Mendoza is the man at Desert All Around Stop 1

Jimmy Mendoza

The 2006 Olhausen Billiards Desert All Around Tour got off to a great start with a full field of 64 players competing at Alexanders Sports Bar in Phoenix, Az.

While the tournament definitely had it's fair share of marquee local names, the lesser known players made their presence known early with Terry Tucker beating Tres Kane, Sean Brooks defeating Pete Gresh Sr. and Max Maurer upending Dennis Orender.

As the tournament progressed, it was many of the usual players from past all around events who made their way through the winners side. The usual players were joined by two returning names at this event though. Playing in their first all around tour events were Arizona veterans Glenn Bond and Bobby Ast. Both of these players are well known to any Arizona pool fan and neither player failed to put in a good showing.

Bond breezed through the winners side until he was upended by his friend Jimmy Mendoza. Bond then bounced back with wins over Babe Thompson and Steve Murray on the one loss side before finally falling to Chris Adams and finishing in 5th place.

Ast scored convincing wins over such notables as Jim Rabatin, Eric Olson and Mendoza to get to the hot seat match where he would face Doug Hale. Usually an overwhelming favorite in any barbox event, Hale came out a little shaky in this match and found himself trailing 3-0 right out of the gate. Hale valiently fought back, but it Ast who got to the hill first at 8-7. In that game, Ast ended up hooked on a 2-ball that was dangerously close to the 9-ball. With the rack wide open, the fans knew Hale was a favorite to run out the rack if given ball in hand. Ast studied in the shot and instead of going one rail and assuring himself a solid hit on the 2-ball, he went two rails to carom the cue ball off the 2-ball and pocketed the 9-ball for the match win.

On the one loss side, Mendoza was bringing an end to a very unlikely run as tour newcomer Art Black had scored consecutive wins over Mitch Ellerman, Gus Briseno, Ron Merseal and 2004 All Around Champion Tony Confalone. Black was running out the rack to tie the match at 8-8 with Mendoza with he came up just short of where he needed to be and hooked himself allowing Mendoza to run out an open table.

Mendoza went on to eliminate both Chris Adams and Doug Hale to earn his place in the finals against Ast. The story of the final race to thirteen match was the break, as neither player could seem to find a way to consistently make balls on the break. Early in the match, Mendoza was able to string together back to back table runs for a 4-1 lead, but then his breaking woes began and Ast quickly fought back to a score of 5-4. The match stayed close for the next six games with Mendoza holding on to a precarious one game lead at 8-7. The sixteenth game was the turning point though, as Ast scratched on the break and was forced to watch Mendoza run out to a 9-7 lead. Mendoza ran two of the next three racks to get to the hill at 12-7. Ast won the next game to get the score back to 12-8, but scratched on the break in the next game and Mendoza gladly ran the final rack for the victory.

Mendoza collected $2630 in prize money (including all side pots), while Ast settled for $935. Doug Hale and Chris Adams filled out the top four spots. The win put Mendoza in first place on the points list and ahead of the pack in the attempt to win the largest share of the Poker Pool Bonus Fund.

Next month's tour stop will be on February 11th - 12th and Northern Lounge in Phoenix at 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 Poker Pool, Tiger Products, OnQ Cases, Whisler Custom Cues, Bebob Publishing, Joe Tucker, Billiards Digest, Pool and Billiard Magazine, Tom Simpson and Tim "The Monk" Miller.

Complete Payouts: (including sidepots)
1st Jimmy Mendoza $2630
2nd Bobby Ast $935
3rd Doug Hale $560
4th Chris Adams $330
5th/6th Art Black, Glenn Bond $215
7th/8th Steve Murray, Tony Confalone $100
9th/12th Eric Nelson, Babe Thompson, Mitch Ellerman, Ron Merseal $75
13th/16th James Shepherd, Pete Gresh Jr, Jim Rabatin, Gus Briseno $50