Defending Champion Kelly Fisher Makes Her Run For A Repeat And Her WPBA First Win Of 2009

Kelly Fisher

October 15, 2009 – Lincoln City, OR:  This WPBA event began Thursday at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in earnest as 64 of the top players from around the world competed for much more than just the title.  Rankings after this event will determine who receives their invitation to the final WPBA event and Major of the 2009 season, the WPBA Tour Championships being held November 11-15th, 2009 at the Seminole Hard Rock.  The top 63 ranked player's post-Pacific Coast Classic will earn their chance to play and earn their exemption for 2010.   Due to the fact that the WPBA will be taping all four Quarterfinal match-ups on Saturday, the tournament operated on an accelerated schedule and 8 players were eliminated Thursday night.  Kelly Fisher returns to defend her 2008 Champions title.

The WPBA held its Annual Player's Meeting, Board Elections and Awards Banquet at Chinook Winds Casino Resort on Wednesday, October 14th.  Awards recipients included Hall of Fame Inductee – Greatest Player Category – Robin Dodson. Tournament Director Steve Tipton handed out his Director's Award to WPBA Pro Caroline Pao, and WPBA Board President Dawn Hopkins gave the President's Award for excellence in service this year to Melissa Herndon and Kristi Carter.  A wonderful history of Women's Billiards was offered up by Keynote Speaker, Michael Shamos; Curator of the Billiards Archive.  

Following the Banquet, Chinook Winds held a Celebrity Charity Pro-Am that evening, benefiting My Sister's Place.   Robin Dodson treated fans and players alike by joining in the Pro Am.

Match play began at 10:00am today, and the tournament saw the return of Jennifer Chen who hasn't played since the San Diego Classic earlier this year.  She's been busy at home in China though, as she's opened up a beautiful pool room, JC Billiards & Club.  We have one rookie player, Michelle Cortez who qualified for this event. presents free web streaming one match from each round of play today and tomorrow, and the first web match of the day saw the aforementioned Jennifer Chen versus Canada's Brittany Bryant.  Although it was a tight match, Jennifer defeated Brittany 9-7.   The first upset of the day came with Regional Tour player, Rachel Eliazar defeating the always tough top Pro, Melissa “The Viper” Little, in their first round match.  Next, Canada's Denise Belanger fought hard and won against Tracie Hines who has had an excellent season so far.  Stephanie Mitchell, another top Regional Tour player, defeated Japan's Kyoko Sone who had a great tournament in Colorado.  Liz Taylor from the New England Women's Pool Tour, who'd had a fantastic 5th place finish at the CO Classic, was disappointed after losing in her first round match versus Bonnie Plowman.  Finally, the biggest upset came when four-time Collegiate Champion Eleanor Callado defeated top seeded Helena Thornfeldt 9-6.  

One interesting 2nd round match came between Nicole Keeney and Sarah Rousey.  Both seemed to match up well against the other and it was a tight match the whole way, but Sarah emerged the winner, 9-7.  Ewa Laurance, who'd won her first match handily, came upon Allison Fisher.  Allison showed no mercy, defeating her fellow veteran 9-4.  One of the highlight matches during the 7:45pm rounds was between the 2009 San Diego Classic Champion, Monica Webb and former World 9 Ball Champion and newly naturalized United States Citizen, Julie Kelly (Congratulations on taking your oath, Julie!).  The match was close from the start as each traded games all the way through the first 14 games.  Julie was in the zone and stepped it up, making an amazing shot on the 2 ball caroming it into the 9 in game 15 to reach the hill.  Monica had an opportunity to tie it up at hill-hill but scratched giving Julie ball in hand with just 2 balls left to win 9-7.  

Top Canadian player, Denise Belanger, lost a tight match to the always tough and persistent Megan Smith, who shook off the tension in her match to win 9-8.  Megan moves on to face Karen Corr in the third round winner's bracket match.  All told, 13 of the top 16 seeded players in this event have won their first two matches and will be back tomorrow for the third round on the winner's side.  

Eight competitors have been eliminated today, all of whom played in the last match of the evening at 9:30pm.  Several are “on the bubble” in rankings for an invitation into the final WPBA Tournament of the season, the 2009 WPBA Tour Championships.  The top 48 ranked players after the TC will earn their exemption for 2010, so every point counts in this event.   Liz Taylor, Kyoko Sone, Tracie Hines, Liz Cole, Val Finnie, Melissa Little, Helena Thornfeldt and Heather Lloyd, all survived their 9:30pm matches to move on in the event.