Newcomers Crash U.S. Amateur Championship Party

LAKE SAINT LOUIS, MO (November 13, 2006) — Two rookies to the U.S. Amateur Championship came to Mr. Cues II in Atlanta, Nov. 3-5, and shocked a field of the nation's top amateur players to advance to a pro event in 2007.

The finals in the Women's Division pitted Michell Monk of Palm Bay, Fla., against Melinda Huang of Los Angeles. The two were both undefeated when they went head-to-head on the final day of the tournament. It was Huang who would advance to the finals with a 5-2 win. But with only one-loss, Monk still had a good shot at earning redemption. After she defeated Betty Sessions of Atlanta, Ga in the semifinals, the stage was set for the rematch.

From the opening game of the 9-Ball set, Monk showed she would not be denied the second time around. She opened up a 4-0 lead before Huang was able to capitalize on a mistake to slow her momentum. Huang managed to win two of the next three games to get back in the match, but with the way Monk was playing, it was simply too late. Monk extended her lead to 7-4 with two more wins in the 9-Ball set.

It seemed almost a formality when they switched to the 8-Ball set, as Monk quickly won the first two games and the match 9-4. For Monk, the win came with the sweet taste of revenge.

“I consider myself a pressure player and when someone beats up on me that badly, I couldn't let it happen again. Once the match started, I embraced the added pressure, the muscles started to click and everything just seemed to be working,” said Monk moments after the victory.

She also couldn't help but feel a little sympathetic to her opponent. “I did get the opportunity to know her a little bit beforehand, so it's just too bad we couldn't both walk away winners,” Monk said.

Monk advances to a WPBA Classic Tour event of her choice next year.

In the Men's Division, Bill McCollim of Freedom, Pa., became one of only a handful of players to forever be labeled a U.S. Amateur Champion. Appearing for his first time in the prestigious event, McCollim got off on the right foot by getting a win in his first match.

Unfortunately, he'd quickly learn just how much more difficult winning the tournament can be in the one-loss bracket. McCollim lost his second match to Gary Hill of Waco, Texas. The second round loss meant he'd have to win 10 more matches just to reach the finals through the one-loss bracket.

McCollim proved up to the challenge, knocking off opponent after opponent, including former champion Robert Hall ('01), and gaining a crash course lesson on U.S. Amateur Championship experience. Waiting for him in the finals was Richard Andrews of Harvest, Ala., who had cruised through the winners bracket undefeated, reeling off seven victories to secure his spot in the final match.

Andrews took an early lead in the 8-Ball set, winning the first two games. McCollim then took the next three games and a slim 3-2 lead. Andrews tied it up by winning the sixth game and a seesaw battle ensued, with no player winning more than two consecutive games through the ninth game of the 9-Ball set.

With the match dead even at 8-8, and the crowd of onlookers anticipating a hill-hill showdown, McCollim went on a tear. First, he broke the tie in the 10th game; then he secured two more victories to win the match and the Championship 11 to 8.

“After my first loss, I thought I had no chance because it was such a long way through the loser's bracket. By Saturday night, the pressure was starting to take a toll. But I started my first match off well today, and I was able to maintain that consistency throughout the rest of the tournament,” said McCollim, as he struggled to find the words to describe his elation after the match.

McCollim won paid entry and travel expenses to the 2007 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship.

The 2006 U.S. Amateur Championship, produced and conducted by the American Poolplayers Association (APA), was held at Mr. Cues II in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 3-5. Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-Sept., with more than 1,500 players attempting to qualify.

Monk and McCollim competed with the nation's most highly skilled amateur players who were all vying for the U.S. Amateur title. The Men's Division consisted of 128-players, while the Women's Division featured 27 players. As Champions, Monk and McCollim will return next year to defend their coveted titles.

Both Huang and Andrews finished as the Runners-up. Finishing in 3rd Place in the Men's Division was Gary Gentry of Evansville, Ind. In 4th Place was former champion Robert Hall of Huntsville, Ala. Tim Orange of Birmingham, Ala., finished in a two-way tie for 5th Place with Jon James Jr. of Pelham, N.J. Betty Sessions of Atlanta rounded out the top finishers in the Women's Division with a 3rd Place finish.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation's top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.

The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world's largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League throughout the United States, and as the Canadian Pool League in Canada. Nearly 260,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9 Ball league play. The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces three major tournaments each year—the APA National Team Championships, the APA National Singles Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out nearly $1.5 Million in cash and prizes annually!

The APA and its championships are sponsored by Cuetec Cues, Aramith Billiard Balls, Valley Teflon Ultra Cloth by Championship, and Valley Tables.

For complete coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship visit