Davis, Jr. comes from the loss side to win Independence Day Shootout on TOP Tour

Mike Davis

Junior competitor Jas Makhani downs Ussery to claim hot seat, battles Davis twice in final

As things were getting hot outside this past Independence Day weekend, the tables were heating up at Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC. At a stop on the PremierBilliards.com’s TOP (The Open Player) Tour, Mike Davis, Jr. and BJ Ussery, Jr., two of the competitors likely to have been at the top of the event’s ‘favored to win’ list, became the bread parts of a 15-year-old Jas Makhani sandwich; a healthy slab of freshly sliced, junior competitor ‘protein choice,’ between two pieces of artisan, multi-grain (pro player) bread. Makhani went undefeated to the hot seat, as Davis finished a five-match, loss-side run to down Ussery in the semifinals and defeat Makhani twice in a true double-elimination final. The $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to the Independence Weekend Open 9-Ball Shootout at Breaktime Billiards.

“This kid is 15,” said Tour Director Herman Parker, with a touch of awe about Makhani’s performance, “and he ended up defeating among others, Landon Hollingsworth, BJ Ussery and battled Mike Davis, Jr. to double-hill in the second set of the final at 4 a.m. in the morning.”

“Sometimes,” he acknowledged, “when you’re playing well, things can be easy for you, but he demonstrated a great deal of composure under pressure against all those top players.”

Rounding out the field of the event’s final four was Nathan Childress, who’s more or less aged out of being an ‘official’ junior competitor, though continuing to qualify for ‘young gun’ status. Childress joined Mike Davis on the loss side during their respective losses in the winners’ side quarterfinals; Davis to Scott Roberts 7-5 and Childress in a double-hill match versus Makhani. After defeating Roberts in their loss-side rematch, Childress fell to Davis in the event quarterfinals.

Makhani’s path to the hot seat went through Jayce Little (2) before he ran into his first two ‘snags;’ meetups with two ‘young guns’ in a row, Landon Hollingsworth and Childress. Both matches went double hill before Makhani prevailed to draw Robert Hamilton in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meanwhile, Ussery was navigating his way through three matches in which he gave up only five racks in 26 games against Randall Bowman (1), Nathan Worley (3) and Hunter White (1). Ussery advanced to draw Scott Roberts in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Makhani moved on to the hot seat match following a 7-4 victory over Hamilton. Ussery joined him after sending Roberts to the loss side 7-5. Makhani claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited in it for Davis to complete his loss-side run.

On the loss side, Davis had followed his loss to Roberts with victories over Jeff Little 6-3 and Landon Hollingsworth 6-4 to draw Hamilton. Roberts picked up Childress, who’d followed his loss to Makhani, with a shutout versus Bryan Toman and a 6-2 win over Kaleb Hixon. 

With a Davis/Roberts rematch on the event horizon, Davis did his part, downing Hamilton 6-1. Roberts, though, fell to Childress 6-2. Davis eliminated Childress 6-4 in those quarterfinals and then shut out Ussery for a double-shot at Makhani, waiting for him in the hot seat.

The two-hour wait (as recorded in the digitalpool bracket) did not serve Makhani well. Davis completed his loss-side run, set right out to work in the opening set of the true double-elimination final and allowed Makhani just a single rack. Makhani got back into gear in the second set and fought Davis back and forth in an early AM Sunday match that went double hill. Davis had the last ‘word,’ dropping the 9-ball in the 13th rack to claim the event title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Sundeep Makhani (father to the runner-up) and his Breaktime Billiards staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor PremierBilliards.com, BarPoolTables.net (Randy Tate), Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC, TKO Custom Cues and Realty One Group results (Kirk Overcash), Dirty South Grind Apparel (Angela Harlan-Parker), Federal Savings Bank (Alex Narod), CHC Underground (Chris Clary), Run Racks Worldwide Apparel (Wanderer Kelly) and AZBilliards. 

Next up for Parker will be a Q City 9-Ball Tour stop, scheduled for this weekend (July 13-14). The event will be the $250-added, 5th Annual Brian James Memorial and will be hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

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