Apr. 1, 2017
As always, the Andy Memorial turned out to be a barn burner.
Competing tournaments on both coasts this year kept some of the marquee names who had dominated recent Mercers’ away, but there was still a contingent of professional players, highly ranked amateurs and the usual strong local entrants to create plenty of drama at this years’ event.
At the start of play on Friday, the favorites appeared to be Josh Roberts who has been playing very well for the last couple of years, Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez, and Brian Parks, here off of his recent win at the Swanee. They were by no means the only threats to win as there is always a tough field here.
Early rounds produced a few upsets and also gave an indication of just how difficult it is to win here with its’ strong field and tough format of alternate breaks with the 9 on the spot.
The first indication of just how tough it would be came when a very methodical local, Randy Kukla, defeated Brian Parks sending him to the one loss side on day one. Crowd favorite Mike Massey also took an early loss.
Giving an indication that he was going to make a real push to go deep, Oscar Dominguez made a strong statement with a 6/1 defeat of Dave Gomez, making very few mistakes. Josh Roberts was tested early by John Staten, but showed why he was an early auction pick by grinding out a tough 6/4 win. Ernesto Dominguez struggled through a tough match but prevailed 6/5 against a game Eric Grasman. Sal Butera looked good from the beginning rounds looking every bit the professional.
Middle rounds started to give a picture of how Sunday would look. Giving everyone a trip down memory lane, Frank the Barber Almanza looked very strong while cruising into a tough draw that saw him defeat Lee Harvey 6/0 and Butch Barba leading him to a match with josh Roberts where he played near flawlessly sending Josh Roberts to the losers bracket in with a really fine looking 6/4 win.
Brian parks struggled through another very long 6/4 defeat of local favorite Fred Boggs only to be eliminated one match later by another Las Vegas favorite, Max Eberle, who was starting to show the smooth style that makes him so dangerous in any tournament.
As the field thinned to the sixteen who would fight it out for top honors on Sunday, there were both a group of expected competitors and a few surprises.
Oscar Dominguez was tested by local Gary Lutman who made three 9s on the break and a 2-9 combo early to take a big lead, but he showed real determination winning 6/4, and he would show up Sunday in the last eight on the winner’s side. Joining Oscar on with clean slates would be Kenny Brisbon, Frank Almanza, Ernesto Dominguez, Mark Estes, Mike Hutchison, Ramin Bakhtiari, and Johnson Tinsley who while not appearing to be a threat, never the less continued to torture opponents getting out when he needed to.
Sundays’ matches were all exceptional. Oscar opened the day with a win against Tinsley Johnson, and continued his day through to the hot seat with a walk over when Ernesto gave up the match after defeating Sal Butera, Mark Estes and Mike Hutchison.
Josh Roberts continued to show why he is so highly regarded by moving through the one loss side while leaving players in their finishing order on his way to a final show down with Oscar. On the way, he defeated Dave Dattilo, Mark Estes, Ramin Bakhtiari, who finished in a very respectable 7th-8th, and Tinsley Johnson, who surprised everyone with a fine 5th-6th, Mike Hutchison, leaving him at 4th place with a nice payday, and finally defeating Ernesto Dominguez, thrilling everyone who wanted to see a final match that would surely have not taken place between Ernesto and son Oscar.
Although they both came to the final match on Sunday playing near dead stroke pool, Oscar and Josh arrived by very different paths. Oscar played through the winner’s side dominating nearly everyone he played to get there. Josh played almost as well, but having lost an early round match to “The Barber”, had to play nine matches to get there.
In this true double elimination format, Josh would have to win twice to finish on top. In the “If” match, Josh struggled with his break, but he won several small safety skirmishes and won 6/4, setting up a final match for first. Oscar made a brilliant jump into a bank early in rack 1, and went up 1/0. When he won the next rack on rack on Josh’s break to go up 2/0, the writing was on the wall. Josh put up a good fight, but with the alternate break format and Oscar playing so well, there really was no opportunity to close the early gap, and Oscar closed him out 6/4.
Congratulations to everyone who played, and particularly to Oscar and Josh for such a great finish.
1st Oscar Dominguez $5000
2nd Josh Roberts $2500
3rd Ernesto Dominguez $1600
4th Mike Hutchison $1100
5th-6th Tinsley Johnson
Sal Butera $850
7th-8th Ramin Bakhtiari
Kenny Brisbon $600
9th-12th Mark Estes
Frank Almanza $425
Fach Garcia $300