Barnes and Little take Houston Open

Joey Barnes and Melissa Little took top honors at the Houston Open on the weekend of September 24-25. Barnes went undefeated in the $4,000-added Open event, while Little, winner of the Texas Open earlier in the month, went undefeated in the $500-added Ladies event. The Open portion of the tournament drew 101 entrants to Legends Billiards in League City, TX, while the Ladies drew 25.

The two event champions played each other in the fourth round of the Open event, among the winners' side final eight. Barnes' 9-5 victory sent Little west, where she gave way to event director Ted Dean. Barnes moved on to the winners' side final four to face Chase Rudder. Robb Saez, in the meantime, squared off against David Gutierrez

Saez defeated Gutierrez 9-6, while Barnes was busy sending Rudder west 9-5. Barnes got into the hot seat with a 9-6 victory and waited for the return of Jamie Baraks, who'd been sent to the loss-side bracket by Saez.

On the loss-side, some of the event's more heavily-favored competitors bit the dust in the battles for the tie at ninth place; namely, Little, Sylver Ochoa, Charlie Bryant and Jeremy Jones. Little fell to Dean, Ochoa went down at the hands of Baraks, Bryant was knocked out by Doug Young, and Jones gave way in a double hill battle to David Hensen. 

Hensen then defeated Young, while Baraks eliminated Dean, both 7-4. Hensen picked up Rudder from the winners' side final four, and defeated him to move into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Baraks, who'd moved on from Dean to take down Gutierrez, double hill. 

Baraks squeaked by Hensen in a double-hill quarterfinal, and got by Saez in the semifinals 7-5. He opened up the true double elimination final versus Barnes with a double hill win, but dropped the reduced second set (seven games) 7-3, leaving Barnes in the winners' circle.

Little/Ng re-match doesn't materialize

Odds-makers might have assumed that the finals, or at least a significant match in the Ladies event would have been between Little and Ming Ng, who'd battled it out in the finals of the Texas Open a few weeks earlier.  Ng, though, was knocked out early by Yvette Reyes, in the battles that determined the four-way tie for ninth place. Little would move on to capture the event title, defeating Amanda Lampert in the finals.

From among the winners' side final four, Little defeated Dana Hanks 7-3, as Ricky Casper was sending Lampert west 7-4. Little gained the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Casper and waited for Lampert's return.

Lampert moved over to face Kim Pierce, who'd defeated Sheri Palma 5-3, and Michelle Prince 5-1 to reach her. Hanks drew Rene Benton, who'd come out on top in two straight double hill matches against Krystal West and Reyes, who'd just ended Ming Ng's day. 

Lampert and Hanks moved on to the quarterfinals; Lampert with a 5-2 victory over Pierce, and Hanks, 5-3 over Benton. Lampert dominated that quarterfinal match 5-1 and then earned a spot in the finals with a 5-2 victory over Casper. 

Little, though, chalked up her second straight Texas title. She completed her undefeated run in the Houston leg of that journey with a 7-5 victory over Lampert.