Bartram comes back from the one-loss side to take Texas Open

Chris Bartram - Photo courtesy of Justin Collett (

When it got down to the final eight on the winners' side bracket of the Texas Open on the weekend of September 5-7, there were generally over 500 viewers watching selected matches on the Ustream broadcast. One of those matches among the final eight winners featured Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant against Chris Bartram. As the match unfolded, viewers were commenting on how well Bartram was performing overall at the event and a prediction was tossed out that, one way or another, viewers were probably watching the winner.

The viewers were right, and though sentiments were running high for Bryant, the hometown favorite at the host location – G-Cue Billiards in Round Rock, TX – it was Bartram, who, after being sent to the one-loss side in that first matchup against Bryant, came back to defeat him in the semifinals. Bartram then moved on to defeat Justin Hall twice in the true double elimination finals.

The field of 128 players that had signed on for the $4,000-added event on Saturday had dwindled down to a final 12 by about 10 p.m. on Monday night. The hot seat match didn't go off until about 2:30 a.m., Mountain Time. Bartram wasn't crowned as the match winner, until Labor Day weekend was completely over and many people were commuting to work on Tuesday morning.

Bartram started his winning campaign with four victories in which he did not allow any opponent more than three racks.  He defeated Royce Morton 9-3, Chip Murphy 9-2, James Davis, Sr. 9-2 and Jason Brown 9-3, before running into Bryant among those final eight on the winners' side. Bryant, in the meantime, having moved past Bernard Walker 9-5, recording a shutout versus Viet Do, and defeating Noel Torres 9-6, had to come back from 5 racks down, with Rafael Martinez on the hill, to move among the winners' side final eight. After sending Bartram west, he got embroiled in yet another hill-hill match against Nick Vita among the final four, surviving it to move against Justin Hall in the match for possession of the hot seat.

Hall, who'd opened his tournament bid with a shutout over Jon Rawlins and then allowed Jason Kilgore only a single rack in the second round, struggled a little versus John Palmore. He went on to win that matchup 9-7 and then shutout Jason Bagby to move among the final eight winners. His four-match score at that point was 36-8. He survived a hill-hill battle against Jamie Farrell to move into the final four and then, got into the hot seat match with a 9-4 win over Shane Winters. He followed that by handing Bryant his first defeat of the day and the hot seat was his.

Bartram started his five-match march back to the finals with a 9-7 win over Gary Abood and followed that with a commanding 9-2 win over David Henson, for the right to meet Winters. It was Jason Brown waiting for Vita, after he'd survived a hill-hill match against Jamie Farrell and shut out Keith Bennett. Bartram defeated Winters, as Vita beat Brown by identical 9-4 scores and the two faced each other in the quarterfinals, won by Bartram 9-5.

Bartram got his second chance versus Bryant in the semifinals, with dawn not far off on Tuesday morning. The two battled to double hill, before Bartram handed Bryant his tournament-ending second defeat and moved into the double elimination finals against Hall.

Bartram had to win twice and did just that, defeating Hall 9-4 both times to capture the $3,100 first place prize and bring a long weekend to a satisfying close.