RENO, Nev. (Dec. 20, 2017) – ESPN coverage of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties, continues Sunday with the PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Challenge Mobile Game and Pepsi Scorpion Championship presented by GoBowling.com back-to-back beginning at 1 p.m. EST.
In the third animal pattern tournament of the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule at the National Bowling Stadium, two-handers Jesper Svensson of Sweden and Jason Belmonte of Australia won their Round of 8 matches to headline an all-international field advancing to the Cheetah Championship finals.
Svensson, a six-time Tour winner, qualified for his second WSOB IX telecast by sweeping PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., 2-0 (259-214, 268-201), while Belmonte, a 15-time Tour winner, beat Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2-1, in his best-of-three match to also make his second WSOB IX telecast. After losing the first game 234-206, Belmonte came back to win the next two, 259-189 and 300-214.
Belmonte will be joined in the finals by fellow Australian Sam Cooley who beat PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., 2-0 (243-212, 279-194). Cooley, who willmake his first WSOB final, has a Tour-best third-place finish in the 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship.
Two-time PBA Tour winner Thomas Larsen of Denmark rounds out the finals field after sweeping South Africa’s Francois Louw, 2-0 (232-189, 247-232), in their best-of-three match.
Belmonte also will compete in the Scorpion Championship finals after eliminating rookie Raymond Lussier of Canada, 2-0 (235-189, 276-237) in the Round of 8. With his appearance in the Scorpion finals, the three-time PBA Player of the Year will be making a record 18th career WSOB telecast in a field that also includes defending PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind. Tackett will make his only WSOB IX finals appearance after beating Arturo Quintero of Mexico 2-1 (220-157, 188-247, 205-176). Tackett, an eight-time Tour winner will be trying for his fourth win of the 2017 season.
Completing the final animal pattern championship round of WSOB IX will be Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio, making his second consecutive WSOB Scorpion Championship finals appearance by beating Matt McNiel of Minneapolis, Minn., 2-1 (199-205, 279-237, 223-196). In 2016 Novak finished fourth in the Scorpion Championship. The fourth finalist is Shawn Maldonado of Houston who swept England’s Dom Barrett, 2-0 (234-232, 225-206), in their Round of 8 match. Novak and Maldonado are both trying for their first PBA Tour title.
WSOB IX coverage on ESPN continues with the PBA World Championship – the season’s final major championship – on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. EST and concludes with World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA on Sunday, Jan. 7, also at 1 p.m.
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