‘Heavy hitters’ come out to play on DFW 9-Ball Tour Finale, Briseno goes undefeated

Greg Sandifer, Gus Briseno & Robert Clark

Restricted to competitors who had played in at least one event throughout the year, the $2,500-added 2020 DFW 9-Ball Tour Finale drew 60 of the tour’s ‘heavy hitters’ to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX this past weekend (Nov. 14-15). A heavy hitter rated at ‘9’ (one of only two ‘9’s that competed) took on a heavy hitter with an ‘8’ rating in the hot seat match and finals. The ‘9’ (Gus Briseno) prevailed in both, going undefeated to claim the title. Greg Sandifer (8) took runner-up honors into the winners’ circle. 

The event paid out to 12 spots and also awarded cash prizes to the top-finishing SL4 players – TD Monica Anderson & Jennifer Hooten – who also won and split the last female standing cash award. Matthew Kindley and Ryan Schmidt split the cash prize for the last SL5 standing and Miguel Hernandez won the prize as the last SL6 standing.

In addition to the cash prizes associated with the main event, the tour also awarded its top three 2020 players with CueTec Cues; Tony Top (8, 3rd place) received a CueTec Jumping Cue, Donnie Gregory (8, 2nd place), got a CueTec Break Cue, and the tour’s top player, Clint Palaci (7), was awarded a CueTec Playing Cue and will receive free entry to every 2021 tour stop. 

Briseno’s path to the win went through Joshua Perez, Chris Ferguson, Neil Nabil Saidawi and Daniel Herring (with an aggregate score of 36-7) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against John Carlo Tuazon. Greg Sandifer was awarded an opening round bye and then got stuck chalking up 8-3 wins over Brendan Fuller, Chris Gaither and Clint Palaci (24-9), before running into Robert Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 8, Clark knocked Sandifer out of his 8-3 rut with a double hill match, but Sandifer finished it, advancing to the hot seat match. Briseno joined him, after sending Tuazon to the loss side 9-5. Briseno then grabbed the hot seat, with emphasis, 9-1.

On the loss side, Clark drew Tony Top, who’d followed his 7-4 loss to Tuazon in a winners’ side quarterfinal with wins over Miguel Hernandez 8-4 and Juan Parra 8-6. Tuazon picked up Clint Palaci, who’d followed his 8-3 winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Sandifer with victories over Robbie Smith 7-3 and a shutout versus Roman Bayda.

Clark locked up in a second straight double hill match, only this time, against Top, he advanced to the quarterfinals. Palaci joined him after eliminating Tuazon 7-1. Any momentum Palaci had earned in his decisive win over Tuazon got lost in his subsequent 8-1 loss to Clark in the quarterfinals. 

The ‘momentum loss’ scenario spilled over into the semifinals, as Clark followed his decisive 8-1 victory over Tuazon with an 8-2 loss at the hands of Sandifer, who turned back for a second shot at Briseno in the hot seat.

Sandifer began the final match with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in his race to 9 against Briseno. They battled back and forth and came within a game of double hill, as Sandifer added 6 to his one ‘on the wire,’ which eventually forced a 15th and final game. Briseno closed it out to finish his undefeated run and claim the Season Finale title.

Tour representative Monica Anderson thanked Jeff Pitts and his Rusty’s Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsors Cuetec (which provided two cues for a raffle) and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. According to Anderson, the tour’s 2021 tour schedule will be out in the middle of December. They are securing host venues with plans (Covid permitting) for 11 stops, and five ladies-only stops, as well.