Grossman wins nail-biter final to go undefeated on Florida State 10-Ball Championship

Donnie Mills, Tony Crosby and David Grossman


Dave Grossman lined up a straight, two-foot shot on what should have been his last 10-ball in the finals of the Fourth Annual Florida State 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of December 1-2. Ahead and on the hill at 8-6, Grossman looked up to see if his opponent, Donnie Mills was going to concede the shot and the match. Mills did not. Grossman took the shot and missed it, the ball rattling in, but staying out of the corner pocket. Grossman tossed his cue in violent motion onto the table. Mills stepped up and sunk that 10-ball, to pull within one, and force a 16th rack. Grossman took a deep breath, and when granted the opportunity in rack 16, he cleared the table to complete his undefeated run through the field of 43 that had signed on for the $4,000-added event, hosted by Zingale's in Tallahassee, FL.

It was the one and only time that the two met over the weekend, although both had been among the winners' side final four. Mills met up with Chris Bartram, as Grossman took on Jesse Middlebrooks. Bartram sent Mills west 9-2, as Grossman defeated Middlebrooks 9-5. In something of a marathon, two-hour-plus match, Grossman (prone to safety play) and Bartram battled to double hill before Grossman prevailed to sit in the hot seat, where he'd await the return of Mills.

Mills moved over to pick up Jason Richko, who'd defeated Denny Fox and Ke Wu, both 8-5. Middlebrooks drew James Roberts, who'd survived two straight double hill matches versus Randy Jordan and Adam Wheeler. Mills got right back to work, defeating Richko 8-2, as Roberts was busy ending Middlebrooks' run 8-6. Mills then eliminated Roberts in the quarterfinals 8-3.

Mills and Bartram then embarked on a hard-fought semifinal, during which Mills made the same mistake that Grossman would make later in the finals. On the hill, at 7-6, Mills missed a fairly straight shot at the 9-ball. Bartram took full advantage to knot things at 7-7. Mills came back in the next rack to close things out and earn a shot at Grossman in the hot seat.

In a sudden-death format, familiar to players on Tony Crosby's Poison Tour, if the loss-side opponent in the finals wins the initial race-to-9, the two lag for a break to play a single, sudden death game. If, on the other hand, the hot seat occupant wins the initial race-to-9, it's game, set and match, which is just how it played out.

Mills took an early, slim 2-0 lead in the final match, before Grossman stepped to the table and won five straight. Mills took the next two to pull within one at 5-4, but Grossman racked up two to go ahead by three again at 7-4. Mills fought right back and won the next two to pull within one again at 7-6. Grossman won the 14th rack and was on the hill.

With three balls left on the table, Mills missed an easy shot on the 8-ball, leaving Grossman a good-looking table to finish things. Down went the 8 and 9, and Grossman stepped to the table to make that fateful shot on the 10-ball. Mills cleaned up the mistake to pull within one again at 8-7, but Grossman took care of business, completing his undefeated run through the field of 43.

A $1,000-added, 21-entrant Second Chance tournament was won by James Davis, Jr., who defeated Nick Applebee 5-1 in the finals. It was the second time Davis and Applebee had met; Davis having defeated him earlier 5-3 in the battle for the hot seat. Applebee moved to the semifinals, where he defeated Randy Jordan 5-3. Jordan had survived a double hill match against Stoney Stone in the quarterfinals.

In addition to the prize money won by Grossman and Mills in the main event, both won custom-made Robert Harris Cues; Grossman's valued at $1,500, and Mills' cue valued at $1,000. Tour Director Tony Crosby (who just made it to the 9-12 money rounds) thanked Michael Zingale and his staff at Zingale Billiards, as well as sponsors Poison Cues, Robert Harris Cues (main event), Triple Cross Cues (second chance tournament) and Robertson Billiards.

1st Dave Grossman $2,000
2nd Donnie Mills $1,200
3rd Chris Bartram $800
4th James Roberts $600
5th Jason Richko $350
Jesse Middlebrooks 
7th Ke Wu $200
Adam Wheeler
9th Ronnie Wiseman $100
Denny Fox
Tony Crosby
Randy Jordan


1st - James Davis, Jr. $550
2nd - Nick Applebee $350
3rd - Randy Jordan $250
4th - Stoney Stone $150
5th - Ronnie Wiseman $100