Khan wins nine straight, seven on the loss side to take Memorial Day weekend Tri-State stop

Most of the time, pool players, sitting in a tournament's hot seat, are looking to face someone they've already defeated, or at least, someone they'd seen play from among the winners' side final eight or four. Rarely does a player who lost in an opening round pop up on a hot seat occupant's radar. On Memorial Day weekend, at the $1,000-added, B/D handicapped Tri-State Tour stop, held at Amsterdam Billiards & Bar on the lower East side of Manhattan, Ron Mason had worked his way through a 27-entrant field to find himself in the hot seat, one victory away from an undefeated event victory.

And suddenly, there he was, facing him in the finals; Carl Yusuf Khan - who'd received a bye in the opening round of play on Saturday, and been defeated in the second round. It came down to a final, double hill rack in the second set of a true double elimination final, and it was Khan sinking the last 9-ball and winning his first Tri-State stop. . the hard way.

From among the winners' side final four, with three victories behind him and three matches ahead of him, Mason defeated Chris Karp 7-2. Jacob Schwartz, in the meantime, sent Arturo Reyes west 7-5 to join Mason in the hot seat battle. Mason dominated the winners' side final 7-1, and watched as Khan completed his seven-victory march to face him.

Khan, with four, one-loss side victories behind him, including a 7-3 victory over Tony Ignomirello and a 7-5 win over Pat DiBuono, drew Karp. Reyes faced the man who'd sent Khan over in the second round, Billy Cheng, who'd defeated Keith Adamik and Luis Jimenez, both 7-4, to reach him. A Cheng/Khan quarterfinal rematch was averted when both Khan and Reyes chalked up shutouts over Karp and Cheng.

Khan was just over halfway home; five behind him and with the true double elimination format, four ahead of him. He dropped Reyes into fourth place 7-3, and got into the finals with a 7-2 victory over Schwartz in the semifinals.

A 7-3 win for Khan in the opening set of the finals versus Mason brought the weekend tournament down to a single rack. Shooting at the 7-ball, Mason had the angle figured, but speed tripped him up. The ball hung in the pocket, Khan stepped to the table and finished the nine-match run that earned him his first Tri-State victory.