Day One of the US Amateur Champion

On November 7-9, Mr. Cues II in Atlanta, GA hosts the 14th annual U.S. Amateur Champion, presented by the APA. This is the fourth consecutive year this event finds its home at “Cues,” as the locals refer to it. To prepare, the previous tables were all replaced by brand new Brunswick Gold Crown V's and shiny, new Brunswick Centennial ball sets were brought out once the matches began.

This unique tournament format includes both 8-ball and 9-ball. The winner of the lag chooses either the starting game or the opening break, race to 7 for the men and race to 5 for the women. 128 men and 25 women qualified from 29 different states and one entrant came all the way from Toronto, Canada.

This three day event kicked off with a players' meeting and hearty buffet at 1 o'clock. Matches were called promptly at 1:30. Last year's champ in the men's division, Jason Richko of Trinity, FL, is sitting pretty with two 7-4 victories after a respectable showing at the recent U.S. Open. His big win last year got him for a free ride to the Open. “I'm feeling great. I'm just here to have a good time, have fun, and play,” said Richko.

Not so fortunate was reigning women's champ, Tina Larsen from Palatine, IL, who was sent to the left after a 5-1 defeat against Rhio Anne Flores of Jersey City, NJ. “It's a tough crowd. It's not easy. I'm excited to be here. I'm going for number three,” said Larsen who won in '07 and '03. She'll be competing in the WPBA Tour Championships in Hollywood, FL next week as her prize from last year's victory.

In another first round upset, Melinda Huang of Los Angeles, CA was done for the day after missing the 8 ball at hill-hill against Dee Dee Copeland of Bolton, MS. Canadian Chris Russell started off with a 7-0 bang against Dallas's Kyle Rowland. Russell took a 12 hour bus ride to Ohio to qualify in the preliminary round. Previous winner from ‘99 and '98, Henry Brodt remains undefeated after a tight match against Bakersfield, CA's Brian Parks.

Play continues with 9:30a.m. matches. Visit for more information, online tournament brackets, and photos.