the championship match. Rash then lost to top qualifier Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., in the finals, 245-181.

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