Liz Cole goes undefeated to earn her spot at the 2011 WPBA US Open

NWPA's 2011 season kicked off March 19-20th at Askar's Golden Fleece in Kenmore, WA.  Tournament play was completed on 9 9 foot Diamond tables with Simonis cloth and in addition to the $500 added for the prize fund, Askar also added the $500 entry fee to make the event a qualifier for the WPBA's US Open.  Rail2Rail Productions provided Live Streaming of the event all weekend long and newly crowned Western Region BCA Open A 8 Ball Champion Leo Violette joined the gang in the commentator's booth.  One of the goals set for each of the ladies by the tour was to bring in some new blood.  Shelby fulfilled her annual quota by bringing new player Cathy Duenas to join in the action.  Jana also brought her cousin Heather Moonias to play as well.

Twenty-eight ladies from British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, and Oregon started play on Saturday morning, including former NWPA stars Kim Jones and Mona Remedios.  Even with the smaller field, tough competition lasted throughout the weekend, including 5 hill-hill matches and 5 matches that went 7-5.

Eight ladies returned on Sunday to resume play including: Andrea Saenz Maes vs Kim Jones and Shari Ross vs. Liz Cole on the a side, and Jana Montour vs. Mona Remedios and Mary Hopkin vs. Kimberly Kirk on the b side.  Kim and and Liz both advanced through their morning matches 7-4 and 7-2 respectively to square off for the hot seat, which Liz won7-4.  Jana and Mary also won their morning matches 7-2 and 7-1 to advance.  Jana continued her strong play by then defeating Shari 7-2, while Mary fell to Andrea 7-5.  On Saturday, Andrea had defeated Jana in a hill-hill nail biter but their Sunday rematch would not be as close.  Jana defeated Andrea 7-4.  In the b side final, Kim and Jana squared off to see who would earn their shot at the first final of the 2011 NWPA season.  As Kim appeared to be running out the final rack with both players tied at 6, she came up short on her 9 ball position to the corner.  Shooting off the rail, Kim missed the cut and left Jana a fairly manageable cut in the corner.  Jana took her time, but then missed as well, leaving a nearly 90 degree cut along the rail.  Kim eyed the shot with conviction, stepped to the table, and then leaned into her approach.  Kim ran the ball along the rail, ending Jana's hopes of repeating her 2010 performance at our first stop.

Liz Cole path to final: Bye, Tamre (0), Cathy D (4), Shari R (2), Kim J (4)

Kim Jones path to the final: Deby W (5), Andy R (5), Sue O (6), loss to Liz 7-4, Jana M (6)

The final would be one race to 9, alternating break.  Both ladies were shooting extremely well and ended up exchanging games through 5-5 when a missed 8 ball in the 11th game allowed Liz back to the table to take the lead at 6-5. Liz was able to increase her lead when Kim jawed the 9 ball.  Both players then exchanged games to 8-7.  Early in rack 16, a missed 1-9 combination by Kim was followed by multiple safeties both on each other and on themselves.  In this final rack, both players were playing pretty conservatively; however, a missed 5 ball by Kim allowed Liz a pretty straight forward safety.  When Kim attempted to cut the ball in off the rail, she made it but then scratched.  Liz ran out the last four balls to earn her first Qualifier to a WPBA event.

Tournament Payouts
1st    Liz Cole        $425 + $500 Entry for US Open   
2nd    Kim Jones            $275
3rd    Jana Montour            $180
4th     Andrea Saenz Maes        $140
5/6    Mary Hopkin/Shari Ross        $84
7/8    Kimberly Kirk/Mona Remedios    $64

Nine ladies showed up for the $100 added 2nd Chance tournament on Sunday.  With a race to 3 on the winner's side and a race to 2 on the loser's, play wrapped up prior to completion of the main event. Shelby Locati dominated the field and did not lose a match.

2nd Chance Payouts
1st    Shelby Locati        $60
2nd    Heather Moonias    $50
3rd    Alisha Rogers        $40
4th    Cathy Duenas        $30
5/6    Jessica Orth/Talya Makus