Leonardo Andam and Sueyen Rhee win Falcon Cue 9-Ball Tour Debut Event

Leonardo Andam

The newly organized Falcon Cue 9-Ball Tour was off to a strong start the first weekend in February at Champions Billiard Cafe in Laurel, MD. The Open division field of 93 players was full of superstars and local players anxious to take their shot at the $5920 purse. The $1250 provided by the gracious folks at Champions with the new Falcon sponsorship brought the total added money to $3000. This pulled in several noted names including Jose Parica, Keith McCready, Leonardo Andam, Ramil Gallego, Dick Lane and Amar Kang to battle it out with the strong local talent.

Saturday provided several surprises when top performers such as Ryan McCreesh and Mike Davis were sent home early as the field was narrowed down to 24 players. Sunday included more of the same with upsets all over the bracket. Local favorite Jerry Slivka had lost his first match Saturday and then went on a tear winning 8 matches including wins over Gallego, Kang, Billy Stephen and Brian O'Donnell before finally falling to Parica. The crowds gathered early Sunday afternoon for a highly anticipated match between undefeated Filipino players Andam and Parica. They would not be disappointed as both men played superbly and the score wound up at hill-hill. Andam emerged victorious to advance to the winner side final against Ron Justice who was having an outstanding tournament. Andam then shifted gears and rolled into the hot seat with an easy 9-3 victory.

Jim "Shorty" Henson was sent to the 1-loss side by Ron Justice early Sunday afternoon but recovered quickly with a win over Jim McAdams. Henson later found himself on the right side of a 7-6 score with Parica who settled for 4th place. Henson gained his revenge on Justice placing him in 3rd to move on to the true double elimination format final against the undefeated Andam. The first set looked to be a blowout as Andam stormed out to a 6-3 lead. Undaunted, the entertaining Henson fought back and took a 7-6 lead in the race to 9. Andam quietly and purposefully pulled the score back to 8-8 before winning the deciding game and the $1350 first place prize. Henson earned $825 for his 2nd place finish with $550 and $375 for 3rd and 4th.

The Women's division also sported a sizeable 28-player field for the Sunday only event. No surprises here as last year's Player of the Year Sueyen Rhee rolled into the hot seat full of confidence. Amanda Smith was sent to the 1-loss side by Rhee in a hill-hill match but rebounded downing Tina Mason relegating her to 4th place. Smith then fell to Kathy Friend who was having a fantastic tournament. Friend had previously lost to Rhee in the winner side final but advanced to take another shot at Rhee. She would not fare any better this time as Rhee dominated the match to take the title and the $425 prize.

The tour would like to thank Falcon and all the sponsors for their support. Stay tuned. it is going to be a great year.