Kelly goes undefeated to capture his first Tri-State title

Pascal Dufresne, Chris Kelly, and Tony Liang
The number has continued to come up; twice in January, once each in March and April. Until Saturday, May 7, Chris Kelly had cashed in three stops on the Predator Tour this year, and once, on the Tri-State Tour. He finished in the tie for 9th place in all four. Having presumably grown tired of hearing "Number Nine! Number Nine! Number Nine! and Number Nine!" Chris Kelly signed on for the $1,000-added, May 7 event on the Tri-State Tour that drew 37 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, and went undefeated to chalk up his first Tri-State title.
Kelly had to get by Pascal Dufresne twice to complete his undefeated run. He'd gotten by Duc Lam, Elvis Rodriguez, and Tony Liang to draw Stewart Warnock in a winners' side semifinal. Dufresne, in the meantime, faced Mike Figueroa. Kelly sent Warnock to the loss side 8-3, as Dufresne was busy shutting out Figueroa to send him to the west bracket. Kelly took the first of two versus Dufresne 7-4 and waited in the hot seat for the second.
On the loss side, Tony Liang, fresh off his loss to Kelly, embarked on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He survived a double hill bout versus Lam and eliminated Rhio Anne Flores 7-3 to draw Warnock. Figueroa picked up Adrian Daniel, who'd downed Akiko Taniyama 6-3 and Brian Schell 7-5 to reach him.
Liang advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Warnock, and was met by Daniel, who'd eliminated Figueroa 6-2. In what would prove to be his final loss-side win, Liang defeated Daniel 9-7. 
Liang put up a strong, double hill fight in the semifinals that followed, but Dufresne prevailed for a second shot at Kelly. Dufresne took the opening rack of the finals, before he and Kelly traded racks to a 3-3 tie. Kelly, at that point, chalked up three straight racks to reach the hill, and though Dufresne would win rack #10, Kelly closed out his first Tri-State win with a deciding victory in rack #11.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, May 15, will be hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.