McGee survives one-loss side challenge to take GSBT stop

Jared McGee had to get by Sidney Champion twice to bring home an early, $1,000 holiday present, wrapped up in a Great Southern Billiard Tour victory on the weekend of December 19-20. The $1,500-added event, hosted by King Street Billiards in Fayetteville, NC, drew 40 entrants.

McGee and Champion met first in the hot seat match, after McGee had sent Charlie Brinson west 9-3, and Champion had sent J.R. Post over with a decisive 9-1 victory. McGee gained the hot seat with a closely contested, double hill win over Champion, which meant, in the true double elimination format,  that he'd have to be defeated twice in order for a challenger to capture the event title.

On the one-loss side, Walt Bolden was on a collision course toward Champion in the semifinals. He got by Sam Monday and Tony Williams, both 9-6, to pick up Brinson, as Joe Cosky (who'd been sent west by McGee) was moving past Roy Payton 7-5 and Steve Ladner 7-3 to meet Post. Bolden and Cosky made Brinson and Post's visit to the one-loss side brief;  Bolden with a 9-4 win over Brinson and Cosky with a 7-5 win over Post.  Bolden then chalked up a second straight 9-4 win in the quarterfinal match against Cosky that followed.  Champion ended Bolden's bid with a 9-5 win in the semifinals that sent him back to face McGee.

With momentum on his side, and Sunday night turning into Monday morning, Champion surged ahead in the opening set of the true double elimination final and finished up by two at 9-7 to force a second set. McGee caught something of a second wind, and in spite of some early safety battles in the opening games, took command early and often. He allowed Champion only one rack in winning the second set and taking home the first place prize.