Iris Ranola Captures Oklahoma Women’s State 9-Ball Championship

Janet Atwell, Iris Ranola and Heather Pulford

The OB Cues Ladies Tour and Magoo's in Tulsa, OK hosted the Second Annual Oklahoma State Women's 9-Ball Championship on July 25th & 26th.  Thirty-five women were in attendance for the event, with 15 ladies competing for the 2010 US Open qualifier.  The diverse field that arrived to play proved very tough when the doors opened Saturday morning, as this event is the only OB Cues stop that allows WPBA professionals to participate.  Notable players on hand were WPBA Pros Iris Ranola, Janet Atwell, and Heather Pulford, 2009 OB Cues Ladies Tour Champion Lisa Marr, 2009 BCA Women's Open Champion Cristina De La Garza, 2009 BCA Grand Master Runner-up Julia Gabriel, 2008 BCA Grand Master Runner-Up Bonnie Blowman, and former WPBA professional Julie (Mason) Comitini.  There were some key matches early in the event, knocking many tough opponents to the B-side of the bracket earlier than expected and from there, knocking several out of the main event on Saturday evening.

Twelve players returned for the main event on Sunday, with four players remaining undefeated: Theresa Wilson, Janet Atwell, Julie Comitini, and Iris Ranola.  The first round of the B-side eliminated Laura McDermott, Tara Williams, Shayla Neris, and Natalie Starr in a tie for 9th.  Lisa Marr and Kathy McMinn finished a respectable 7th.  The 5th place matches pitted the four remaining qualifier contenders against each other, each vying to remain in the running for the spot in the 2010 US Open.  Heather Pulford and Julie Comitini were able to keep their qualifier dreams alive, while Theresa Wilson and Ginny Keeler had to settle for a paycheck and a 5th place finish. After all was said and done, Julie Comitini took the 4th place finish and Heather Pulford walked away with the spot for the 2010 US Open event and a chance to improve her standing in the tournament.  On the winner's side, Iris Ranola was matched against fellow professional Janet Atwell.  Iris came out on top in a hill-hill match and had to wait for the 3rd place match to see whom she would face in the finals.  Janet came out on top against Heather 7-4.  Congratulations to Heather Pulford for her 3rd place finish and we wish her good luck next year in the 2010 US Open.  In a repeat of the hot seat match, Iris and Janet would face each other once again to see who would be crowned the 2009 Oklahoma State 9-Ball Champion.  Before the finals match could begin, two cues donated by OB Cues were raffled to support the event.  The lucky winners were regular OB Cue Tour members, Tara Williams and Sandy Rodermund.   

After the raffle drawing, the finals of the main event followed shortly.  The atmosphere was light early on as the two friends had all the pressure off since they had whittled out the competition.  After being tied up at three games apiece, the match became tenser as Janet took a commanding 6-3 lead.  Iris managed to get one more game before Janet closed out the first set at 7-4.  In the true double elimination format, Janet had forced the second set.  After a quick break, the final showdown occurred.  Iris took control early in the second match, but it was obvious that the day was wearing on both players as more safeties than run-outs were attempted this time around.  However, at 6-2, Iris broke and ran to take the match and the title of the 2009 Oklahoma State Women's 9-Ball Champion.  Congratulations to both players for a spectacular finals match to end a great weekend of pool.

In the second chance event, sixteen players arrived early on Sunday morning to compete.  Monica Anderson and Borana Andoni took the 5th place spots.  Elissa Jordan finished fourth, and Catherine Naes finished 3rd. In the finals, Julia Gabriel and Bonnie Plowman battled for the win and a little extra cash to fill their pocket.  Bonnie just barely got ahead of Julia in her first second chance event, getting some good rolls to come out on top in that match.

The OB Cues Ladies Tour Board experienced some changes over this weekend as well.  After 9 years of service to the tour, Melinda Bailey stepped down from her position on the board.  She will be missed for all of her contributions, but the players and her fellow board members have appreciated the time she has committed to the tour over the years.  We wish her good luck in all of her future pool endeavors and look forward to seeing her regularly as a player in the events.  In Melinda's departure, the board would like to welcome its newest member, Tara Williams.  This was her first event to assist with the duties performed by the board members.

Thank you again to Jim & Laura McDermott for hosting the Oklahoma State 9-Ball Championships; it was a great event as usual and we appreciate all the hospitality we received from you and your staff!  In addition to OB Cues and Tiger Products, the tour would also like to welcome Ozone Billiards as a fellow tour supporter.  They donated a cue case to raffle at this event to one lucky player.

Be sure to come out and support the ladies at the next OB Cues Ladies Tour stop at Fast Eddie's in Waco, Texas on August 29-30th.