Castillo takes Tri-State opener

Jonathan Castillo, a 14-year-old, “C” handicap player from New Jersey, was elevated a notch to a “C+” handicap after completing an undefeated day on the Tri-State Tour's opening stop on Saturday, July 18. The $500-added B-D handicapped event drew 29 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

Castillo played ‘above' his handicap all day, according to tour representatives, and from among the winners' side final four, advanced to the hot seat match with a 6-4 win over Nick Verducci. Andrew Kane, in the meantime, defeated Michael Seas 7-5. Castillo gained the hot seat with a 7-5 victory over Kane and waited for his return.

T.J. Smithers and ChristIan Smith were waiting for Seas and Verducci on the one-loss side; Smithers having defeated Phil Carr 7-1 and Ray Marisette 6-3, as Smith was handling Ed Manlulu 7-6 and Rajesh Vannala 7-2. Smithers dropped Seas into the tie for fifth place 7-4, as Smith did likewise to Verducci 9-5. It was Smithers advancing to the semifinals versus Kane with a 7-6 victory over Smith in the quarterfinals.

Kane, anxious for a second chance versus Castillo, notched a decisive 7-2 win over Smithers and got that second chance. To no avail, however, as Castillo took the first set of the true double elimination final 7-4, capturing the first place prize.