Charlie Bryant defends title at Houston 9-Ball Classic

Kim White and Charlie Bryant

Kim White, tournament promoter and WPBA touring professional, kicked off the new year on January 3 and 4 by holding the second “Houston 9-Ball Classic” at Bogies Billiards and Games.  

Eighty-nine players competed, including the defending 2008 champion, Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant.  Also in the field was Dennis Strickland, making his first tournament start since winning the championship at the December “Houston 9-Ball Bar-Table Open,” which Kim White also promoted.  Other highly regarded regional players included:  Doug Young, Jui Lung Chen, Sam Manaole, James Davis Jr., John Weeks, Andy Jethwa, Claude Marrier, and Manuel Ayala.  

Nine women competed against the men.  The top finishers among the women were Heather Lloyd and Bonnie Plowman, who each won two of their four matches and tied for 25th place.
The final four players to emerge from the field of 89 were Charlie Bryant and Claude Marrier on the winners side, and James Davis Jr. and Manuel Ayala on the one-loss side.  Defending champion Bryant then dealt Marrier his first loss, and Ayala eliminated Davis from the tournament.  Marrier then earned a rematch against Bryant, by defeating Ayala, 7 to 3.

Entering the championship match, Bryant was on a 15-match Houston Classic winning streak.  He'd gone undefeated in 8 matches in the 2008 event, and he'd won his first 7 matches in 2009, including a decisive 9 to 2 win over Marrier.  However, Marrier rose to the occasion, and in the first set of the true double-elimination event, he broke Bryant's winning streak, 9 to 7.  Bryant then regrouped and came back to take the case set by the convincing score of 7 to 1.

The total payout for this event was over $8,500, with 16 players earning money.  The payouts included $3,950 for first place, $1,950 for second, $1,175 for third, $785 for fourth and $370 for fifth and sixth.