Hulse goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State title

(l to r): Omar Hulse & Euryel Castillo
Omar Hulse navigated his way through a field of C/D competitors on-hand for the August 11 stop on the Tri-State Tour and went undefeated to claim his first Tri-State title. The $1,000-added, C/D event drew 30 entrants to Cue Bar Lounge & Billiards in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Following victories over Rick Rodriguez, Mike Strassberg, and Allison LaFleur, Hulse drew Ambi Estevez in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Euryel Castillo, in the meantime, drew Jowen Pichardo in the other one. With a series of 5-3 wins, Hulse claimed the hot seat. He and Pichardo got into the hot seat match on the heels of identical 5-3 victories over Estevez and Castillo, respectively. Hulse then claimed the hot seat by the same score over Pichardo and waited on what turned out to be the return of Castillo.
On the loss side, the 5-3 ‘party’ continued. Castillo picked up Suzzie Wong, who’d defeated Jack Zhong and Mitra Kanhai, both 5-3. Allison LaFleur broke things up a little, when she defeated Esteban Morrell, Jr. 5-2 and Jim Gutierrez 5-1, to pick up Estevez, but then righted the 5-3 ship by defeating Estevez 5-3. Castillo downed Wong 5-2 to join LaFleur in the quarterfinals.
Castillo and LaFleur battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Castillo ended it to earn a rematch against Pichardo in the semifinals. Castillo gave up only a single rack in those semifinals and got a shot at Hulse in the hot seat. He made good use of the chance he’d earned, but fell short. Castillo fought Hulse to a ninth deciding game in the finals, but it was Hulse who claimed the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, August 17, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.