Dobson goes undefeated to hot seat, splits with Konkel at PA ProAm event in Philadelphia

Shaun Dobson and Niko Konkel

Shaun Dobson picked up the ‘official’ win on the PA ProAm’s 10-Ball Open this past weekend (Sat., May 25), making it his first (recorded) win ever in regional tour/event competition, dating back to 2007 (with a 10-year gap among recorded cash finishes between 2013/2023). He missed it being an ‘actual’ recorded victory (one earned by a hot seat occupant winning a final match against the winner of the semifinals) when he split the top two prizes with 16-year-old Niko Konkel, who entered the tournament looking for his first 2024 cash finish and his first win since he grabbed a Q City 9-Ball Tour title back in 2022. The event, featuring races to 7 on the winners’ side and 6 on the loss side, drew 32 entrants to Bluegrass Billiards in Philadelphia.

Dobson got off to a challenging start against Jason Halpin, who battled him to double hill before Dobson dropped the final 10-ball and advanced. Over his next three matches, Dobson gave up only as many racks as he’d given up in his first. He downed Pabel Collado (3), Mark Nanashee (1), and in a winners’ side semifinal, Kevin Hernandez (2) and advanced to the hot seat match. From the other end of the bracket, Matt Krah got by Brian Revill (2), Nelson Tran (1), Bill Smith (3), and in his winners’ side semifinal, Shawn Bogutskie (2). Dobson grabbed the hot seat 7-4 over Krah.

On the loss side, Konkel, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal match to Bogutskie 7-4, headed out on a five-match winning streak that would take him all the way to the final match  which didn’t happen. He’d started out on the loss side with a double-hill win over Michael Miller, before giving up a single rack to Bill Smith and drawing Hernandez, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Bogutskie picked up Mark Nanashee, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal to Dobson and then defeated junior competitor Skylar Hess and Joel Martinez, both 6-3.

Konkel advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Hernandez and was joined by Nanashee, who’d spoiled a rematch by defeating Bogutskie 6-4. Konkel won the quarterfinal 6-2 over Nanashee and advanced to what would prove to be the event’s final match, the semifinals, versus Matt Krah.

Krah, who chalked up his first (recorded) regional tour win on the Planet Pool Tour in 2001 (about seven years before his semifinal opponent, Konkel, was born), was looking for his first recorded win in a major event in a little over a decade (Feb. 2015). He was, to say the least, motivated to grab this 10-ball title. But so was Konkel and they battled to double-hill before Konkel won it and opened negotiations with Dobson on a split of the top two prizes. Beyond the 3rd place finish, Krah became the winner of a qualifying spot in an upcoming World Nineball Tour event, scheduled for June 15.

Tour director Frank Maialetti thanked Domenic Monaco, Joseph McCaffrey, Armand Deblasis and their Bluegrass Billiards staff for their hospitality, along with sponsors Integrity Cues, Crossroads Cues Gallery Page, Cue Pocket LLC, Marty Magee’s, The League Room, Game on Gear and Trophy Smack (for the “highly-coveted” 10-Ball Open Belt for the Champion). 

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