Christy Norris wins Charlotte 9-Ball Classic

Holly Sholes, Sam Beatty, Erin Watts and Christy Norris
The Press Box Entertainment Café was host to the final Tiger SMART 2014 Tour Stop November 15-16, in Charlotte, NC.  TPB which opened four months ago provided the ultimate environment for the players. Twelve 9’ Diamond tables, amazing staff, pristine equipment, and elegant appointments, along with delicious food are what greet you at their doors.  Chris, Eddie, and Joann Babilonia work in concert to provide their customers with a welcoming and hospitable experience.  Those in the Charlotte Metro area who have not been there will definitely want to check them out. 
While football, basketball, and other sports were available in the attached sports bar, the ladies of Tiger SMART were providing the sports entertainment on the pool room side which is separated by glass, and enjoys its own sound system.  Wow, talk about the best of both worlds!  
First round matches were highlighted by a 7-5 win by Cheryl Pritchard over first timer but already committed for the 2015 season Lisa Owens. Christy Norris who began her trek by defeating Buffy Jolie 7-1 and Erin Watts defeated new Tiger SMART member Laura Ryals 7-2 along with what could be considered two upset matches by Dee Setzer, from Winston-Salem over Loyalty Award winner Marianne Merrill 7-2 and Sam Beatty over another Loyalty Award winner Lisa Cossette 7-6.
Second round match results include Belinda Calhoun over Cheryl Pritchard 7-4.  Cheryl, current Virginia State 8-Ball Champion is the official photographer of the Tiger SMART Tour.  She is also a certified referee and willing to help the tour in any way she is asked or needed.  Tiger SMART gives Cheryl Pritchard a BIG THANK YOU and note of appreciation.  Christy Norris topped Regional Tour Championship Qualifier Kathleen Lawless 7-2.  Erin Watts bested Dee Setzer 7-4 and Sam Beatty continued her winning ways with a surprise victory over Holly Sholes 7-6.  Tiger SMART was happy to sign-up three new members from the Winston-Salem area, Laura Ryals, Dee Setzer, and Sam Beatty.  All three players had a good showing, pulled off an upset or two and will be a welcome addition to the tour.
Final four in the winner’s bracket produced a solid win for Christy Norris over Belinda Calhoun 7-2 and a win for Erin Watts over an emotionally drained Sam Beatty from her hill-hill victory over Sholes 7-1 setting up the winner’s bracket final between Christy and Erin.  On the one loss side, notable matches saw Cheryl Pritchard with a sound performance in her 7-0 win over Laura Ryals; a closely contested match between two Regional Tour Championship invitees Lisa Cossette and Kathleen Lawless 7-5; Hill-hill match between Dee Setzer and Lisa Owens 7-6; and local Charlotte player Holly Sholes over Buffy Jolie from Tennessee 7-2.  Finishing in 7-8 were Lisa Cossette who lost 7-5 to Cheryl Pritchard and Dee Setzer who lost 7-2 to Holly Sholes.  Cheryl and Belinda landed in the 5-6 position with losses to Sam Beatty and Holly Sholes respectively.
Sunday brought back the final four.  After a roller coaster ride of great play and lead changes between Erin Watts and  Christy Norris, it would be  Norris to defend the hot seat with a 7-5 win while Sholes prevailed over Sam Beatty 7-3 setting up the semi-final between Sholes and Watts.  Watts got off to a 4-1 lead and looked like she had the momentum.  Holly, trying to adjust to a borrowed cue (she forgot hers!) managed to then run off five straight wins to make it to the hill-4.  Erin won the next game to make it 5-6 but fell just short as Holly closed out the match 7-5.
The final was a spectacular display of skill, strategy, and focus.  Christy jumped out of the gate to a 3-0 lead but Holly was able to close the gap 3-2.  Norris increased her lead to 5-2 before Sholes once again closed the gap to 5-4. Even though Holly broke and made two balls, she didn’t finish the rack giving Christy a 6-4 edge.  In game eleven, Christy scratched on the break and Holly pulled to within one 6-5. Game twelve was critical. Holly broke dry and ceded the advantage to Christy making it 7-5 instead of 6-6. Norris then made two balls on the break but had to push.  Holly played a good safe giving her the opening to make it 7-6.  Holly proceeded to make three balls on the break but missed the out putting Norris on the hill 8-6.  In the final game Christy broke, made a ball and maintained offensive control of the table to win the title.  It was an impressive match.  Congratulations to Christy Norris who displayed a high level of consistent play and to Holly for her runner-up finish with a borrowed cue!
Tiger SMART would like to thank Tiger Products, Inc., Ozone Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, and Quick-Clean for their sponsorship and support during the 2014 season.  Thanks to all our venues this year:  Grady’s Billiards, Rack & Grill II, Shore Thing, and Gate City Billiards.  We hope to see all of you in 2015.
Players in the North and South Carolina area are encouraged to look us up on Facebook at Smart Tour.