Murgia stops Thomas from two straight on Tri-State tour

Gary Murgia, a perennial inhabitant among the Tri-State Tour's final 10 players in many of the tour's events this year, emerged from the pack on Saturday, October 10 to win his first Tri-State tour stop since February 7, 2008. He had to defeat the winner of the previous week's stop, Steve Thomas, twice to do it. The $500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 35 players to Comet Billiards in Parsippany, NJ.

Murgia got by Jason Hunt in a hill-hill contest from among the winners' side final four, as Thomas was busy sending Ted Lapadula west 6-3. Murgia gained the hot seat, guaranteeing him his best finish on the tour since March, with his first of two wins over Thomas 7-4.

A familiar face and a relative newcomer were waiting on the one-loss side for Hunt and Lapadula. Ben Sadowski, who fell in the finals to Thomas the week before and won a Tri-State stop back in April, picked up Hunt, after two hill-hill victories over Bob Perkins and Raj Vannala. Newcomer Emerson Verano, in the meantime, was on a one-loss side comeback trail that'd carry him all the way to the semifinals. He got by Rick Shellhouse 9-6 and Dave Fitzpatrick 9-8 to pick up Lapadula.

Sadowski and Verano advanced to lock horns in the quarterfinal match after Sadowski had downed Hunt and Verano took care of Lapadula, both 7-5. Verano got his chance against Thomas with a hill-hill win over Sadowski, but with a 7-5 win, Thomas found himself in the Tri-State finals for the second week in a row, and facing Murgia for the second time that day.

Murgia was still going strong as Saturday night turned into early Sunday morning. He held on to defeat Thomas 7-4 and take home the first place prize.