Gurel wins her first Tri-State

Alan Chan, Neslihan Gurel and Basdeo (Shawn) Sookai

While adapting to the hustle-bustle of New York City life, Neslihan Gurel , a native of Turkey, spends her days as a student of fashion design and related marketing. By night (and weekends), she is an aspiring professional pool player, who just added a win on the Tri-State Tour to her growing resume. That resume includes being the Turkish 9-Ball Champion and being named the 2009 Ozone Billiards US Open Amateur 8-Ball women's champion. The $1,500-added, All Class tournament that brought her to Master Billiards in New York City on the weekend of June 12-13, drew 40 entrants, including a list of the usual suspects, like Scott Simonetti, Tony Eglesias, Dave Shlemperis and Wilfredo Albay, to name just a few. 

By the time the two concurrently run tournaments, in the A/B and C/D classes, had reached their separate finals, creating the winners' side final four of the complete tournament event, all but one of the above listed usual suspects were working from the one-loss side.  Left standing were Gurel, who faced off against Alan Chan, and Basdeo Sookhai who drew Shlemperis. Gurel sent Chan west 6-2 to move into the hot seat match against Sookhai, who'd defeated Shlemperis 7-5. Gurel gained the hot seat with a 7-6 win over Sookhai and waited for his return. 

On the one-loss side, Simonetti, looking for his third overall and second straight Tri-State victory was working his way back from a third round defeat at the hands of Sookhai. Simonetti  moved into the money rounds with a 7-6 win over Daniel Dagado, and followed that up with a 7-4 win over Eglesias, which set him up to face Shlemperis. Chan picked up Ramilo Tanglao, who'd defeated Albay 7-6 and Ken Debroske 6-3.  

Simonetti defeated Shlemperis 7-5 to get into the quarterfinals, as Chan was busy dropping Tanglao into the tie for fifth place 6-5 to join him. Chan ended Simonetti's bid for a second straight Tri-State win with a 9-4 win that put him into the semifinals against Sookhai, who prevailed 7-5 for a second crack at Gurel.  

Sookhai got out to a brief, two-game lead at the 3-1 point, but Gurel came back to tie it and get out in front by a single game at 4-3. The two traded racks to the 11th game, when Gurel,  ahead 6-5, won a second straight game and finished it 7-5. 

Thanks were extended to Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Viking Cues, Ron Tarr Cues, Phil Capelle, and Dr. Dave Billiards Instructional Products for sponsorship of the event.