Katie Gray wins AWBT Season Opener

Katie Gray and Meiko Yamanobe

A field of 33 players made it to Pappy's Sports Bar in Phoenix, Arizona for the first stop of the new Arizona Women's Billiards Tour season. With two of the top ladies on tour at another local event, the tournament was open for a new face in the winners circle.

Early on, that face appeared to belong to Meiko Yamanobe as she scored wins over Ann Burgess, Laura Kelley Phillips, Margie Stephanik, Tracey Elliott and Jodie Villegas on her way to the hot-seat.

Katie Gray, one of the top bar box players in the valley, had other plans however. She dropped an early match to up and coming Justine Karber, but fought back with 5 straight wins on the left side of the board to earn her spot in the true double elimination finals.

Gray's steady play in addition to a couple uncharacteristic misses by Yamanobe gave the first set to Gray 5-2. Yamanobe regrouped and came out firing in the second set where she grabbed a quick 3-1 lead. Next it was Gray's turn to regroup and she knotted the match at 3-3. Game seven could have gone either way when Gray missed an eight ball and Yamanobe ran down to the eight which she also missed. Gray took advantage of the second chance and made the eight to get to the hill at 4-3. Gray went on to win the next game to earn the 5-3 victory and first place in the tournament.

Gray earned $279 for first place, while Yamanobe settled for $191. Jodie Villegas and Anne Gray filled out the top four spots.

The AWBT will be at Sixshooters in Phoenix, AZ on April 17th - 18th for a $500 added WPBA Qualifier.

Complete Payouts:
1st Katie Gray $279
2nd Meiko Yamanobe $191
3rd Jodie Villegas $140
4th Anne Gray $98
5th/6th Tracey Elliott, Justine Karber $65
7th/8th Diana Clayton, Liz Bernreuter $39
9th/12th Aileen Frick, Margie Stephanik, Marney Teague, Dawn Anderson $19
13th/16th Ann Burgess, Barbara Allen, Linda Mcbride, Susan Williams $10