Barnes goes undefeated to win BAAT Grand Finale; Cavanaugh is tour champion

|8972|Jessica Barnes turned in her best performance on the 2011 Bay Area Amateur Tour, when she went undefeated to take top honors in the tour's Grand Finale on Saturday, November 12. Kelly Cavanaugh, in spite of finishing in the four-way tie for ninth place, added 50 points to her tour ranking totals, and finished the season as the 2011 BAAT Tour Champion. The $800-added Grand Finale drew 17 entrants to Stroker's in Palm Harbor, FL.

At the start of the tournament, the top three tour ranking spots were up for grabs. Cavanaugh entered the tournament at # 1, but was well within points-reach of Sabra MacArthur Beahn (#2) and Chris Fields (#3). Tour director Stephanie Mitchell was holding down the fourth spot, but was nearly 200 points off the tour ranking pace. Cavanaugh's very presence at the Grand Finale meant that she couldn't be caught by Mitchell. She could, however, be caught by MacArthur Beahn, only 65 points behind and Fields, 140 points off the pace.

Mitchell and Fields advanced to face each other among the winners' side final four, with both Cavanaugh and MacArthur Beahn already working from the loss-side (MacArthur Beahn having been sent west by Barnes from among the final eight winners).  Also among the final four winners were Barnes, who came into the tournament at # 8, and Cortney Bernard, who came in at # 11. Mitchell sent Fields to the loss-side 5-3, as Barnes advanced to join her in the hot seat battle with a 6-2 win over Bernard. With Mitchell needing to win six games before Barnes reached five, Barnes gained the hot seat with a 5-4 victory and waited for what turned out to be Fields' returns.

Fields moved over to take on Deanna Foster, who'd ended MacArthur Beahn's day 4-3 (with Beahn needing 5) and in so doing, opened the door to Chris Fields for taking over the second spot on the final tour rankings. Foster went on to shut out Tracey Mullen, who came into the tournament at # 5. Bernard picked up Jamie Toennies, who'd come into the tournament at # 6. It was Toennies who, after being sent to the loss-side by Fields, put an end to Cavanaugh's bid in this event, defeating her in a double hill battle. Toennies then shut out both Mary Lou Mendez and Cortney Bernard to set up a quarterfinal re-match for her against Fields.

As the quarterfinals got underway, MacArthur Beahn was still in second place in the tour rankings, 135 points ahead of Fields in third place. Fields' second defeat of Toennies in those quarterfinals, a 5-2 win, closed the gap to within 10 points. 

Fields, though, went on to a second re-match, this time in the semifinals against Mitchell, who'd sent her west from among the winners' side final four. Fields exacted her revenge with a double hill victory, and in so doing, secured second place in the overall tour standings.  Now, with Cavanaugh's point totals already frozen at 830, and Fields at 640, the Tour Champion title was within Fields' grasp. All she had to do was earn 35 extra points by putting an end to Barnes' bid for an undefeated day.

With Fields needing to win one more game (a 5-6 race), Barnes ended Fields' bid for the tour's top ranking. She defeated Fields 5-3 to conclude her undefeated run and her best overall finish on the 2011 tour. The victory also moved her from eighth to seventh on the overall tour rankings for the year.