Michael Haugen Jr. of Carefree, AZ, admittedly got out-bowled Friday, but he defeated Australia’s Jason Belmonte,
233-220, to advance to Saturday’s elimination round in the PBA World Championship at South Point Bowling Center.
Haugen, who entered the unique three-day, eight-player stepladder final as the No. 6 qualifier, converted a
“crossover” strike into a turkey in the sixth frame and threw another pivotal crossover strike to build a string of four
to end the game, eliminating Belmonte from contention for the $50,000 first prize.
Haugen advances to Saturday’s Match 3 where he’ll bowl No. 5 Mika Kovuniemi of Hartland, MI. The winner of that
match meets No. 4 qualifier Chris Barnes of Double Oak, TX. Saturday’s second stepladder round begins at 8:30 p.m.
Eastern on ESPN2. Saturday’s winner advances to the PBA World Championship final round Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern on
Sunday’s finalists include No. 3 Osku Palermaa of Finland, No. 2 Sean Rash of Montgomery, IL, and leading qualifier
Bill O’Neill of Southampton, PA. The PBA World Championship, the first major championship of the 2010-11 Lumber
Liquidators PBA Tour season, is being contested on the PBA’s Viper lane condition, selected by O’Neill as the
tournament’s top qualifier over 60 games bowled during the PBA World Series of Bowling earlier in the season at South
“I definitely didn’t bowl the better game, but the score says I won,” Haugen said. “I threw a couple of shots poorly,
but they struck. I’m not proud of them, but I’ll take them.
“I was having a little trouble with my thumb hole,” Haugen said of his crossover strike in the 10th frame. “I hung
up a little and flat out pulled the shot. Luckily I got a great break.”
Belmonte, one of the world’s premier two-handed players, advanced to his match against Haugen by eliminating
Wes Malott of Pflugerville, TX, in the first game, 222-186. Belmonte started that match with four strikes and
rolled into an early 50-pin advantage when Malott left splits and opened in his first two frames.
Belmonte started with a double against Haugen, and added two more strikes in the fifth and sixth frames, but a
string of three consecutive 10 pins gave Haugen a chance to get back into the match. Belmonte missed the pocket
only once in the game, but his lost his ability to carry strikes as the match progressed.
“I knew I was going to get into trouble with the ball I was using,” Belmonte said. “The disadvantage of using a
urethane ball is you’re not going to kick 10 pins out all the time. But I’m not upset. I bowled a good game.
Normally I’m pretty stubborn, but today I played what the lanes were telling me to do. I slowed down. I thought
220 would be good enough on that lane condition.
“But I’m not blind,” Belmonte added. “When (Haugen) threw it bad, he threw it bad enough to carry. When I
threw it bad, I just missed. I know what it’s like. I’ve had my share of breaks, too - not always on TV, but
sometimes you get the breaks that allow you to get to the TV show, too.”
Haugen expects the lane conditions to play a little differently Saturday when he meets Koivuniemi because
“I have a feeling Mika and Chris (Barnes) will want to play more toward the area where I was playing the
lanes today. But I don’t care; I’m going to play whatever is there. My job is to knock down 10 pins and not
worry about anyone else.
“I just try to keep things simple. Things have worked out OK for me when I do that.”