Mendoza cools off Freezer for Olhausen All Around Win

Jimmy Mendoza

The Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour kicked off it's 2007 season with a bang as 64 players converged on Main Street Billiards in Mesa, Az. While reigning All Around Champion Doug Hale was not present for this one, there was no lack of talent as top players including Scott Frost, Jimmy Mendoza, Mitch Ellerman, Tony Confalone, Chuck Evans, Glenn Bond, Tres Kane, Dennis Orender and reigning BCA Open 8-Ball champion Derek Cumm came out to try their hand at big table 8-ball.

With a field this strong, not all of the top players would make it out of Saturday play. Chuck Evans won his first match but lost his next two. Mike Pankoff was another "three and out" elimination. Evans Bishop was "two and out" after losses to Brad Johnson and Dennis Orender. Orender found himself on the one loss side after a loss to Jimmy Mendoza in the first round.

All of the players who were eliminated in their first three matches were eligible win prizes donated by tour sponsors including McDermott Cues, Tiger Products, Billiards Press and Joe Tucker Products. The majority of those players stayed for the drawings and walked away with a prize of some kind. Main Street regular Alex Poon was the winner of the new cue from McDermott Cues.

Sunday morning, the final eight on the winners side contained a lot of familiar names as Frost, Mendoza, Ellerman, Confalone, Dan Allen, Bobby Emmons, Michel Couvrette and Ben Hrabina all faced off for the hot-seat.

Confalone and Frost squeeked by Hrabina and Couvrette by identical 8-7 scores, while Mendoza and Ellerman scored dominating 8-2 wins over Allen and Emmons. The next round saw Frost earn an 8-4 win over Confalone and Mendoza earn an 8-4 win over Ellerman to set up the quarter final match between Frost and Mendoza. This match turned out rather anti-climactic as Frost cruised to an 8-2 win over Mendoza to take the hot-seat.

On the one loss side, the big story was the play of Dennis Orender. After Orender's loss to Mendoza early on Saturday, he rolled off four wins to make it to Sunday play. Orender then started off Sunday with a hill-hill win over Tres Kane and followed that up with a 7-0 thumping of Ben Hrabina. Orender wasn't done though. Next on his list was Michel Couvrette, who he eliminated 7-4. Couvrette settled for a 7th place tie with Bobby Emmons after Emmons' hill-hill loss to Dan Allen.

Allen would fall in the next round to Tony Confalone by the score of 7-4, while Orender just kept on rolling with a hill-hill win over Mitch Ellerman. It looked like Confalone might bring Orender's streak to an end as he led 5-4 only to see Orender win three straight games and send Confalone home in 4th place.

Orender then faced off against the man who originally sent him to the one loss side 10 matches earlier, Jimmy Mendoza. The match was a nailbiter the whole way with both players knowing that a trip to the finals was on the line. At hill-hill, Orender missed a tough shot and could do nothing to stop Mendoza from running out the rack for the win.

The finals got off to a quick start as Mendoza took control and ran out to a 5-1 lead. As expected, Frost made a run and cut a 7-2 deficit to 7-5. In the end though, the difference appeared to be Mendoza's experience playing 8-ball. He was able to navigate tables easier and he was able to hold on for an 11-8 win in the extended match.

Mendoza was unsure that he would be able to play on Sunday, so he did not buy himself in all of the sidepots. He earned $1145 for first place. Mendoza's lack of sidepots was to Frost's advantage as he pocketed $1120 for second. Visual Impressions has joined the tour this year as the sponsor of the points list and Mendoza now has the early lead on the points list.

The Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour will be at Alexanders Sports Bar on February 24th and 25th for a $1000 added barbox 10-ball event.

The Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour is sponsored by Olhausen Billiards ("The Best in Billiards"), as well as McDermott Handcrafted Cues, Visual Impressions, Aramith Billiard Balls, Tiger Products, Whisler Custom Cues, OnQ Cases, Tweeten Fibre, Joe Tucker, Billiards Press and Billiards Digest.