Ho Lem double dips five-time champion, Gollan, at 8th Annual Spokane Open
Skip Maloney
Sep. 4, 2018
(l to r): Wayne Fenton, Will Wilson, Stephen Ho Lem, Brady Gollan & Brian Kvasnicka
(l to r): Wayne Fenton, Will Wilson, Stephen Ho Lem, Brady Gollan & Brian Kvasnicka
Brady Gollan has won the annual Spokane Open five of the eight times the tournament has been held. With the exception of 2015, when John Schmidt defeated him, he’s won three of the last four. On Labor Day weekend, he came within a single game of claiming his sixth Spokane Open title. Derailing that sixth title was Stephen Ho Lem, who was defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal, won five on the loss side for a shot at Gollan in the hot seat, and double dipped him (double hill in the deciding match) to claim it. The $3,100-added 8th Annual Spokane Open drew 97 entrants to The Black Diamond in Spokane Valley, WA.
 
Ho Lem was moved to the loss side in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals by Paul Potier, who advanced to meet Steve Smith in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Gollan, in the meantime, squared off against John Dougherty in the other one. Gollan defeated Dougherty 9-6 and in the hot seat match, faced Potier, who’d sent Smith to the loss side 9-7. Gollan claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Potier and waited for Ho Lem to get back to the finals.
 
On the loss side, Ho Lem opened his campaign against Josh Smith, defeating him 9-3 and then eliminated Cole Gibbons 9-5 to draw Dougherty. Smith picked up Eric Vargas, who’d eliminated Jack Haggie 9-2 and Wade Thompson 9-7.
 
Ho Lem and Vargas advanced to the quarterfinals; Ho Lem, 9-4 over Dougherty and Vargas, 9-7 over Thompson. Ho Lem, picking up speed, shut Vargas out in those quarterfinals, and then spoiled Potier’s bid for a re-match against Gollan with a 9-6 victory in the semifinals.
 
With the intangible advantage of momentum, Ho Lem took the opening set of the true double elimination final 9-3 over Gollan. Gollan fought back to force a 17th deciding game in the second set, but the title went to Ho Lem 9-8.
 
In addition to the list of 16 competitors who cashed in the event, Phyllis Fernandez and Adrianne Beach took home $100 each as the top female finishers.  
Tour directors Will Wilson and Brian Kvasnicka thanked The Black Diamond’s owner, Wayne Fenton and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Admen Banner & Sign and Pepsi.