Bruner wins first GSBT in front of hometown crowd

Shannon Daulton, Chris Bruner, Ozzy Reynolds, Thomas and Cindy Dorsey (owners of Diamond Billiards)

Chris Bruner's been playing on the Great Southern Billiard Tour since he was 14, and now, at the age of 18, in front of a hometown crowd, gathered to watch him play on the weekend of April 2-3, he's chalked up his first victory on the tour. And he did it the hard way; coming from deep on the one-loss side to challenge the hot seat occupant, Ozzy Reynolds, and defeat him twice in a true double elimination final. In addition to a crowd that included Bruner's mother, the $1,500-added event drew 47 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Jay Carter sent Bruner to the one-loss side in the third round of play, and continued to advance through to the winners' side final four, where he met up with Reynolds. Danny Mastermaker and Dylan Letchworth joined them among the final four winners. Reynolds beat Carter, Mastermaker defeated Letchworth and in the battle for the hot seat, Reynolds got by Mastermaker; all by the score of 9-1.

Bruner, in the meantime, was on a seven-match trek back to the finals. He defeated Allen Duty, John Newton, David Guill and Brandon Shuff (double hill) to earn a re-match versus Carter. Letchworth drew David Hunt, who'd defeated Mike Walker 11-5 and Glenn Russell 11-8 to reach him. Bruner exacted his revenge on Carter 9-3, as Hunt battled Letchworth to a double hill, 11-6 victory.

Through to both sets of the true double elimination finals, Bruner, beginning in the quarterfinals, won just about three out of every four games he played. He took down Hunt in the quarterfinals 9-5 (the most number of racks he'd give up the rest of the way), and defeated his “running buddy” Danny Mastermaker 9-2 in the semifinals. He opened the true double elimination finals with a 9-3 win and followed it with a 9-4 victory that sealed his first GSBT win.

Tour director Shannon Daulton thanked the staff and management of Diamond Billiards, as well as tour sponsors Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Delta-13 racks, Tiger Products, Mike Davis Extermination, and Andy Gilbert Custom Cues.