Empress Ming Ng Undefeated in Florida

The ladies of the Spirit Tour met at Baron's Billiards in Bradenton, Florida on April 23-24, 2005 to determine who would take home the qualifier to the WPBA Cuetec Cues Southeast Classic to be held in Florida in June.

Top picks in the event were Ming Ng, Tracie Hines, Ellen VanBuren, Bonnie Coats and Debbie Schjodt. Ng made an undefeated run through the winner's bracket with scores of 7-4, 7-0, 7-4 and 7-0 to get into the hot seat. On her way to meet Ng in the hot seat match was Spirit Tour coordinator, Bonnie Coats who was running out and keeping her opponents in their chairs. When the two met up to determine who would have a spot in the finals, Ng started things off by running out to perfect shape on three 9-ball combos to take a 4-1 lead. Ng continued to put the pressure on with her run outs and closed out the set 7-2 to take queen of the hill.

On the B side, Tracie Hines was staging a major tournament comeback after losing her second match to Ellen VanBuren on Saturday. Hines went on to win 42 out of 56 games and post six match wins to secure a spot in the semifinals. Hines met Coats in the semis and kept her away from the table for the majority of the match, running out six games from early in the rack, taking a 6-2 lead. Coats capitalized on the few times Hines did err and it looked like Coats might make a comeback when she ran out to go 6-4. But, a scratch on the break and ball in hand for Hines was the end as Hines ran out for a 7-4 win. With her high finish, Coats advanced to 3rd on the points list for the season.

Hines had a tough feat before her, playing Ming Ng in the true double elimination finals. Hines would have to win twice to take the win. Hines made an opening statement by running out the first three racks from to first ball to lead 3-0. She scratched on the 7 in the fourth rack and Ming scored her first game, 3-1. In the next game, Hines ran out to a 5-9 carom which she split clean into the pocket, followed by another out to go up 5-1. It looked like a shut out until Hines faltered and missed two nine-balls, giving Ng the chance to get to 5-3. Hines wasn't phased and ran out the next rack to get on the hill 6-3. After coming up short on shape, Hines was forced to play safe on the 8 in the next game but she left Ng a long tough shot which she expertly executed for the out to make it 6-4. The next game ended when Hines drilled a bank shot on the three to get in shape for the run out, taking the match 7-4.

The second set started off with Ng running out from the 4 to make the score 1-0. Both Hines and Ng ran out one rack apiece, leaving Ming with a 2-1 lead. The next racks were back and forth with safeties and Ng prevailed each game, until the score was 4-1. Hines ran out the next two racks to close the gap to 4-3 and then three-fouled Ng in the next rack to tying up at 4-all. The players each took another rack at 5-5. Ming then made a kick-sliced in the two ball but she went on to miss the 7 and gave Hines the chance to get on the hill first, 6-5. Ng recouped by running the next rack to tie 6-6. In the last rack, Ng played safe on the two and Hines kicked at it but left Ng a shot. Ng ran to the 8 but left herself with a long shot on the 9 and the crowd leaned forward to see if she would make it. The Empress confidently cut it into the pocket for a 7-6 tournament win plus the qualifier. Hines accepted 2nd place and moved into 1st place on the points list.

The Ladies Spirit Tour will be at Wally's Sports & Billiards in Lakeland, Florida on June 18-19 for a WPBA qualifier sponsored by LTLUniverse.com.

1st Ming Ng $750 + $500 WPBA Qualifier 2nd Tracie Hines $525 3rd Bonnie Coats $375 4th Debbie Schjodt $250 5th/6th Niki Rasmussen, Crystal McCormick $150 7th/8th Ellen VanBuren, Helene Caukin $100 9th-12th Deanna Laney, Jessica Barnes, Roberta Case, Stephanie Mitchell $50

Photo courtesy of WPBA