Parks and Huang Win U.S. Amateur Championship Titles
APA Press Release
Nov. 22, 2017
Brian Parks
Brian Parks
“To see where my game stacks up against the best of the best.” 
 
“There’s nothing else in pool like it.” 
 
“I want to leave a legacy.”
 
Those were just a few of the many reasons event participants cited for wanting to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
That’s what drove more than 2,100 of North America’s top amateur players to try and qualify.  That’s what brought 128 men and 39 women to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla., in early November to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
Yeah, there were some great perks too.  Like a getaway to Tampa, one of the premier vacation destinations in the world.  An all-expenses paid trip to a pro event next year courtesy of the APA for the winners of each division.  Oh, and let’s not forget the championship trophy - a combination of marble and bronze that more closely resembles a piece of fine art than something awarded at a tournament.
 
But winning the U.S. Amateur Championship is all about the title.  It’s about leaving your mark on the sport of pool.  It’s about having your name and your accomplishment forever etched in history on the Larry Hubbart Trophy.
 
Parks Drive for 5
 
In the finals of this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, it was four-time U.S. Amateur Champion Brian Parks of Bakersfield, Calif., looking to defend his title against Jeremy Edwards of Granger, Ind.
 
Parks had gone undefeated coming into the final round. He was squaring off against a red-hot Edwards who also came into the final day undefeated before being bounced to the one-loss bracket by Parks.
The match opened in the 8-Ball set, with Parks winning the first two games, the second of which by perfectly executing a jump shot to pocket the 8-ball in the corner.  Edwards got on the scoreboard just moments later when Parks pocketed the 8-ball on the break, but also scratched.
 
Leading 2-1, Parks would take the next two games, with Edwards winning the following two games to make the score 4-3.  Parks would close out the 8-Ball set with another win and took a 5-3 lead going into the 9-Ball set.
The players traded the first two games of the 9-Ball set, with Parks taking the first and Edwards winning the second.
 
One of the more pivotal moments in the match came in the third game of the 9-Ball set.  Trailing 6-4, Edwards had the chance to draw within a game, but failed to pocket the 9-ball.  Parks instead capitalized on the mistake and took at 7-4 lead.
 
Parks would go on to win three of the next five games, and lead 10-6.  In the seventeenth game, after Parks pocketed the 8-ball, and had perfect position to pocket the 9-ball for the victory, Edwards conceded the match in a show of good sportsmanship.
 
The championship was Parks 5th U.S. Amateur Championship title in 11 appearances, the second time he’s secured the title in back-to-back years.  He’ll advance to the 2018 U.S. Open courtesy of the APA. 
 
For Edwards, the Runner-up finish was an impressive showing in only his second U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
Former champions David Rowell (’00) of Birmingham, Ala., and Henry Brodt (’98, ’99, ’15) of Laguna Beach, Calif., finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
 
Huang Finally Secures Coveted Championship
 
Melinda Huang of Los Angeles previously qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship eight times, twice making it to the finals, but each time coming up just short of the title.  For Huang, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
After a two-year hiatus, she returned to Stroker’s once again determined to take home the championship.  
 
But opportunity doesn’t always come easy at the U.S. Amateur Championship.  Undefeated and seemingly well on her way to another final, Huang’s championship hopes were derailed by Amy Theriault.  
 
In the hot-seat match, Theriault, of Sandusky, Ohio, sent Huang to the one-loss bracket and secured a spot for herself in the final round.  If Huang was going to have a chance at the title she’d been chasing for more than a decade, she’d have to get past Rhea Brooks of St. Louis, Mo.
 
With her back against the wall, and her opponent on-the-hill, Huang rose to the occasion.  She forced a hill-hill showdown with Brooks, eventually defeating her 5-4.  The win setup an opportunity for redemption with Theriault.
Things seemed to finally come together for Huang in the final round.  The match opened in 8-Ball, with Huang dominating the set 6-0.
 
Theriault got on the board by winning the first two games of the 9-Ball set, but Huang would not to be denied this year.  She took three of the next five games and sealed the match with a 6-9 combo for the victory.
You could almost sense the relief from Huang as she grasped the trophy that had eluded her for so many years.
 
Huang moves on to compete in a WPBA event next year, courtesy of APA.
 
Theriault finished as Runner-up, her first appearance since 2010.  Brooks finshed in 3rd Place.
 
Match coverage, including the finals, of this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship and Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship can be found on the APA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/apaleagues.
 
The entry window for the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship is now open with the Preliminary Rounds scheduled across North America in mid-September.
 
The U.S. Amateur Championship is conducted by the APA, and is the only tournament produced by the APA open to both members and non-members.  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-September.
 
As Champions, both Parks and Huang will return next year to defend their coveted titles.
 
The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.
 
The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.
 
The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out more than $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!
 
The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues and Pool Dawg.
 
For complete coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship visit http://www.poolplayers.com/usam/.