Chip Klein stuns field and Ming Ng goes undefeated at Tiger Pool Tour season opener

Chip Klein

The Tiger Pool Tour 2008 season kicked off February 16/17th at Hagerstown Billiards & Café in Hagerstown, MD. Room owners Roger and Tammy Munson made this a $2000 added event along with the title sponsor Tiger Products. A super strong field of 82 Open division players entered the fray including Dennis Hatch, Manuel Chau and Matt Krah as well as 8 of the top 10 players on the tour from 2007. The ladies division was the toughest in recent times with 9 of the top 10 players from 2007 along with Ming Ng and WPBA pro Megan Minerich.

The Open division player's meeting began promptly at noon Saturday and included a well-received prize giving ceremony for the top finishers of 2007. The year long points list was a tight race with four players in reach of the top spot going into the year end final. Shaun Wilkie emerged from that group to take top honors. Wilkie received a personalized trophy cup, 2 paid entries into pro tournaments, a $1200 Parrot Cue, a gift bag with various Tiger products and shirts from Tiger and Hustlin. 2nd place went to Brandon Shuff who received a Tiger Cue, $300 cash, shirts and gift bag. Matt Clatterbuck took 3rd with a Tiger Cue, $150 cash, shirts and gift bag. The 4th spot went to Danny Mulhollen III with $75 cash, shirts and gift bag. There were more Tiger and Hustlin shirts with gift bags for 5th through 16th places.

Saturday action began the makings of a very unpredictable chart. Infrequent tour player Chip Klein took down Ryan McCreesh, Matt Clatterbuck and Manuel Chau in the worst draw possible. Long time Tiger Tour player Kevin West rode a fine victory over Wilkie to reach Sunday unscathed. Joey Ryan upset Brandon Shuff to earn his spot. Joining these three players in the undefeated ranks were Lou Patrikios, Dennis Hatch, Eric Moore, Don Steele and Matt Krah. 16 players remained in the elimination bracket including the 2007 top 3 players: Wilkie, Shuff and Clatterbuck.

On Sunday, Kevin West took down Dennis Hatch 9-5. Klein continued his winning ways over Patrikios 9-7 before sending West west. Matt Krah came through with a pair of 9-8 wins over Ryan and Steele. Klein and Krah battled it out for the hot seat with Klein coming through 9-8.

The elimination bracket was full of star players and match-ups but there was really only one story going on and that was Brandon Shuff. Shuff slipped past Alan Duty 7-6 to start Sunday and then continued on past Clatterbuck 7-3. Shuff quickly found himself at the wrong end of 4-0 with Dennis Hatch. A missed 6 ball by Hatch was all Shuff needed though and the score was 6-4 before Hatch returned to the table. Shuff won 7-5. He followed up these strong wins with even more impressive play ousting Patrikios 7-0, Steele 7-2, West 7-2 and Krah 7-0. After being down 4-0, Shuff outscored his opponents 35-5 during that run. This put Shuff into the single race to 11 final with Klein. This was a hard fought match that went to Klein 11-9. 1st was worth $1250 with $850 for 2nd.

A strong field of 20 ladies showed up Sunday for the Women's event. The festivities began with more prizes as My-Hanh Lac convincingly claimed top honors receiving a trophy, a $1200 Parrot cue, $300 cash, a Hustlin shirt and Tiger Products gift bag. 2007 was also the first year that the Tiger Tour joined the WPBA Regional tour network. One of the nice benefits of this is that the points' winner has a guaranteed spot in all WPBA events in 2008. My-Hanh intends to take full advantage of this additional “prize”. Cheryl Squire took second place with a Tiger Cue, $150 cash, shirts and gift bag. 3rd place went to Malea Haacke with a Tiger Cue, $75 cash, shirts and gift bag. 4th through 8th place players received shirts and a gift bag.

No surprises in the ladies event as Ming Ng dominated the top half of the bracket with wins over Falon Farleigh, Linda Shea, Cheryl Squire and Tina Meraglio. Megan Minerich came through the bottom knocking down Tonya Schetrompf, Judie Wilson, Ellen Yu and Malea Haacke. The hot seat match went to Ng 7-4. Linda Shea made a nice run in the elimination bracket winning 5 matches before sending Squire home in 4th place. A 5-4 win over Minerich put Shea in the final rematch with Ng. This match was never in doubt with Ng winning 9-4. 1st was worth $400 with $260 for 2nd.