Watson Claims First Victory on Gulf Coast Tour
Kim White-Newsome
May 12, 2017
Gail Eaton, Kawania Watson, Jennifer Dooley and Jennifer Yo
Gail Eaton, Kawania Watson, Jennifer Dooley and Jennifer Yo
The event was one for the books, as San Antonio’s Kawania Watson went unchallenged amidst an impressive field of 25 semi-professional players to capture her first Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour 9-ball event. Watson, who joined the tour in November 2016, fell short in her first outing, finishing 9th, but made up for it in only her second start on tour. She secured the hot seat match, taking down the tour’s current #1 ranked player, Gail Eaton, 7-6. In the finals, she defeated #2 ranked, Austin’s Jennifer Yo, 7-4, notching her belt with a first-time, Gulf Coast Tour victory. 
 
On May 6th, 2017, the Gulf Coast Tour held its 5th stop of the year at Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas. Room owners John and Sue Cielo, along with tour sponsors Cyclop Pool Balls www.facebook.com/CyclopPoolBalls, Ozone Billiards www.OzoneBilliards.com, APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, Realtor Jimmy Jenkins, and www.OutsvillBilliards.com,  facilitated another successful event for the women of the  Gulf Coast Tour. Dubbed the “8th Annual Texas 9-Ball Shoot-Out”, the one-day, open bar table event, paid out a generous $900, and featured a non-smoking, private playing area with eight (8) new Diamond bar tables. “This is our eighth, consecutive year hosting events at Skinny Bob’s. We’d like to thank John and Sue for their generosity over the years, and for being a constant source of support for the Texas pool community”, says Gulf Coast Tour and Poison Lone Star Tour Director, Kim Newsome.
 
Following a short players’ meeting, action kicked off around noon, and Watson began her trek to the winners’ circle. She booked wins over Lisa Pinkston, Kris Wilburn, 7-2, and Megan Hardin, 7-1, while Jennifer Dooley bested Cheryl Gaffaney, Toni Estevez, 7-6, and Amber Keithley, 7-3. Jennifer Yo overcame Louisiana’s Hopey Carter, 7-3, and Yvonne Asher, 7-4, while Gail Eaton, aka “Virginia Slim”, bested former WPBA player and tour newcomer, Tina Hess, 7-4, Aryana Lynch, 7-2, and Veronica Perez aka “Pistol Perez”, 7-0. As the final four on the winners’ side took shape, one-loss side action was in full swing. Newest tour member, Cindy Barthel, lost her first match to Perez, and went on to eliminate Estevez, 5-3, Gail Roles, 5-0, and Asher, 5-1. After losing her first match to Asher, San Antonio’s Sophia Lopez took out Lois Morgado, 5-2, and Wilburn, 5-4, but fell to Perez, 5-2. Barthel took out Perez, 5-2, sliding into 5th-6th, and in the money. Teenage phenom, Lynch, suffered a first-round loss at the hands of Loretta Lindgren, and made her bid on the one-loss side with wins over Diana Cardona, 5-3, and Marilina Nieves, 5-1, but was sent home by Hardin, 5-3. Carter secured west-side wins over Pinkston, 5-3, Rebecca Arcangeli, 5-4, and Keithley, 5-1, before falling to Hardin, 5-2. While Barthel and Hardin secured their place in the top six, the east side final four witnessed Watson slip by Dooley, 7-6, and Eaton make quick work of Yo, 7-3. The hot seat match between Watson and Eaton was a fight to the finish, and a real crowd pleaser. When the smoke cleared, it was Watson on top, 7-6. Back on the west side, Yo defeated Hardin, 5-0, while Dooley ended Barthel’s run, 5-2. Yo eliminated Dooley, 5-0, and Eaton, 5-3, to meet Watson in the finals. Watson was hungry for her first tour win, and Yo was going for her second victory of the year. Watson rose to the occasion, defeating Yo in the first set of the true double elimination final, 7-4. Congratulations to Kawania Watson on her first-ever, Gulf Coast Tour win!
 
The Gulf Coast Tour welcomes its newest member, Cindy Barthel, who also achieved her highest tournament finish to date (5th-6th), at this event. Jennifer Dooley and Megan Hardin booked their highest finishes as well,  4th and 5th-6th, respectively. Congratulations to all those who reached a milestone at this event.
 
The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour is open to players of all ages and skill levels, however, the top 32 WPBA Exempt Professionals are not permitted to participate. The next Gulf Coast Tour 9-ball event will be held on May 27th-28th, at CK Billiards, 9247 Skillman St., Suite 105, in Dallas, Texas. This event will be $1,000 added, played on 8’ tables, with Cyclop Pool Balls. This event will also be a qualifier for a 2018 WPBA Pro Event. Free practice begins at 10am, and the mandatory players’ meeting begins at 11am. For more information about the WPBA sanctioned, Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour, visit GulfCoastWomensTour.com. Follow us on Facebook @gulfcoasttour1 and Twitter @gulfcoasttour.
 
The WPBA (Women’s Professional Billiard Association) is the governing body of women’s professional billiards in the U.S. The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour is a sanctioned, WPBA Regional Tour, part of the grass roots system that feeds the WPBA Pro Billiards Tour. Amateur and semi-professional, female players, who aspire to play women’s professional billiards, must qualify through this elite system in order to attain the sought-after title, WPBA Exempt Professional. Have you ever considered taking your game to the next level, looking for a different challenge? Are you tired of the same old week-in, week-out routines deterring the progress of your game? Is it your dream to play in a pro event, or turn pro? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to find the WPBA Regional Tour nearest you. Exclusively, WPBA Regional Tour Players gain access to WPBA Pro Event Qualifiers and earn valuable WPBA Regional Tour Points which count toward earning invitations to the annual WPBA Regional Tour Championship and WPBA Pro Events. Live your dream, support and become a part of, the longest-running, professional billiard organization in the U.S., the WPBA.
 
If you are interested in starting a WPBA Regional Tour in your area, or participating on a WPBA Regional Tour, please contact the WPBA Office at 1.855.FOR.WPBA or visit www.WPBA.com.