Briseno takes Olhausen Desert All Around Stop 5

Gus Briseno

A field of 46 top Arizona players braved the valley heat on the weekend of July 15th and 16th for the 5th leg of the Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour. Eight of the top ten players on the Poker Pool Points List were entered in the tournament, although point leader Doug Hale was a no-show when it was time to start the matches.

As has quickly become the case at these tour stops, the field was packed with top players and there was no real easy route through the brackets for any player. Last month's winner, Bernie Petti-piece had his hands full in the first round with #2 ranked Glenn Bond and fell to the one-loss side after a 9-5 loss.

Glenn quickly joined Bernie on the one-loss side after a loss to Mike Pankoff in the next round. Pankoff was then tossed to the left side of the bracket by #3 ranked Jimmy Mendoza.

As Saturday play continued, the field slowly narrowed to the players that would come back on Sunday and finish in the cash. Pettipiece fought his was through the one-loss brackets all Saturday and found himself in a dogfight with Rodney 'Babe' Thompson in the last match of the day. Bernie took an early 3-0 lead, but it was vintage Babe after that as Thompson won the match 9-7.

Sunday dawned with four players still undefeated. Mendoza would face #15 ranked Michel Couvrette in one match while 2004 All Around Champion Tony Confalone took on Gus Briseno.

Mendoza made quick work of Couvrette 9-2 while Briseno was right behind him with a 9-4 win over Confalone.

Meanwhile on the one-loss side, regular tour players were finding themselves in matches with tour first timers.

Mike Pankoff eliminated tour newcomer John Daleiden, Glenn Bond eliminated Bobby Emmons on Emmon's first tour stop of 2006 and Pete Lhotka made the most of his first tour stop with a win over Babe Thompson.

The last match of the round saw Dennis Orender defeat Eric Olson 9-7. Orender lost his first match Saturday and had worked his way through the one-loss side with win after win.

Next up for Orender was Glenn Bond. Bond came out the victor in that match and Orender finished tied with Pete Lhotka for 7th/8th place after Lhotka lost to Pankoff.

Pankoff then knocked off Couvrette and Bond eliminated Confalone to set up a rematch between Bond and Pankoff to determine who ended up 4th or who advanced. Pankoff was the reason Bond found himself have to play back to back matches throughout Saturday, as Pankoff tossed Bond to the one-loss side early in the tournament. Sunday, Pankoff repeated his victory however this time with a come back from behind 9-7 win. Bond settled for 4th place and just enough points to nudge him into first place in the Poker Pool Points List. Bond is 5 points now ahead of Doug Hale.

The match for the hot-seat saw Mendoza edge in front of Briseno 7-5, but Briseno clawed his way back to win the three next games and get to the hill at 8-7. Mendoza won the next game to put himself at the table breaking at hill-hill, but a scratch on the break was his last chance at the table as Briseno ran out the case game for the hill-hill win.

Mendoza took the trip to the one-loss side, but he did not stay there for long as he dispatched Pankoff 9-3 to earn a rematch against Briseno in a single race to 13.

The rematch between Briseno and Mendoza was completely different as Briseno took early control of the match and looked on his was to a highly dominating win. On the hill at 12-6, Briseno watched Mendoza make a last push and win three games to make the score now 12-9.

However, that late second wind of Mendoza's was not enough to overcome the initial lead Briseno took at the beginning and Briseno won the last game to close out the match and win his first Olhausen Desert All Around Tour event.

Briseno earned $1870 for first place while Mendoza took home $775 for second.

The next tour stop will be August 12th and 13th at Metro Sportz Bar in Phoenix. The format is 9-Ball on 7-foot barbox tables.

The Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour is sponsored by Olhausen Billiards ("The Best in Billiards"), as well as Poker Pool, Tiger Products, OnQ Cases, Whisler Custom Cues, Bebob Publishing, Joe Tucker, Billiards Digest, Pool and Billiard Magazine, Tom Simpson, Tim "The Monk" Miller and