Jones wins WPBA West Coast RTC; will face Megan Smith at the US Open

Kim Jones

On April 29, Kim Jones won the second stop on the Northwest Women's Poolplayers Association Tour. A week later, on May 6, she joined 28 regional players in Bellevue, WA for the WPBA West Coast Regional Tour Championship, and in the finals, battled to a double hill victory over Liz Cole. The victory earned her the right to face the WPBA's East Coast champion, Megan Smith, in a one-on-one battle to crown an overall regional tour champion at the WPBA US Open next month in Oklahoma. The $2,000-added RTC, hosted by Parlor Billiards and Spirits in Bellevue, featured a series of round-robin matches that sent eight, top-scoring women to a single elimination round of three matches which eventually crowned the West Coast champion.

The 28 entrants were broken up into four groups of seven, which played a series of six, round robin matches, tallying points (games won) along the way. The top eight scores (two from each group) at the end of the series, advanced to a three-match series of single elimination rounds. Liz Cole went undefeated (30 points) in her group, defeating eventual, final-eight competitor (Shelby Locati) in the process. Jones, who won five of her six matches to finish with 27 points, was in a group with the current, top-ranked player on the NWPA tour, Jana Montour; Jones is second on that tour, and Cole is third. Montour finished the round robin matches, a point ahead of Jones. Jones had won their head-to-head battle, but had scored only two points in a second round match against Trinh Lu.

Mary Hopkin and Linda Carter (the only competitor among the final eight not ranked on the NWPA Tour) advanced from their group with 25 points each, edging out Talya Makus (ties broken by head-to-head records in the round robin series). Suzanne Smith (28 points) and Deby Welfringer (26 points) completed the group of eight finalists. Jones faced Welfringer, Cole drew Hopkin, Montour took on Smith, and Locati squared off against Carter.

Jones advanced to the semifinals with a 9-4 victory over Welfringer and faced Locati, who'd downed Carter 9-3. Cole took her place among the final four with a 9-5 win over Hopkin, and was joined by Montour, who'd defeated Smith 9-4. 

In a reversal of the April 29 hot seat match on the NWPA Tour, which Montour won 7-5, it was Cole advancing to the finals with a 9-4 victory. Jones advanced with a 9-6 win over Locati.

Cole took an early 3-0 lead in the race-to-9 finals, and maintained that lead, through to 6-3. By the 12th rack, the lead was down to two at 7-5. Jones promptly chalked up three in a row to reach the hill, and Cole came back to tie it - double hill. A shot at the 7-ball in the final rack was missed by Cole, and Jones took advantage to capture the WPBA West Coast RTC championship.

"Liz was the toughest challenge," said Jones, a day later.

"I felt like I was struggling in that last match," she added. "I felt I was shooting well, but I made a few errors in the last three games."

It's on now to Oklahoma for the (free entry for Jones) WPBA US Open, scheduled for June 6-10 at the River Spirit Casino and Resort in Tulsa, OK, for a match versus the East Coast champion, Megan Smith. Smith earned the East Coast title, when the winner of that event, My Hanh Lac, determined that she could not attend the Open.

"I've played her quite a few times," said Jones, who began her competitive career on the East Coast, "but I think I've only beaten her once."

"When I played her," she added, "she was dominating that (JPNEWT) Tour."

NWPA and WPBA President Tamre Rogers extended thanks to Steve Olson (owner) and Dave Lauer (manager) of Parlor Billiards and Spirits in Bellevue, Rail2Rail Productions, which provided live streaming at the event, and Billiards 911 for the event's raffle cues. Rogers also thanked the WPBA for their contribution of a free entry to the US Open for the winner.

1st Kim Jones
2nd Liz Cole
3rd Jana Montour
Shelby Locati
5th Suzanne Smith
Mary Hopkin
Linda Carter
Deby Welfringer