Bank Pool is ‘Back’ in Louisville

TJ Back received a nice early Christmas present at Bank Shot Billiards in downtown Louisville, KY over the Dec 13 & 14, 2008 weekend. Super promoter Truman Hogue was assigned the task of filling a 64 player field for a $40 entry, $500 added nine ball banks tournament on Bank Shot's early style Diamond 9 footers. As always, Truman filled the field with players from four states days before the first rack was broken. Although no elite players were invited, the charts were filled with dangerous match ups, and the upsets started early..

In fact, only one of the winners side semi-finals would be considered pretournament favorites. In that round, defending champion Bryan Roberts drew TJ Back of Middletown, OH.

It was TJ who then established himself as the man to beat with a 3-0 win featuring a barrage of warp speed straight back banks. In the other semi. A somewhat geriatric affair, 65 year old Jerry Watts of Shelbyville, KY lamented his loss to 60 year old (next month) Greg Sullivan saying that Greg beat Jerry at his own (read defensive) game in the 3-0 verdict.

The losers side was heating up as Duke Laha of .Elizabethtown, KY rallied from a 0-2 deficit to eliminate the dangerous Mike Brown, also from Middletown, OH. At the same time, Louisville's enigmatic superstar Billy Peay was making a rare local appearance, and stopped local young gun Johnny Rhingo at 3-1. Jerry Watts first trip to the left side matched him with last years runner-up, Duke Laha. Duke prevailed by a 3-1 count in a tightly contested match which may have been won by Duke's tough three ball run out when down 4-2 in the first rack. Congrats to Jerry on a solid fifth place finish as a clear cut underdog!

Meanwhile, Roberts and Peay staged an excellent match which went to 2-2 in sets and 3-3 in balls before Roberts advanced. This brought about a rematch of last years final, but this time it was 3rd place at stake. Another intense battle between the Duke and Bryan went to the fifth set before Bryan emerged by making two 3 rail banks, one to the corner and the winner to the side.

The winners final was a classic boxer vs. puncher scenario. Greg Sullivan, president of Diamond Billiards, was game but was punched out primarily by TJ Back's break velocity straight backs by a count of 3-1. That left Greg and Bryan Roberts to fight it out to be in the true double elimination finals. Bryan was still game, and led 4-2 in two racks, but the wily old Sullivan advanced by a 3-0 count.

The finals were set with a man (Greg) who won a world eight ball championship the year his opponent in this years event (TJ) was born! This time Greg took it to the hill at 2-2 and 2-2 in the fifth game before TJ uncorked three more blink and you miss ‘em straight backs (honestly) for the win. Not only did TJ win the $1200 first place and a free entry into the Nine Ball Banks at the forthcoming Derby City Classic, he looked like he was having fun doing it.